Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 13 Jul 2010 Appin

Neottia nidus-avis   Paralleloma vittatum mine on Cephalanthera longifolia

Birdsnest Orchids are hard to pick out among the fallen beech leaves, but this one was picked out for us by the sun.

The Narrow-leaved Helleborine was past flowering but the leaves here have the mines of what I take to be Paralleloma vittatum.  It has been recorded in Argyll from this orchid species before, but is not at all common in Britain.

Elymus caninus   Elymus caninus

I'd been in these limestone woods several times before but this was the first time I'd noticed the grass Bearded Couch here.

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum, distorted growth

I thought at first this odd-looking fern might be a rare hybrid of Black Spleenwort with one of the other Asplenium species such as Wall-Rue, but as it was just as large and glossy as normal Black Spleenwort plants nearby I concluded it was merely a distorted form of that species.

Mesapamea secalis agg   Eulithis pyraliata

A Common Rustic (aggregate) moth from the Beechwood floor, and a Barred Straw hanging upside down in the open grassland nearby.

Scutellaria minor   Tripleurospermum inodorum

Lesser Skullcap is an elusive plant but it's plentiful in one place by the shore here.  Scentless Mayweed is even rarer in Argyll, according to the records, but here it is on a farm track.  I suspect it's commoner than records suggest.

Bidens cernua   Rorippa islandica

A couple of rarities from cattle-tramped mud.  The Nodding Bur Marigold, which was absent on my last visit but confirms an old record.  It will flower later in the year if water-levels allow.  Northern Yellowcress was flowering profusely and had formed some chunky fruits.

Lacerta vivipara, juvenile

This baby lizard clambered onto my welly boot.

Sat 17 Jul 2010 Ledaig beach

Scotopteryx chenopodiata

A new moth for me, the Shaded Broad-bar

Thu 22 Jul 2010 Glen Lonan

Catoptria margaritella   Saturnia pavonia, half-grown larva

The Pearl-band Grass Veneer on an Autumn Hawkbit flower - this was down in the glen, before I headed for the hills.  Up on the heather at 390 m, one of the many patterns adopted by the Emperor Moth caterpillar at different stages of its growth.  This one is slightly under halfway to its final larval size.  Below is the view it will see when it gets its wings.

Lochan nam Breac Reamhra

When you're an Emperor Moth, all this is yours.

Entephria caesiata   Scoparia ambigualis

These two moths were both found on upland rocks.  The first is the Grey Mountain Carpet.  A large number of these flew off from the rock a I approached, of which only this one returned to rest there again.  I don't recall ever before seeing a large number of macro-moths of one species at rest together as a group.  They were at 393 m altitude.  The second was at 351 m and turned out to be the pyralid moth Scoparia ambigualis.  Thanks to Tony Davis for confirming the id.

Sericomyia silentis & S lappona

Another odd phenomenon was a large group of hoverflies of the species Sericomyia silentis (top in pic) and S lappona (bottom) buzzing around a group of rocks near the top of a hill at 423 m.  They would constantly land at various spots on the rock and then take off again, and would also interact with each other in the air.  The place was in full sun but exposed and windy.  I have no idea why they choose such a place to congregate.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer