Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Tue 14 Oct 2008 Easdale
If you take the path up the hill in the centre of Easdale Island, about halfway up you pass a steep-sided pool filled with green stars - the floating rosettes of Pedunculate Water-starwort.
This leaf-mine on Scurvy-grass is very intruiging. It seems to be that of a weevil, either Ceutorhynchus contractus, which is common but has not been recorded on Scurvy-grass in Britain before, or its very rare relative Ceutorhynchus insularis, which is only known from Scurvy-grass, but is also only known from a couple of islands off Iceland and a couple more in the St Kilda group. It isn't going to be easy to find out which of these species we have, as the adult weevils are very tiny.
Sat 18 Oct 2008 Ganavan
Rainbow at Ganavan, from the car park. This visit produced a new species for Britain. These bud galls on Eared Willow belong to Rabdophaga rosariella, a gall-midge that had not been recorded from anywhere in Britian since 1932, and which had been discredited as a separate species but is now revived thanks to this find. An article about this by Dr Keith Harris will appear in the next issue of Cecidology.
Mon 27 Oct 2008 Dunbeg
A Sycamore trunk turned bright orange by the alga Trentepohlia abietina, and the lurid purple cup fungus Ascocoryne cylichnium on a rotting stump.
Thu 30 Oct 2008 Glen Nant
The bright red fruits of Cladonia polydactyla growing on the ground among heather. The fruits start out brown, as in the lower right, and then turn red beginning with their tips. The insect is a Deer Ked that landed on my coat. It's a newly-developed adult that will lose its wings when it finds a deer, or perhaps it thought it had found one.
Fri 31 Oct 2008 Inverawe
You don't see many ladybirds at this time of year but this Orange Ladybird was still visible, if not exactly active, on a fencepost. The tough woody bracket fungus on Beech is Ganoderma australe. Some brackets had a covering of brown spores from the one above.
Sun 2 Nov 2008 Ganavan
The Cemetery Loch had several Little Grebes, making their accelerating trill sound, 2 Mute Swans, several Tufted Duck and this Moorhen. And remarkably no Mallards.
The club fungus Clavulinopsis fusiformis, or Golden Spindles, was on a NW facing slope in a birch wood.
I've taken to looking for ants after discovering how few records there are for this part of the country. Amazingly the first 7 colonies I found produced 5 different species. These were Formica aquilonia, F lemani, Myrmica ruginodis, Lasius niger and L flavus, which is shown above. All these finds involved turning over stones, apart from the F aquilonia (Scottish Wood Ant) which had a few brave souls patrolling the nest surface and even one or two exploring a nearby rockface. In the summer it will be a lot easier as ants of all kinds will be out foraging.
Mon 3 Nov 2008 Ganavan
The lichen Pannaria conoplea on the moss Hypnum andoi on Hazel (above right).
Tue 4 Nov 2008 Fearnoch
I'm sure we've had both these species several times before but I find the fungus Stereum hirsutum very photogenic as it never looks the same twice. Here it's lying flat on its back instead of sticking out like a bracket. Some bits had the top slightly peeled forward to show the hairy zoned upperside which is usually the most noticeable part. The Grey Wagtail was preening in a small woodland burn, and flew high into a tree after I took the picture. This was quite a surprise, as I don't think I've ever seen one go higher than a fencepost before.
Thu 6 Nov 2008 Inveraray
The liverwort Marchantia polymorpha was carpeting an extensive area of muddy ground among rushes. The fungus Calocera viscosa was on a mossy mound in a forestry plantation. This species looks as if it belongs among the club fungi (like the Golden Spindles earlier) but is not closely related to them and is actually a jelly fungus, with a slippery feel.
Wed 12 Nov 2008 Taynuilt
Common Puffballs that have opened up to release their spores, beneath trees by a shady path.
Sat 15 Nov 2008 Seil Island
On a Seil Natural
History Group walk to Ardencaple, we saw this young Whooper Swan, a
winter visitor, not often solitary. Other good sightings were Greenshank
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer