Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 25 August 2009 Glencruitten House Woods, near Oban

This month's Seil Natural History Group midweek recording walk took us to Glencruitten House Woods, an area of mostly coniferous plantation which there are plans to manage in a more nature-friendly way.

Red Russula sp   Purple Russula sp

Thanks to the wet weather the mushroom season has started early, and we spent much our time foraging among the fungi.  These two are Russula species.  The red one may well be Russula emetica.  The purple one is past its best and probably not possible to identify.

Tricholoma fulvum   Leccinum scabrum

This handsome brown mushroom the colour of polished furniture is Tricholoma fulvum, growing under Birch and known as the Birch Knight.  Thanks to Geoffrey Kibby for the ID.  The young one on the right is also associated with Birch; it's the Brown Birch Bolete, Leccinum scabrum.  The mosses at its base are Polytrichum formosum (probably) and Thuidium tamariscinum.  This Bolete was one of the commonest mushrooms in the woods; we found it in several places.

Tricholomopsis rutilans   Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca

Tricholomopsis rutilans, or Plums and Custard, growing on an old stump, and the False Chanterelle, Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, on another.

Clavulina rugosa   Clavulina coralloides

The Wrinkled Club Fungus, Clavulina rugosa, and its close relative the Crested Coral Fungus, Clavulina coralloides, both formed extensive patches on the gloomy Spruce floor.

Micromphale perforans   Lactarius deterrimus

The dark forest depths also had Micromphale perforans, which is fruiting abundantly in Spruce forests across Argyll at present.  It forms large troops but the individual mushrooms are small, the caps mostly no more than 1 cm across.  Each stem is densely covered with short dark hairs and attached to a dead spruce needle.  On an altogether different scale are these chunky Lactarius deterrimus with their remarkable orange and green colouration, not easy to capture at such low light levels.

Lycogala terrestre?   Tubifera ferruginosa

We found two conspicuous slime moulds, both showing signs of having been battered by heavy rain.  I think the first may be young Lycogala terrestre (Wolf's Milk).  Thanks to Malcolm Storey for nudging me in the right direction.  The second is unmistakable, the orange-pink Tubifera ferruginosa, made up of tiny tubes packed together.

Bibio pomonae   Phragmatobia fuliginosa caterpillar

While we admired Oban Bay from one of the forest's viewpoints, I took this pic of a Heather Fly (Bibio pomonae) feeding on Heather pollen.  It plays a major part in pollinating the heather plants, so both benefit from the relationship.  It's similar to the St Mark's Fly (Bibio marci) which is so common in the Spring, but the Heather Fly has the top part of its leg red, as can be seen in the photo.

This Ruby Tiger caterpillar was walking across the path, perhaps looking for something to fatten itself up on before hibernation.  They eat a wide range of common plants.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer