Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 20 May 2008

Losgann Lornach

This morning we had a Seil Natural History Group midweek walk to the Toad of Lorn, which is the hill in the picture above.  If you can't see the resemblance to a toad there's no hope for you...

It was a very calm day with the sun more in than out.  There were a lot of Small Heath butterflies about, also a yellow moth with black spots which wouldn't settle long enough for a photo.  We heard a Blackcap singing in the woods on Seil from across the sound.

Eilean nam Beathach

Here's a view of the islands to the west after gaining a little height on the mainland side of the Clachan Sound.

Sun 25 May 2008 Inveroran

Pinus sylvestris ssp scotica   Trientalis europaea

There are remnants of native Scots Pine forest here.  The trees have a reddish-brown tint to their upper bark which distinguishes them from other types of pine.  Chickweed Wintergreen is a common flower in the area, not just under the pines but in all kinds of ground.  I hadn't seen it in any other part of Argyll, and didn't realise it came as far west as this. 

Vaccinium vitis-idaea   Listera cordata

Cowberry is a common undershrub below the pines, but Bilberry, whose paler leaves are in the lower right of the picture, is the one that blankets the ground, with patches of Heather.  The Lesser Twayblade, above right, is a small orchid that enjoys this habitat.  Cow-wheat is in its element here, and there's a fair bit of Bracken.  There were a lot of young birches and rowans springing up, but I didn't see any sign of pine regeneration.

Loch Tulla

Loch Tulla with birches and pines.  A fierce east wind was driving waves onto the stony shore.

Ranunculus flammula ssp flammula var flammula   Lasiocampa quercus callunae caterpillar

Lesser Spearwort is plentiful at the edge of the loch, often in a procumbent form, the stems rooting as they creep along to seek anchorage among the stones, which must get rolled about in weather like this.

This Northern Eggar caterpillar is on Bilberry, one of its foodplants.  It was the first I've seen in Argyll; they were commoner in Skye.  It's fattening up well, and will become a pupa at some point in the summer, to emerge as a moth in about a year's time.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer