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.

Trametes sp.

This large zonate bracket looks like a Trametes species.  If so, it's probably Trametes gibbosa, but I'm not certain.

Polypodium vulgare agg. with Ganoderma spores

Looking down on a Polypody frond with a brown coating from the spores of the Ganoderma bracket fungi above it.

Aponogeton distachyus

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.

Egretta garzetta

A Little Egret beside the river at Totnes

Corvus monedula

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.

Tegeneria sp.

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, Devon

Cod Rock from Berry Head

Centaurea nigra ssp nemoralis, rayed form   Carduus nutans

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.

Scilla autumnalis, flowers   Scilla autumnalis, fruits

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.

Linum bienne

Another beauty was Pale Flax.  All these were blowing about like crazy but if you take enough shots you get one sharp one.

Rubia peregrina, flowers and fruits   Ligustrum vulgare, fruits

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.

Timarcha tenebricosa

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.

Solanum dulcamara fruits

Bittersweet, with a colourful bunch of berries, twining among hawthorn.

Devon trip, part 2



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer