Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Wed 9 Jul 2008 Isle of Luing
Just a couple of photos from this outing, but they're rather special ones. The flower is Greater Spearwort, Britain's largest "buttercup", in its only known Argyll location, and the mushroom is the Marsh Honey Fungus, a new record for Argyll and only the second for Scotland. Thanks to Rosy Barlow (who was with me) for spotting the fungus, Malcolm Storey for suggesting its identity, and Brian Spooner for confirming it. The round leaves in the picture are Marsh Pennywort.
Sat 12 Jul 2008 Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve
A BSBI expedition to look at the plants growing in the reserve. Pride of place goes to the Scottish Dock, left, which grows nowhere else in Britain. This Four-banded Longhorn Beetle is on the much commoner Curled Dock.
Another speciality of the reserve is Tufted Loosestrife, left, which very rarely flowers. Its red stems distinguish it from Yellow Loosestrife, on the right, which grows there with it.
Yet another Lysimachia species on the reserve was Creeping Jenny. It was the first time I'd seen any of these 3 in Scotland and quite amazing to find them all together. The second pic shows the aquatic form of Amphibious Bistort actually in the water, previously shown on mud. The terrestrial form is more common in the west of Scotland. All the leaves in the pic are the Bistort apart from the upright one which belongs to Broad-leaved Water Plantain.
Two other waterside plants that I hadn't seen for many a long year were Trifid Bur-marigold, in bud here, and Creeping Yellowcress.
Two umbellifers. Cowbane is a major speciality of the reserve, but we only saw this one inaccessible plant of it which had gone to seed, so you can hardly make it out at all in the picture. The reddish leaves belong to it and so do the green ones of similar shape, and if you follow the stem up you can see the dull fruiting umbels, with Forgetmenots in the background. Whorled Caraway, on the right, was everywhere. Rather like Chickweed Wintergreen or Lesser Butterfly Orchid, it's a plant which, if it occurs at all in an area, will grow in every habitat there, making you wonder why its distribution is so localised.
The remarkable leaves of Whorled Caraway, with the leaflets in whorls about the leaf midrib, and a close-up of the flowers
Another characterstic plant of the reserve's wet meadows is the Hairy Sedge, easily recognised by its densely hairy fruits and long-awned glumes.
We saw an Osprey flying over, and the first Red Admiral of the
year (for me) laying eggs on nettles. Ringlet butterflies were very
plentiful and a half-grown Emperor Moth caterpillar was found on Meadowsweet.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer