Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Sun 10 Jan 2010 Inverawe

A short local walk through a wood where I've been many times before.  Found three things I hadn't noticed on previous visits.

Nemania sp possibly   Nemania sp possibly

I was convinced this was burnt bark and felt an idiot going up to it to check that it wasn't a cinder fungus - but it was!  The second picture is artificially lightened to show the ostioles.  I think it's a Nemania species as it doesn't give the KOH reaction that Hypoxylon species do.  Hope to get it to species level shortly.

Nectria coccinea   Nectria coccinea

I make these red bobbles on dead Sycamore Nectria coccinea.  They key out to that in Nordic Mac and Ellis and Ellis, but the FRDBI lists dozens of Nectria species that aren't in those books, and in theory it could be any one of those.

Parmelia ernstiae   Parmelia ernstiae

A nice surprise to catch up with Parmelia ernstiae at last.  A bit late, as the species has been abolished, the experts having decided that it's just a growth form of P saxatilis.  The difference is that normal P saxatilis has glossy lobes whereas P ernstiae has them covered with a white pruina.  Though I could see this in the field, it doesn't show at all in my in situ pics (left) so I've included a microscope pic (right) where the white surface coating is clearly visible.  In the lower part of this pic are the lichen's isidia in close-up.

Sat 16 Jan 2010 Luing

A Seil Natural History Group walk led by Anya Lamont.  We started at Cullipool and followed the coast down to Blackmill Bay, returning by an inland route.

Anaptychia runcinata   Xanthoria parietina

Recent heavy rain had brought out the colours of the coastal lichens.  The green Anaptychia runcinata, which looks flat and brown when dry, was plentiful on the rocks, as was the yellow, orange and green Xanthoria parietina.

Diploicia canescens   Lecanora gangaleoides

This is Diploicia canescens.  Thanks to Charles David for the ID.  It had me foxed because all the web pics show it in its dry form with greyish-white outer lobes; they must turn greenish only when wet.  It's quite scarce in this part of the country.  The warty white one with black apothecia is Lecanora gangaleoides.

Students of Seaweed

With the "Golden Chance" rotting peacefully in the background, Anya described to us the many factors that influence how seaweeds are zoned on the shore.  She showed some of the forms that occur on sheltered beaches where fresh water enters the sea.

Ascophyllum nodosum var mackaii and var nodosum   Polysiphonia lanosa

In such conditions the Egg Wrack can occur in an unattached form that looks quite different to its normal appearance.  The LH pic shows the long strap-like fronds of the normal form, attached to rock at its base, lying on a mat of the free-floating unattached form, which is made up of narrow richly-branched fronds in compact cushions.

The RH pic shows that the red alga Polysiphonia lanosa grows on the free-floating form just as it does on the normal form.

Fucus sp, free-floating form   Ramalina subfarinacea

This is another kind of free-floating seaweed found in the same area.  My guess is that it's Fucus ceranoides, but we'll have to wait for the fertile receptacles in Spring to be sure.

This sward of the coastal rock lichen Ramalina subfarinacea had been grazed to stubble by molluscs at some point but was now recovering.

Cobblers of Lorn

The Cobblers of Lorn.  Anya explained that they are inclined sheets of Tertiary acid igneous rock, pre-dating the Tertiary dykes on the island.  They are porphyritic, i.e. they contain large crystals embedded in a matrix of much finer material.

Perforated rock, Luing

Rock full of holes, possibly bored by marine molluscs in some past geological age.

Cullipool from the south

The village of Cullipool comes into view as we make our way back along the hill track.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer