Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Sat 19 Sep 2009 Inverawe and Taynuilt
The Brown Birch Bolete, its cap in fine condition but its stem well chewed by slugs. And the Bitter Beech Bolete, Boletus calopus, whose specific name means "beautiful foot", and here's why...
Boletus calopus with its bright red foot. The flesh rapidly turns blue on cutting. In close view the stem is seen to be adorned with fishnet stockings.
Tricholoma sciodes, and a Coprinus (in the old sense) species among moss on dead beech wood.
The Blusher, in situ, and then showing how it got its name.
20 Sep 2009 Taynuilt
I showed Common Puffballs from this spot last year and am pleased to see they've come up again, more numerous than ever. A wide range of ages was present: the white ones are young and were readily shedding their spines which came off at the slightest touch. The brown ones are older and have holes in the top to release their spores.
This one's not a puffball but an earthball, the Leopard Earthball to be exact. What I was really after on this outing was some Heath Cudweed, a BSBI Threatened Plants Project target species for this year. I'd drawn a blank at the previous two sites I'd visited, and I hadn't seen it elsewhere in Argyll either, so I was quite surprised to find it actually present at this site, which is close to where I live but the last one I'd got round to visiting. There were several fruiting stems of it on a little-used forestry track.
Tue 22 Sep 2009 Easdale - Seil Natural History Group midweek recording walk
Easdale is an exciting island botanically as much of the ground is composed of slate waste which imitates a variety of bare-ground habitats from scree slopes to arable fields. Plants such as Kidney Vetch (left) thrive here, and Intermediate Polypody (right) is common on piles of slate and unmortared slate walls, despite its alkaline requirements. Slate seems to be generally regarded as an acid rock though info is hard to come by.
I was pleased to find Thyme Broomrape for the first time since leaving Skye, as it had been absent from other suitable spots that I'd visited on the Argyll coast.
This elaborate leaf-spot on Ivy, with its concentric rings of pycnidia, is caused by the fungus Phoma hedericola.
The weather was too dull and windy for insects, with the exception of this Eristalis pertinax hoverfly. The island abounds in Scurvy-grass and I was looking for more of last year's mystery weevil leaf-mine, but found instead the mine of the fruit-fly Scaptomyza flava. I've not seen either mine away from Easdale.
Another exciting find was a small population of the annual plant Hairy Tare, which I didn't get a photo of (perhaps it was raining) but there is one here from the east coast where it is much commoner. It is only recorded from one other location in Argyll.
Slate, sea and sky - to borrow SNHG member Noman Bissell's
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer