Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Sat 8 Sep 2012 Doire Darach

From SNHG forum:

Comment by Carl Farmer on September 13, 2012 at 12:34

Caledonian Pine

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.



Pinus sylvestris var scotica

Caledonian pines

Suillus variegatus

The Velvet Bolete (Suilus variegatus) was one of the commonest fungi under the pines.

Cortinarius mucifluus

Another common pine associate was the very glutinous Slimy Webcap (Cortinarius mucifluus)

Cantharellus aurora

The Yellow-stemmed Chanterelle (Cantharellus aurora) is a classic Caledonian Pinewood species.  Winter Chanterelles (Craterellus tubaeformis) were also present.

Russula nitida

Purple Swamp Brittlegill (Russula nitida). There is always birch with the pine and this is one of its fungal associates.

Lactarius vietus

The Grey Milkcap (Lactarius vietus), another birch associate.

Pinus sylvestris var scotica

The rich red-brown upper bark of Scots Pine in the sunlight

Trientalis europaea & Vaccinium myrtillus, red autumn leaves

Autumn colours from Chickweed Wintergreen and Bilberry

Electrophaes corylata larva

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.

Eulithis testata

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 Chevron.

Lochmaea caprea

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?

Hygrocybe cantharellus

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, plasmodium

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 like animals.

Badhamia lilacina, sporocarps

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.

Pleurocybella porrigens

Angel Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens) on an old stump, with Cowberry

.Lichenomphalia umbellifera, basidiocarp

Lichenomphalia umbellifera, growing from a rotting birch log.

Lichenomphalia umbellifera, thallus

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 alga.

Huperzia selago with gemmae

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.

Ochrolechia tartarea

I could have spent all day looking at the life on that log.  This is the familiar Cudbear lichen (Ochrolechia tartarea), coating with white the Polytrichum mosses that try to grow through it.

Pinus sylvestris var scotica, seedling

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