Posts Tagged ‘Fungi’

A Day in Sleat

May 26, 2022

Tuesday was primarily Bird Cherry day for me. I was hoping to find caterpillars of the bird-cherry ermine moth (Yponomeuta evonymella) and failed, but I did find various things on the Bird Cherry:

When I stopped to inspect my first Bird Cherry of the day, I was delighted to find four fine specimens of Neottia nidus-avis (Bird’s-nest Orchid) – a long way from any previously known site for this locally rare plant.

Neottia nidus-avis (Bird’s-nest Orchid)

I caught three micro-moths, one of which (the smallest and least distinctive) turns out to be new to the vice-county.

In the Garden in Early March

March 6, 2022

In the polytunnel where the weeds are still rife, there is a rust on some young willowherb plants. The plants are almost certainly Epilobium obscurum (Short-fruited Willowherb), though I cannot rule out hybrids at this stage, and the rust is Pucciniastrum epilobii. The presence of uredina on both sides of the leaf and the fact that they are small (c. 0.25 mm) distinguishes it from the other candidate, Puccinia pulverulenta.

Rust on Willowherb

Meanwhile, the insects are stirring. I had a male Pale Brindled Beauty a couple of days ago (the females are wingless) and this attractive chironomid (non-biting) midge was on the house. It is probably a Metriocnemus sp. but that is as far as it goes.

A Couple of Hours near Borve

September 23, 2021

I had to get something checked by Highland Motors at Borve and so I was able to spend a couple of hours wandering along the road, then along the Lòn na h-Iolainn and back across the bog, all in the 1 km square NG4447.

This turned out to be unexpectedly good botanically with Carex hostiana x demissa, the hybrid between Tawny Sedge and Common Yellow-sedge and Impatiens glandulifera (Indian Balsam) both new to the 10 km square NG44. Additionally, I found a single plant of Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort), a locally uncommon plant for which there was previously an old but undated and unlocalised record in NG44. Furthermore, there was Alnus cordata (Italian Alder) in only the fourth monad in VC104 and I made only the second vice-county record for Erythranthe (previously Mimulus) x burnetii (Coppery Monkeyflower). I made the first record for this in 2013 about two-thirds of a kilometre away in a different tetrad and on a different watercourse.

I also spotted the rust fungus Coleosporium tussilaginis on Tussilago farfara (Colt’s-foot). This fungus produces tubules containing rust spores on pine needles and later rust pustules on the leaves of Colt’’s-foot, Butterbur and other species.

Coleosporium tussilaginis on Tussilago farfara

Mid-July

July 20, 2021

I see that it is nearly two weeks since I last posted. Here are a few items from that period. John has found Luzula luzuloides (White Wood-rush) by a woodland path on Eigg. This is a neophyte that is grown for ornament, naturalised in woods and by shady streams, scattered throughout most of Britain, but mainly in Scotland. However, this is the first record for vice-county 104.

Luzula luzuloides from Eigg

Seth, Joanna, Caroline and I have been surveying Portree for the Urban Flora of Scotland project. Seth has found a patch of Ligustrum vulgare (Wild Privet) which has either been missed before or overlooked as Ligustrum ovalifolium (Garden Privet), the commoner of the two on Skye.

Frustratingly, the Philadelphus he found last autumn is not flowering this year, presumably because it is shaded. It is luxuriant enough, just not flowering. I may have to grow some on.

Joanna has re-found the Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter-vetch) in NG25, last recorded in 1958 but now with a precise grid reference.

Vicia orobus at Coral Beach Image: J Walmisley

I have been finding new fungi on various plants:

July has been good for moths. I had 44 in the trap about a week ago and then on Sunday I moved it about 200m to a spot with various trees, Bog Myrtle, Bell Heather, Purple Moor-grass etc. and caught over 100. They have taken a lot of sorting out but I have had lots of generous help from various folks. New to my West Suisnish list of adult moths:

Barred RedHylaea fasciaria
Scalloped OakCrocallis elinguaria
Dark Pine Knot-hornDioryctria abietellaR
Mountain PearlUdea uliginosalisR
Inlaid Grass-veneerCrambus pascuella
Satin Grass-veneerCrambus perlellaR
Straw DotRivula sericealis
Welsh WaveVenusia cambrica
Marsh Oblique-barredHypenodes humidalisR
Species in green are micro-moths. Species marked “R” have few records in VC104

Mid-May

May 23, 2021

It is still cold so plants are late in flowering and insects on the wing are few in number much of the time. However, it has still been possible to find interesting things…..

A single leaf of Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) from Gualann na Leac on Raasay had a gall and leaf spots.

Dryas gall and leafspot

The leafspots are caused by the fungus Isothea rhytismoides but the gall causer is less certain. Following the key on Plant Parasites of Europe leads one to the chytrid Synchytrium cupulatum but a paper on nematode infections of Dryas in Perthshire has some similar looking galls caused by nematodes:

Nematode galls on Dryas

I shall have to go and get the leaf and dig into the gall.

New 10 km square records have been made for Hedera hibernica (Atlantic Ivy), Hyacinthoides x massartiana (Hybrid Bluebell), Prunus avium (Wild Cherry or Gean) and, by David H, Scutellaria galericulata (Skullcap).

I seem to have an aphids day yesterday. Following a lead from Murdo of HBRG I went to check for aphids on Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose). He had found the aphid Ceruraphis eriophor at Strathpeffer and noticed that there was only one dot on the NBN Atlas for this species. I have often registered that on Skye V. opulus is infested with aphids and indeed the first plant I looked at had these on it (awaiting final confirmation). Later: Confirmed

Ceruraphis eriophor on Viburnum opulus

Meanwhile, Neil had spotted some clumping of leaves on Acer platanoides (Norway Maple) in a garden at Dunan.

I suspect that this is caused by maple leaf-nest aphid Mimeuria ulmiphila, a taxon that appears on NBN but with no records. Someone is going to have to knock on the door and say “Please can we get a ladder to look at your rare aphids?”. Hope that goes well.

Elsewhere, this leaf spot on Epilobium montanum (Broad-leaved Willowherb) appears to be Venturia maculiformis which is probably common but if so, very under-recorded.

Venturia maculiformis on Epilobium montanum

I have converted my moth trap so that it can be battery-operated.

Moth trap at Brae, Raasay

Its first outing at Brae produced several moths I haven’t seen yet this year at home such as Early Thorn:

Early Thorn

Without the aid of a trap, I found a nice Scalloped Hook-tip at Fearns:

Scalloped Hook=tip

Early February at Home

February 9, 2021

There is a lone curlew on the shore. I think there was just one this time last year – perhaps the same individual. Recently, there have been a flock of Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones and a pair of Goosanders to add to the usual Red-breasted Mergansers, Mallards, Eider, etc.

I have recorded Rhododendron Bud Blast before. Then it was called Pycnostysanus azaleae, but now it is Seifertia azaleae.

Seifertia azaleae

Several galls are present on small sallows along the road. I opened one up and found it to be caused by the gall midge Rabdophaga salicis.

Early one morning, I found this little chap in the bathroom, Amaurobius similis or perhaps A. fenestralis :

Amaurobius cf similis

We are having a period of cold weaher but escaping the serious snow affecting much of Scotland.

In the garden: Moths, Fungi & That Bramble

November 18, 2020

Two new moths have taken my total for adult moths here to 199 species:

There are fungi everywhere at the moment, but two pink ones in the garden recently are Coral Spot (Nectria cinnabarina)and Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda), both common enough generally but with rather few records locally. (None in VC104 on NBN for the latter.)

Meanwhile, it is looking more likely that the bramble in the last post is in fact Rubus subinermoides as determined by Alan Newton when he stayed with me in 2007, though I am waiting for a view on the pink petals.

Mines, Galls and Microfungi. Part 2

October 19, 2020

In my last post I had meant to include this smut on Bluebells. It is common enough in this part of the world, but under-recorded.

Colletotrichum liliacearum on Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Bluebell)

In Broadford I found Venturia populina on Populus trichocarpa (Western Balsam-poplar). Bruce says it is “fairly common up here” but there is only one Scottish record on NBN – and that is incorrect as the host is given as Aspen.

Venturia populina on Populus trichocarpa

In Ardvasar there were Red Campion capsules with small holes near the base. I have forgoten what does this and hope someone will remind me…. maybe the moth known as The Campion?

Silene dioica

On one of the capsules I spotted this:

Unknown on Silene dioica capsule

It is very small but looks a bit too organised to be just miscellaneous junk.

Nearby there was a Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle or Pheasant Berry) with lots of leaf mines.

Mines on Leycesteria formosa are caused by flies that traditionally mine Lonicera periclymenum (Honeysuckle) and I sometimes find them difficult to tell apart despite excelllent guides at UKflymines and Plant Parasites of Europe. Anyway, these images found their way to Barry Warrington who runs the National Agromyzidae Recording Scheme and he says they are caused by Chromatomyia lonicerae.

Mines, Galls and Microfungi

October 13, 2020

By the front gate there is a small Hawthorn tree (Crataegus monogyna). Yesterday I spotted a small moth larva that turns out to be a young Light Emerald.

Light Emerald larva

Apparently this species overwinters as small larvae lying flat along stems of the food plant. As you can see the larva has a fringe of hair-like projections hanging down from the sides.

Also on the Hawthorn a couple of leaves had been spun together with silk and inside was another moth larva. The identity of this one has not yet been resolved.

Spun leaves
Larva

Before I left the premises I noticed a fungus on Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet) which Bruce tells me is Alternaria solani.

Alternaria solani on Solanum dulcamara

This is not entirely good news as this fungus causes Early Potato Blight and we grow quite a lot of potatoes.

Moving on a couple of hundred metres to a strip of woodland by the Arish Burn, I noticed some leaf mines on Stachys sylvatica (Hedge Woundwort) caused by the true fly Amauromyza labiatarum.

Amauromyza labiatarum mines on Stachys sylvatica

and a little further on a Hazel (Corylus avellana) had leaf mines made by two different micro-moths.

Stigmella floslactella mine on Corylus avellana
Phyllonorycter nicellii mine on Corylus avellana
Phyllonorycter nicellii larva

Also there was a springtail, Entomobrya nivalis (sometimes called Cosmopolitan Springtail), though I almost missed it and have no worthwhile image to share.

A little further on there were galls on Ranunculus repens (Creeping Buttercup) caused by the fungus Urocystis ranunculi

Urocystis ranunculi galls on Ranunculus repens

I am grateful to various folks for identifying and confirming many of the species shown here: Bruce Ing, Roy Leverton, Murdo Macdonald, Stephen Moran, Nigel Richards and Mark Young.

Glamaig

August 7, 2020

Yesterday I climbed Glamaig, my nearest Red Cuillin, but one of very few that I have never climbed to the top. One of the sites I had intended to include was Leathad Dubh on the northern edge, but Nick went there looking for bryophytes on Monday and found two of the three vascular plants I would have been looking for based on pre-2000 records: Cirsium heterophyllum (Melancholy Thistle) and Rubus saxatilis (Stone Bramble). I very nearly went on Monday – if I had we would very probably have bumped into one another.

So, not needing to do Leathad Dubh I went back to a Hieracium site on the Allt Daraich and took another specimen in the hope of re-finding the probable H. subcrinellum (Blunt-leaved Hawkweed) I found last year. I also found another Hieracium site a little way upstream, so another specimen for determination.

Then, up the hill. There were Scotch Argus butterflies in good numbers and I caught this little moth that turns out to be Eana osseana (Dotted Shade), one with few records hereabouts.

Eana osseana

Eana osseana

In terms of finding plants that had not been recorded since before 2000, things were a bit thin with only Euphrasia frigida (Upland Eyebright) re-found – no Gnaphalium supinum (Dwarf Cudweed), Silene acaulis (Moss Campion) or Silene uniflora (Sea Campion). It is a shame about the Gnaphalium as there is no record in NG53 since 1993.

However, I did add 33 taxa to the tetrad list including Luzula spicata (Spiked Wood-Rush) and the hybrid sallow Salix x reichardtii (S. caprea x cinerea).

It was a bright if windy day and I didn’t do well at taking photos – apart from Hieracium specimens. Here is the summit mound with Raasay behind it:

Glamaig Summit

Glamaig Summit

Not far away there was this fungal fruiting body growing through Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow) and Alchemilla alpina (Alpine Lady’s-mantle). Initially suggested to be Stubble Rosegill (Volvariella gloiocephala), Colin’s comment below has led to a redetermination as Amanita nivalis  (Snow Ringless Amanita or Mountain Grisette).

Volvariella gloiocephala

Amanita nivalis  (Snow Ringless Amanita or Mountain Grisette)

This is one of the species in the Lost and Found Fungi project and is a first for the vice-county. See here.