Posts Tagged ‘Fungi’

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.

 

Plant News plus Fungi

July 14, 2020

The trouble with finding Hieracium silvaticoides (Wood Hawkweed) is that it casts into doubt earlier records in the vice-county for the very similar H. duriceps (Hard-headed Hawkweed). One of these records is from limestone rocks near Brae on Raasay in NG5541, so I went to collect specimens from that area. Time will tell what I found.

I was delighted to re-find Orthilia secunda (Serrated Wintergreen) at a site where I discovered it in 1996 but where it had not been recorded since. It is not exactly in a spot one passes by casually. Best to climb up the nearby waterfall and then up a steep slope – and there it is, about 20 rosettes of leaves but only one plant in flower/fruit:

Orthilia secunda

Orthilia secunda (Serrated Wintergreen)

Close by was this fungus on  Geum rivale (Water Avens)

Ramularia gei on Geum rivale

Ramularia gei on Geum rivale

and along the gorge the Ulmus glabra (Wych Elm) was covered in this:

In the Garden 26th May 2020

May 26, 2020

It is not the peak time for fungal fruiting bodies but this one has appeared in the veggie bed. Chris tells me it is Tubaria furfuracea, commonly known as the scurfy twiglet.

Scurfy Twiglet

The gooseberries have small quantities of Puccinia caricina as usual, which is colourful and not at a level to cause concern:

Puccinia caricina

Flowerng weeds in the garden now include Poa trivialis (Rough Meadow-grass) and Rumex acetosa (Common Sorrel). The weeds aren’t doing as well as usual as we are spending much more time this year removing them, owing to lockdown. Many seedlings of Gnaphalium uliginosum (Marsh Cudweed), Ranunculus sceleratus (Celery-leaved Buttercup), Spergula arvensis (Corn Spurrey), Veronica persica (Common Field-speedwell) and Veronica peregrina (American Speedwell) from the veggie beds have ended up on the compost heap, but they will have considerable seed banks in the soil.

Insects have contiued to arrive in variety. The moth trap has yielded my first Streamer of the year and the first Shears I have had for five years.

Also this splendid Poplar Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoth

and in the garden my first and second ever Large Longhorn (Nematopogon swammerdamella). I didn’t manage a picture but here is one Katie found on Raasay a week or so earlier

Large Longhorn (Nematopogon swammerdamella) Image: K. Guerra

This litle beetle is probably Contacyphon padi (thanks, Ralph)…

Contacyphon padi

and this hoverfly is Xylota segnis (sometimes called Orange-belted Hoverfly). (Thanks Steve and Seth):

Xylota segnis

though I had to check for this spine at the base of the hind femur to make sure it wasn’t the rarer Xylota tarda (sometimes called Aspen-wood Hoverfly):

Xylota segnis Hind femur

In the Garden 15th May 2020

May 15, 2020

Last Sunday a young otter was exploring our garden – something we have never seen before, though we see them beyond the garden on the shore and in the sea. There has been a Great Northern Diver in the bay for some time and, as it is May, we can hear cuckoos.

I managed to identify a harvestman – probably the easiest to recognise with its spiky headdress:

Megabunus diadema

Megabunus diadema

and Bruce kindly identified a fungus for me that is growing on dead Euphorbia griffithii (Griffith’s Spurge) stems as Phomopsis euphorbiae. It is not the most photogenic of things, but there are only two records on NBN Atlas one of which is in Scotland by Murdo – identified by Bruce a few years ago.

Phomopsis euphorbiae

Phomopsis euphorbiae

Last night’s moth trap was very limited, but gave me my first Pale-shouldered Brocade of the year.

Pale-shouldered Brocade

Pale-shouldered Brocade

The Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) is nearly in flower:

Tutsan

Tutsan in bud

and I found evidence of sharks in the garden.

lesser-spotted dogfish

Lesser-spotted Dogfish Egg Case

The egg case of what is now officially known as the small-spotted catshark, will have been brought in with seaweed used to fertilise the vegetable beds, it has not decomposed over the winter as has most of the seaweed.

Off With a Bang

February 14, 2020

The square-bashing for Atlas 2020 is over but yesterday Neil, Seth and I took a walk along the River Chracaig in Portree and made a cracking start to the new year’s recording. We started with a look at some snowdrops Seth had found. As well as the standard Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop), as he had suspected there was also something else, which turned out to be G. plicatus subsp. plicatus (Pleated Snowdrop) and a hybrid swarm of G. x valentinei (G. nivalis x plicatus).

Galanthus plicatus

Galanthus plicatus ssp. plicatus (Confirmed by Aaron Davis at Kew)

Not long after that, we fell over a mature conifer which I am pretty sure is Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Red-cedar): Later: Confirmed by Matt Parratt (BSBI Conifer referee).

Cryptomeria japonica.jpg

Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Red-cedar)

That makes three things new to VC104.

Additionally, we added Berberis darwinii (Darwin’s Barberry) and a crocus to the list for the 10 x 10km square NG44.  I think the crocus is Crocus vernus but have asked for expert advice. Later: Brian Mathew (BSBI Crocus referee) says “….the C. vernus agg….. is now split into several. I am sure the Portree Crocus is a form of one of these, the variable C. neapolitanus (Ker Gawl.) Loisel.” So another new VC record – sort of, as I have previously recorded C. vernus and C. neapolitanus is what used to be C. vernus subsp. vernus.

Crocus

Crocus neapolitanus

We added a further eight taxa that were new to the tetrad including Carex sylvatica (Wood-sedge) and Sanicula europaea (Sanicle).

We found this interesting fungus (Onygena equina) growing on a sheep horn – Neil had found it near here a few months ago:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Onygena equina

an Orange Ladybird

Orange Ladybird

Orange Ladybird

and a variety of other insects, fungi and lichens. Today the weather is back to gale force with no ferry running – and set to be that way for a few days – so no more excursions for now.

More Raasay News

December 4, 2019

A woodlouse found on the recent SNG outing turns out to be Philoscia affinis, a cryptic species only recorded in the UK in 2017 but likely to have been here for many a year as an undiscovered native. For now, this is the most northerly record on the planet.

Philoscia affinis

Philoscia affinis              Image N. Roberts

You can read much more about this here.

Whilst checking the only known duckweed site on Raasay a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a plant in that small garden pond that I thought was Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium i.e. a Water-crowfoot. I sent a couple of pictures to Chris Preston, aquatic plants expert, who agreed. Sadly neither he nor I can get it to the species level without flowers and late November is not the time to find those. The only accepted records for linear-leaved water-crowfoots in the vice-county are of Ranunculus trichophyllus (Thread-leaved Water-crowfoot) from Storr Lochs on Skye. The Raasay one may have been introduced with purchased pond plants.

Batrachium

Batrachium

Today I spotted this little fungus on a twig in the garden:

Fungus on twig

Fungus on twig

I am hoping that someone will advise as to what it is…..   Later: Looks like a Hymenoscyphus though the species would need more work. Thanks, Seth.