Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Sat 25 Feb 2012

Conistra vaccinii   Agriopis marginaria

The only recent moth visitors to the window were this Chestnut and (28 Feb) Dotted Border.

Wed 29 Feb 2012 SNHG midweek field trip, E side of Clachan Sound.  Advertised thus:

The February midweek recording field trip will be on Wed 29 Feb, meeting at 10 a.m. in the Tigh an Truish car park, which is on the left immediately after you cross the bridge to Seil.  We will walk back over the bridge and then venture north along the mainland side of the Clachan Sound.

We will be looking at lichens again with a chance of Hazel Gloves.  This might seem a bit repetitive to some but alas the season is not far enough advanced for spring flowers or insects.  We're learning to recognise more lichens all the time, especially those who were on the training day yesterday, so it will be fun to see how many of these we can spot without expert help (unless any experts want to come along of course!)

I have a grid ref for the uncommon Sticta canariensis which I've never seen with certainty.  We've all seen the other 3 Sticta species plenty of times so it would be good to complete the quartet, if it's still there and if we can find it.  A prize for anyone who does - there's a good venue for consuming prizes very close to the car park!

There is also a record of one dead Hazel Gloves fruitbody.  Given our recent experience on the Seil side, where we found 5 new ones close to the site of 1 old one, we may find that H Gloves is not extinct on the mainland side of the Sound either.

Some of the lichens we met yesterday which are recorded nearby include Pyrenula laevigata, Thelotrema petractoides & Leptogium brebissonii.  As well as hazel several other kinds of trees are present.

There are also records of Greater Tussock Sedge which should be recognisable even in February.

The best stuff is about half a mile north from the bridge and up the slope a bit, so bring good waterproof footwear (wellies are recommended) and be prepared to go off the path, if there is a path...

Pre-walk reminder:

Hi all,

Looks like a decent day for our midweek recording field trip tomorrow, but come prepared for all weathers as usual.  We meet at 10 a.m. in the Tigh an Truish car park from where we'll set off to explore the mainland side of the Clachan Sound.

There will be a prize for the first person to find any of the following:

  • Sticta canariensis
  • Hazel Gloves, dead or alive
  • Flowering specimen of our Species of the Month, Barren Strawberry, as I've still not seen one this year.
  • Female Hazel flower, also not yet seen though the male catkins are well open now.

The prizegiving ceremony will be held in the Tigh an Truish after the walk.  Only one prize per person.

Looking forward to seeing everyone,



Ochrolechia parella

As it turned out we did have a lichen expert with us, Sandy Coppins, who identified various lichens on the stonework of the Clachan Bridge.  This one is Ochrolechia parella.

Caloplaca flavovirescens   Aspicilia caesiocinerea

Caloplaca flavovirescens, on mortar between the stones, and Aspicilia caesiocinerea on the stone itself.

Degelia plumbea s.s.   Degelia plumbea s.s.

Eventually we managed to get off the bridge and into the woods, where we spotted a genuine Degelia plumbea, as opposed to Degelia cyanoloma which was recently separated from D plumbea as a different species, and is the commoner of the two in these parts.

As well as the relatively pale fruits, the edge of the thallus with only longitudinal ridging distinguishes this species from D cyanoloma which has dark fruits and transverse ridging.

Brian Coppins adds "Yes, fine - note also the squamule-like structures amongst the apothecia - you don't get this in D. cyanoloma."


Hypocrea pulvinata

Hypocrea pulvinata is a yellow fungus that grows on fallen Birch Polypores. The Polypore was turned over to take this photo.

  Hazelnut shells wedged by bird in tree

A great many hazelnuts had been hammered into cracks in this dead tree and then eaten, probably by a woodpecker.

Lacerta vivipara

This lizard must have just emerged from hibernation and was trying to soak up some warmth on a mild February day.

Lacerta vivipara

Post-walk summary:

We had good weather for our midweek field trip on the east side of Clachan Sound yesterday, and found some fine Atlantic hazelwood with a rich lichen flora, though there was no sign of either of our target species Sticta canariensis and Hazel Gloves.  Of the four prizes on offer, only Sandy managed to win one by spotting a female hazel flower, and as she had to leave before lunchtime Richard was obliged to drink her prize for her.

It was a good day for jelly fungi with Bob finding Birch Jelly Button and Black Witches' Butter, Richard finding Leafy Brain Fungus and me spotting Willow Jelly Button.  Also the yellow parasitic fungus Hypocrea pulvinata was found growing on a fallen Birch Polypore.

On the way back we found a lizard which had clearly just emerged from hibernation and was so docile that Bob was able to pick it up and we took close-up photos of its face while it was on his hand. 

Thanks to all who took part.  The next midweek field trip will be on Thu 29 Mar.  Venue tba.


Sat 3 Mar 2012 Taynuilt

Alsophila aescularia   Orthosia gothica

Was pleased to get a March Moth through the window straight after making it the SNHG Species of the Month.  Also the first Hebrew Character of the year; these will soon be very plentiful.



All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer