Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Fri 25 Sep 2009 Torsa
A visit to the Isle of Torsa, off Luing. Fox Moth caterpillars were in abundance everywhere we went on the island. At this time of year you'd expect to see 3 or 4 in a day's walk but we could often see 3 or 4 at any given moment. We also found one each of Drinker and Ruby Tiger caterpillars, and some Marsh Fritillary webs.
There were some good grassland fungi about, including these extremely flattened Golden Spindles which had me puzzled for a while.
There were a lot of waxcaps around, not all in prime condition. The one on the left above is the Meadow Waxcap. We also found the Oily Waxcap and several that were probably the Scarlet Waxcap. The large mushroom in the RH pic is Hebeloma mesophaeum, also known as Veiled Fairy Cake or Veiled Poison Pie. It was in grassland by the sea. Thanks to Michael Jordan for the ID.
Other fungal finds included the slimy Yellowleg Bonnet and the frilly Saffron Parasol.
An unexpected find was the larva of the rather scarce sawfly Abia candens, which feeds on Devilsbit Scabious.
Sat 26 Sep 2009 Inverawe
Hunting for fungi in the local beech-woods, found many but could identify very few. I managed these two, the Dark Honey Fungus (Armillaria ostoyae) and the Poached Egg Fungus (Oudemansiella mucida). The Armillaria was all over a standing dead tree, and everywhere below about 5 feet high it had been completely browsed off, back to the bark, possibly by a roedeer.
Sun 4 Oct 2009 Kilninver
On 4 & 8 Oct was looking for waxcaps, but am limiting the number of waxcap pics as many of the species are shown on the 14 Oct page which I did before this page.
The rather attractive brown one with veil remains stuck to the cap edge is the Spring Brittlestem, Psathyrella spadiceogrisea, which occurs in both spring and autumn. Thanks to Michael Jordan for the ID. On the right, the largest waxcap species, Crimson Waxcap. Below are some of its fruitbodies in their colourful glory. The red and yellow on the stem give a faintly streaky effect due to the fibrous stem surface. This distinguishes it from Scarlet Waxcap and Splendid Waxcap, where the stem colours blur into each other very smoothly.
Heath Waxcaps in the sun. I tend to take pics in shade to avoid bleaching and contrasty backgrounds, but the sun does bring out waxcap colours nicely.
Thu 8 Oct 2009 Glen Lonan
A young Meadow Waxcap, looking very stocky as is typical of this species, and a pair of Scarlet Waxcaps, showing their minutely bumpy cap surface.
Two club fungi. The first is White Spindles, Clavaria fragilis, which naturally I passed over in the key as the specimen is yellow, not white. Thanks to Michael Jordan for pointing out that it can go yellowish with age. The second is the Meadow Coral, Clavulinopsis corniculata, very short when among low mosses and grazed turf.
A couple of Earth-tongue species. The first, Geoglossum atropurpureum, formed a group of about 200 within a 2 metre square. The second, Trichoglossum hirsutum, was on its own.
Sun 11 Oct 2009 Loch Seil area
Spotted these beside the road; I think they're the largest
puffballs I've ever seen (as I've yet to see the famous Giant Puffball).
They are the Pestle-shaped Puffball, Handkea excipuliformis, a young one and
some old ones breaking up to release the spores.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer