Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 30 Mar 2010 Isle of Luing

A visit to the hazelwood on Luing where Hazel Gloves was recently discovered by Luing resident Rosy Barlow.  We were accompanied by lichenologist Brian Coppins, who identified all the lichens below and a great many others.

Icmadophila ericetorum   Conopodium majus & Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Crossing the heathery ground on the way to the woods, Brian spotted this specimen of Icmadophila ericetorum, with its pinkish apothecia.  He also pointed out Cladonia uncialis and C furcata, lurking among the C portentosa which is the only heath Cladonia most of us can recognise.  Didn't get usable pics of these.  The rest of the pics are in the hazelwood, which had young Pignut and Bluebell shoots poking through the ground as the RH pic shows.

Balea heydeni   Arthonia radiata

The Tree Snail sheltering beneath the lichen Degelia cyanoloma, and the blotchy script lichen Arthonia radiata on the same Hazel.

Opegrapha vulgata   Graphina anguina

More variations on the scripty theme - every script lichen has its own "handwriting"!  These are Opegrapha vulgata and Graphina anguina.

Arthonia cinnabarina   Enterographa crassa

More crustose lichens on young hazel stems: The pinkish-fruited Arthonia cinnabarina, and the elephant-grey Enterographa crassa, which was one I didn't know at all.  There were plenty of young shoots arising from the hazel stools in this wood, due to the canopy not being too dense and so letting in plenty of light.  The wood was well grazed by cattle but not over-grazed, which would have resulted in huge old hazels with little re-growth from the base.  There was a good mix of stems of all ages, which meant that all the lichens could find new surfaces to colonise of whatever type suited them, whenever their existing surfaces had grown unsuitable.

Thomasiella gelatinosa   Tremella lobariacearum

One that I'd recently been suspecting I was finding, but it was good to have Brian confirm it, was the silvery Thomasiella gelatinosa.  The RH pic shows the underside of the familiar Lobaria pulmonaria, parasitised by the fungus Tremella lobariacearum, a small dark relative of the familiar Yellow Brain Fungus, but not known to me until Brian showed us it today.

Hypocreopsis rhododendri   Hypocreopsis rhododendri

The reason the wood is of such interest is that it contains a healthy population of Hazel Gloves, which indicates that it's an ancient Atlantic Hazelwood, and should also have a suite of specialist Oceanic lichens.  It turned out a bit disappointing with regard to really rare lichens, though we found all the typical ones, and could only examine a proportion of the whole wood.  Still, the Hazel Gloves itself is reason enough to treat the wood as quality habitat.  The LH pic shows Hazel Gloves in decent condition, for March at any rate.  The RH pic shows one grazed almost back to the bark by slugs.

Hypotrachyna sinuosa

Finally another new lichen for me, Hypotrachyna sinuosa, found by Brian on Alder.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer