Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Fri 3 Oct 2008 Inverawe

Quercus robur (acorns)   Sciurus vulgaris (eating acorn)

It seems to be a good autumn for acorns, and they're in particular demand by woodland creatures as hazelnuts are very scarce this year.  I sat for over an hour beneath an oak tree that was besieged by screeching Jays and clattering Red Squirrels.  Makes a change for a human to be the quiet one.  They both bury acorns in the ground for later, and eat a lot of them as they go about their work.  This is my best Red Squirrel photo yet but there's still some way to go.

Odontopera bidentata caterpillar   Epirrita christyi

From a distance I thought a spruce twig had stuck on the end of an oak twig.  The way it was balanced seemed odd, and I began to wonder if it was a caterpillar, but couldn't tell for sure until I moved nearer.  It was the caterpillar of the Scalloped Hazel moth. which feeds on a variety of trees, and it would be almost impossible to detect on spruce, which was growing nearby.

This Pale November Moth was resting on a leaf of the same oak.  Thanks to Tom Prescott and Roy Leverton for help with the ID.

Tischeria ekebladella mine on Quercus robur   Microsphaera alphitoides

The same tree had a number of leaf mines, of which the only one I could identify was that of the moth Tischeria ekebladella.  The oak was also infected by the powdery mildew Microsphaera alphitoides.  The white is the fungal hyphae and the colourful blobs are the fruitbodies.

Sun 5 Oct 2008 Dunbeg

Phytomyza angelicastri mine on Angelica sylvestris   Cardamine pratensis

The leaf-mine of the Agromyzid fly Phytomyza angelicastri on an Angelica leaflet, and a leaflet of Cuckoo Flower bearing gemmae which will fall off to become new plants.

Wed 8 Oct 2008 Dunbeg

Mycena galericulata   Mycena galericulata

These neat little black mushrooms were on the trunk of a dying Hazel.  Higher up were older ones of the same species which were much less distinctive, having turned normal mushroom brown.  I make them Mycena galericulata.  Thanks to Malcolm Storey and Stuart Dunlop for this suggestion.

Mycena epipterygia   Rhopalomyia ptarmicae gall on Achillea ptarmica

A more typical Mycena is this delicate M epipterygia in Sphagnum.  Thanks to Stuart Dunlop for suggesting the ID.  The red gall on Sneezewort is that of the gall-midge Rhopalomyia ptarmicae.

Sun 12 Oct 2008 Ganavan

Psathyrella piluliformis   Unknown mushroom

This fragile fungus on rotting wood (probably oak) is Psathyrella piluliformis.  Thanks to Malcolm Storey for the suggestion.  The ones in the RH pic at chest height on a dying oak are a mystery.  Spores mid-brown (7.5-10 x 4.5-5.5 mu), too dark for Honey Fungus.  I'd be interested to hear of any ideas.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer