Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Fri 16 Oct 2009 Cuil Bay, W of Duror
A flock of 17 Herons was a surprising sight. They took off and landed as a unit several times near the small artificial loch at Cuil. They never went to the loch edge as you'd expect a Heron to do, just moved from place to place on the slopes.
A new waxcap for me, Hygrocybe russocoriacea, the Cedarwood Waxcap. It's supposed to smell like Russian Leather. It smelled of resin. Golden, Meadow, Snowy, Scarlet and Crimson Waxcaps were also found (but not all at the same site).
Sat 17 Oct 2009 Glen Nant
A Seil Natural History Group walk through the Caledonian Forest reserve at Glen Nant. First frost of the year last night. Very few mushrooms about, but frost doesn't bother the bracket fungi. These are Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor, tbc). Glen Nant is famous for its lichens; this is Bunodophoron melanocarpum on oak.
Also on oak was the encrusting polypore Phellinus ferreus, while the Sheathed Woodtuft (Kuehneromyces mutabilis) made a fine display on a fallen birch.
Mon 9 Nov 2009 Inverawe
The Horizontal Dog Lichen, Peltigera horizontalis, at the base of a Beech tree, and the Barnacle Lichen, Thelotrema lepadinum, common on the shady side of trees in the Inverawe beechwood.
The leaves are all dead and fallen from the mature Beech trees, but on this young one the leaves were still green and had been mined by three kinds of moth larva: Stigmella tityrella, Stigmella hemargyrella and Phyllonorycter maestingella.
I love Puffballs and Earthballs. This is the Common Earthball, Scleroderma citrinum. A young one with conjoined fruitbodies.
A more mature one, shining in the sun, beginning to crack open to release its spores. Earthballs don't make a neat exit hole like Puffballs, they just disintegrate at the top, a process more advanced in the final picture where you can see the dark brown spore mass. There were at least 10 earthballs present, all spaced a few feet apart, and of widely differing ages. Good excuse to show the beechwood floor with its russet litter and scattered patches of green. Wonderful place.
The cinder fungus Kretzschmaria deusta on a dead bit of Beech. Look closely and you can see the ostioles dotted over the humps and
bumps. This plant of Cocksfoot grass was proliferous; every segment of the
inflorescence had green shoots in the florets, while other Cocksfoot
plants nearby had none. Apparently this is not genetic but is something
the grass does if it finds it's flowering too late in the year to set seed.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer