Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Sat 8 Sep 2012 Doire Darach
From SNHG forum:
Carl Farmer on September 13, 2012 at 12:34
In some of the more easterly reaches of Argyll the original tree cover was of pine, and there are still a few remnants of this native pinewood, notably beside Loch Tulla between Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran. These woods may support a range of plant, animal and fungal species similar to those of the better known Caledonian Pinewoods further north and east, and perhaps even some extra species of their own due to the differences in climate. We'll have a SNHG ramble there one day, even if it is rather a long way for some people. In the meantime here are some photos from a recent visit.
The Velvet Bolete (Suilus variegatus) was one of the commonest fungi under the
Another common pine associate was the very glutinous Slimy
Webcap (Cortinarius mucifluus)
The Yellow-stemmed Chanterelle (Cantharellus aurora) is a classic Caledonian Pinewood species. Winter Chanterelles (Craterellus tubaeformis) were also present.
Purple Swamp Brittlegill (Russula nitida). There is always
birch with the pine and this is one of its fungal associates.
The Grey Milkcap (Lactarius vietus), another birch associate.
The rich red-brown upper bark of Scots Pine in the sunlight
Autumn colours from Chickweed Wintergreen and Bilberry
The Broken-barred Carpet. A looper caterpillar that always rests
in a straightened-out pose where it looks from a distance like a pine needle
that's fallen onto the holly.
This moth led me a merry dance as it fluttered through the
grass and heather. It's hard to focus the camera when there's vegetation in
front as well as behind, but I finally managed to get it in clear view. It's the
The Willow Leaf Beetle (Lochmaea caprea), sitting on a Birch leaf as they have been doing all summer (it likes both Birch and Willow leaves, despite its name). Can it see the warning signs that the leaves are about to fall?
The Goblet Waxcap (Hygrocybe cantharellus). Unlike most waxcaps, this grows in sphagnum
rather than in grassland. It's very small and delicate, the photo doesn't do it
justice at all.
Badhamia lilacina, a slime mould that develops in wet sphagnum and then climbs
the grass or rush stems in the form of this yellow plasmodium. Slime moulds are
neither plants, animals nor fungi, but in this plasmodial stage they move about
I brought some of it home and within a couple of
days it had changed to a thin skin covered with these black fruitbodies, which
are full of spores that enabled me to identify it to species. Worth doing as
there are only 36 British records for this species on the BMS database. At this
sporocarp stage the slime mould resembles a fungus.
Angel Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens) on an old stump, with Cowberry
Lichenomphalia umbellifera, growing from a rotting birch log.
The base of the mushroom in the previous picture. It's
classified as a lichen since it grows in conjuction with an alga. The green
bobbles shown here are the
Fir Clubmoss (Huperzia selago), on the same rotten birch log. At the top of the
stems are the gemmae which will fall off to produce new plants.
I could have spent all day looking at the life on that log. This is the familiar Cudbear lichen
tartarea), coating with white the Polytrichum
mosses that try to grow through it.
Evidence of regeneration. I saw 3 seedlings altogether. These
will be the giant pines of the future - if the deer don't get them.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer