Posts Tagged ‘Fungi’

Small Things

May 27, 2017

This micro-moth was in the garden yesterday. Nigel tells me it is Syndemis musculana sometimes known as Dark-barred Twist, though verncular names do not seem to be much used in the micromothing world.

Syndemis musculana 170526

and today this looper caterpillar which Nigel tells me is the Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) fell onto the lawnmower.

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This fly, Murdo tells me is a Phaonia, a very large genus of the family Muscidae, but since I have had seven different species over the past five years it will need to go for proper determination:

fly 20170519 (1)

Meanwhile, the fungus on Dryas octopetala from Wednesday is looking very likely to be Isothea rhytismoides. The NBN Atlas has 22 records for the British Isles, all in Scotland or Ireland, but none since 1993, and none in Scotland since 1990. (Also none anywhere near Skye.) Here is a better image:

Dryas fungus 3

and a link to things found on Dryas. (The English starts below the Dutch.)

Berraraig Bay and Beyond

May 26, 2017

Back in the last century Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) (1976) and Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine) (1996) were discovered on the cliffs of Berraraig Bay. Then in 2006 I added a third Nationally Scare species to the same habitat, Cephalanthera longifolia (Narrow-leaved Helleborine).

For several years I have been meaning to get there in May when the Cephalanthera is in flower and on Thursday I achieved it. I counted over 40 plants, over a 700m stretch. I will certainly have missed some non-flowering specimens as quite a few plants are a little way up a near-vertical cliff.

This was an exceptional day for me in that I added the three Nationally Scarce species above to tetrad NG55C (as well as other nice things like Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade), and two to NG55H, Dryas and Equisetum x font-queri (Font-Quer’s Horsetail) as well as Neottia ovata again, and Vicia sylvatica (Wood Vetch).

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Now I know Equisetum x font-queri, unlike Equisetum telmateia (Great Horsetail), is supposed to bear a cone at the top of fertile stems but this is ridiculous:

Equisetum font-queri Berreraig Bay Malformed

There were rusts and similar I haven’t found before:

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and all sorts of other things – generally a great day.

Geary – Updated

May 3, 2017

In the past I have driven to the end of the road at Geary in order to hasten to the botanically rich Geary Ravine SSSI. Today I stopped a little sooner and had a go at tetrad NG25Q, in particular the coastal woodland.

This tetrad is unusual in VC104 in that there were lots of records (155) from before the year 2000 but none since. There is one other in a similar category with 96 earlier records but none recent, but that is more difficult to reach.

The reason for all these earlier records at Geary is a 1996 visit by Jackie Muscott and the Edinburgh Natural History Society. Despite the earliness of the season, I was able to re-find the majority of the previous records – and add some more.

The woodland ground flora was at its best, flowering before being shaded by tree leaves. Along the road there were some interesting escapes like Myrrhis odorata (Sweet Cicely), Tolmiea menziesii (Pick-a-back-plant), Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) and Symphytum x uplandicum (Russian Comfrey).

Some plants in flower, or nearly so:

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This little fellow dropped onto my recording card but I didn’t have the heart to take him home and try to determine exactly which land snail he is as he was unlikely to survive the experience:

Snail Geary 2

Clearly a Balea, just need to check the species….. see comments below.

There were interesting fungi on plants too, some awaiting determination; the one on  Veronica beccabunga (Brooklime) may be unusual:

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Later: Bruce has confirmed my tentative identifications of

Uromyces muscari on Bluebell
Ramularia calthae on Marsh-marigold
Puccinia obscura on Great Wood-rush

and says that the rust on Brooklime is probably Puccinia veronicae on a previously unknown host, but wants the specimen I took.


April 29, 2017

Seth showed me Bluebell Rust (Uromyces muscari) at Uig and also mentioned one found on Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum). Once home, the first Tutsan plant I looked at, about two metres from my front door, had it:

Melampsora hypericorum 3 LR

Melampsora hypericorum

There are no Skye or Raasay records on the NBN Atlas, but I expect this is another very common thing that is seriously under-recorded.

Aketil Burn

April 22, 2017

Back in June 2011 I walked along the Caroy River but did not divert along the Aketil Burn. This was a shame as back in 1973 John Birks had found some nice things there. Today I went to try to find them – and succeeded for ten of the twelve taxa he found that were still missing from the tetrad. I failed on Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Oak Fern) and, curiously even at this time of year, Populus tremula (Aspen).

Most pleasing was re-finding Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern) as there are only two known sites in NG33, this one and Glen Vic Askill (1988).

There was Veronica beccabunga (Brooklime) though not yet flowering and in the tetrad to the south the alien Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) which was being enjoyed by bumble bees.

There was Celandine Clustercup Rust on Ficaria verna subsp. fertilis (Lesser Celandine) and Ramularia on Rumex acetosa and R. obtusifolius – probably Ramularia pratensis on the former and Ramularia rubella on the latter – see comments.

More New Things

April 21, 2017

Well, Seth is keeping up the pace with Glechoma hederacea (Ground-ivy) at Uig.

Glechoma hederacea UIg

Glechoma hederacea         Photo: S. Gibson

This is only the sixth tetrad record post-1999 in the vice-county and probably explains an old unlocalised record by my predecessor for NG36.

Meanwhile in my garden I noticed Kuehneola uredinis (Pale Bramble Rust). My friend Paul Smith has made several records of this in the Outer Isles but this may be the first record for VC104. I bet it is elsewhere too.

Kuehneola uredinis

Steve’s plantain gall has been confirmed as Synchytrium erieum and I notice that the only other two records on the NBN Atlas are on Lismore by Carl Farmer.

New Things – Updated

April 20, 2017

Seth has found one of the Heuchera tribe of Saxifragaceae in the Uig Woods. I initially thought, without looking too closely to be honest, that it was Tellima grandiflora (Fringecups) as this is known in a few spots on Skye and Raasay, but David Broughton remarked that it looked like Mitella (or Pectiantia) ovalis (Bishop’s Cap / Oval-leaved Mitrewort). After some digging around I have to agree. Native to the western coast of North America, seeds are available in the UK, but as far as I can tell this is the first record of it in the wild in The British Isles.

Tellima Uig

Mitella ovalis                       Photo: S Gibson

I have put a link to Seth’s blog, “Skye’s The Limit” on my blog roll.

Sean found flowering Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid) at Kilmory, Rum a couple of days ago, refreshing a 1983 record for that tetrad:

Orchis mascula at Kilmory

Orchis mascula                    Photo: S. Morris

Steve has found an interesting gall on Plantago lanceolata (Ribwort Plantain) which we think is caused by the chytrid fungus Synchytrium erieum. This is described as rare in British Plant Galls (Redfern & Shirley).

Plantago lanceolata gall (Steve Terry) 2

Gall on Plantago lanceolata            Photo: S. Terry

Ramasaig Bay etc.

April 17, 2017

Yesterday, I visited Ramasaig Bay. I accidentally left my camera in the car and so have limited pictures to show here. The sea cliffs had the usual suspects such as Asplenium marinum (Sea Spleenwort) and Juniperus communis subsp. nana (Dwarf Juniper) and, this being the west coast of Skye, there was Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw). I saw my first Green-veined White butterfly of the year and my first orchids – Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid), though not yet in flower.

I captured this bluebottle which may be Calliphora uralensis, the one I keep never recording on Raasay (Later: Confirmed – Thanks, Murdo).

Tach 3

I can also show an image of Ramularia rubella which causes leaf spot on docks – in this case Rumex obtusifolius (Broad-leaved Dock). This picture was taken on Raasay but I also saw it at Ramasaig yesterday. It is very common – just doesn’t have many records on Skye.

Ramularia rubella LR

Ramularia rubella

Another thing that is probably quite common but under-recorded is Phytomyza ilicis (Holly Leaf Gall Fly or Holly Leaf Miner) seen here on Raasay on Ilex x altaclerensis (I. aquifolium x perado) but usually recorded on native Holly (Ilex aquifolium).

Phytomyza ilicis 1

A Spring Weekend on Skye

April 3, 2017

With other reasons to be on Skye, I took opportunities for a couple of modest excursions, one at Aird of Sleat and one along the north bank of Loch Sligachan from Peinnachorrain on Braes.

Spring seems to have come early on Skye this year at least at sea level. Not too surprising given the mild winter and recent warm days.

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The north side of Loch Sligachan had hazel with Glue Fungus (Hymenochaete corrugata) gluing sticks at odd angles to a Hazel::

Glue fungus

There was a great deal of Cotoneaster simonsii (Himalayan Cotoneaster):

Cotoneaster simonsii

The shore had several Horse Mussel shells and above the shore were many whelks, clearly a favoured food of local birds.  Both of these need further work to determine exactly.

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Raasay Fungi

March 15, 2017

Back in October 2014 I put an image of a bracket fungus from Screapadal, Raasay on this blog. Recently, Neil Mahler has suggested that it is Stereum subtomentosum (Yellowing Curtain Crust). You can see his comments on that post.

If this is right, it looks like being the third record for Scotland – see the distribution map on the NBN. Bruce Ing also says he thinks that is the right identification, though he is not 100% sure, and tells me that it came into the UK from France in the 1960s.

Stereum subtomentosum

Stereum subtomentosum (?) – Additional image

Meanwhile, Bruce has confirmed Phomopsis leycesteriae growing on Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle) in my garden. It is probably common wherever this shrub grows – and it has spread into the wild on Skye and the mainland nearby. Indeed, my interest in this was stirred by Murdo finding it near Plockton and asking me to identify the host plant.

Phomopsis leycesteriae

Phomopsis leycesteriae