Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Sat 26 Feb 2011 Ganavan

Gavia stellata

Was planning to have another bash at coastal lichens, but first I saw this Red-throated Diver...

Lutra lutra

..and then an Otter.

Xanthoria parietina   Caloplaca ceracea or crenularia

Finally got down to business.  Xanthoria parietina is an easy one with its crowded apothecia and bright yellow thallus with a green tinge in places.  The one on the right I think is Caloplaca ceracea but I can't rule out C crenularia.  It's my first go at a Caloplaca without a yellow thallus.  Most maritime Caloplaca's are yellow or yellowish-orange and form the "yellow zone" on the shore along with the Xanthoria's.

These two were on a conglomerate boulder on the beach together with Ochrolechia parella and Anaptychia runcinata.  I haven't been able to identify any of the other lichens I took photos of, so will leave them for now.

Sun 27 Feb 2011 Taynuilt

Brief local stroll, and a couple of fungi.

Nectria cinnabarina, conidial state

These salmon-pink dots on a fallen branch below a Hazel are the conidial state of Nectria cinnabarina, the Coral Spot fungus.  The sexual stage, which is a deeper red, was not present.

Unknown jelly fungus

The other fungus has not yet yielded a result.  Yellow bobbles on a mossy beech branch.  Details and microscope pictures here  Exidia? Dacrymyces? Tremella?  Doesn't fit any.  Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Mon 28 Feb 2011 Ganavan

View from Ganavan Hill

View from Ganavan Hill.  Could be a scene from the remotest reaches of Scotland's wild west coast, yet is close to the bustle of Oban and, alas, threatened with development itself.

Chionaspis salicis   Chionaspis salicis

Here and there among the moor-grass are low spreading patches of Eared Willow.  In one patch, all the bushes had white-dotted stems which I assumed was due to a fungus.  But on closer inspection, followed by web research, they turned out to be female Willow Scale Insects.

Chionaspis salicis   Chionaspis salicis eggs

The insect is immobile and feeds on sap from the willow while brooding her eggs under the white covering of her inflated body.  These microscope pics show the insects in close-up and the eggs beneath them.

Tephromela atra

The coastal lichen Tephromela atra


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer