Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Tue 4 Oct 2011 Devon
Spent a few days in Devon, not primarily for natural history, but took a few photos.
This large zonate bracket looks like a Trametes species. If so, it's probably Trametes gibbosa, but
Looking down on a Polypody frond with a brown coating from the spores
of the Ganoderma bracket fungi above it.
This strange-looking thing, planted or naturalised in a pond, was finally tracked down as Water Hawthorn, aka Cape Pondweed. It's from South Africa and is the only plant in its family listed in Stace as occuring in the wild, even as an escape, in Britain.
In the morning we were in woodland alongside the River Dart in the Newbridge area, where the above pics were taken. The vegetation was similar to that of acid woodland in Argyll. I only saw two kinds of wild plant that don't occur here: Black Bryony and a rose with elongated hips that was probably Rosa micrantha.
In the afternoon, walking the cycle path from Dartington to Totnes, there was a much greater number of plants not found wild in Argyll, including Traveller's Joy, Wild Basil, Field Maple, Dogwood, Teasel, Common Mallow, Betony and Cuckoo Pint.
As you get nearer to the sea in Devon, there is a dramatic increase in the
number of plants you
find that are not found further north.
A Little Egret beside the river at Totnes
This Jackdaw was pecking in the mud near the Egret. The river has washed down some of the red soil
which is such a striking feature of the south Devon landscape, and dates back 250 million years
to when the area was desert and lay much further south than it does now.
A huge spider found indoors, head and body 18 mm long. It's a species of Tegenaria, I can't tell which.
Wed 5 Oct 2011 Devon - Berry Head. Conditions windy.
Cod Rock from Berry Head
The flower in the LH pic is not Rayed Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)
but the rayed form of Common Knapweed (C nigra). On the right is Musk
Thistle with its nodding heads and backswept bracts.
The calcareous clifftops at Berry Head are home to a number of
rarities, and we were lucky enough to see some still in flower despite the lateness of the season.
This is Autumn Squill, with flowers and fruits.
Another beauty was Pale Flax. All these were blowing
about like crazy but if you take enough shots you get one sharp one.
The hedgerows were mainly blackthorn, scrambled over by Wild Madder,
here showing both flowers and fruits. Wild Privet, in the RH pic, was also
present, so the hedges sported 3 kinds of black berries including those of the
blackthorn. No wonder it's called Berry Head.
This Bloody-nosed Beetle was wandering about at the foot of the
hedge. It feeds on Madder. You can see the "blood" that it has
discharged on being handled.
Bittersweet, with a colourful bunch of berries, twining among hawthorn.
Devon trip, part 2
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer