Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Sat 13 Sep 2008 Ballachuan SWT Reserve, Seil
Another Seil Natural History Group visit to this Atlantic hazelwood, accompanied by lichenologists Andy Acton and Anna Griffith, who showed us some of the species that make this such a special habitat.
One reason these humid western hazelwoods are so good for lichens is the high rainfall. This was in evidence during our visit, so regrettably photos are very few and rather poor.
Often in the reserve you will come upon a group of hazel twigs apparently glued together in mid-air. This is caused by the Glue Fungus, Hymenochaete corrugata, which forms a sticky surface on a living Hazel twig to catch other twigs as they fall. The fungus thus gets first chance to feed on the twigs before they can reach the ground where numerous other fungi lie in wait for them. The Glue Fungus, which is quite common, is itself devoured here by the rare Hazel Gloves fungus, shown in a blurry photo on the right. Hazel Gloves is confined to ancient uncoppiced Atlantic hazelwoods and is a sign of a rich lichen flora.
The wood is rich in the Lobarion lichen community, of which the Green Lungwort, Lobaria virens, is a prominent member. Here we see it parasitised by the pink fruitbodies of the fungus Nectriopsis lecanodes. The lichen has turned brown where affected by the fungus.
Crustose lichens are also abundant, completely covering the younger Hazel stems. The one on the right is on Blackthorn, taken on the way out of the wood when the rain eased off a bit. It is Caloplaca ferruginea
Several scarce species were found including Parmelia testacea and Thelotrema petractoides. Thanks to Andy and Anna for braving the weather to show us the wonders of the wood.
Back home this moth was on my window. I persuaded it to move to the curtain for its photo, and identified it as the Red-green Carpet. The next morning I found this plume moth indoors. It's Emmelina monodactyla, which occurs all the year round.
Sat 20 Sep 2008 Dunbeg
Russula robertii (formerly R sphagnophila) growing under birch among Sphagnum palustre. I don't know the name of the yellow slime mould on a fallen Oak branch with the lichen Hypotrachina laevigata and the moss Hypnum andoi.
The same rotten oak had large amounts of Sulphur Tuft, including
troops of button-like young ones. The fingers of the jelly fungus Calocera
cornea were spreading along a bare bark-free area.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer