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