18 forayers turned out for our joint field trip with Clyde & Argyll Fungus Group yesterday. It was unseasonably warm and a lot drier than forecast, with just a few very short showers.
Fungi were not as prolific as on our 2011 visit but with so many pairs of eyes we kept foray leader Dick Peebles busy with things we had found, most of which he was not only able to name but tell us a good deal about, including which to avoid, which to eat, and even how to cook them.
I’ll put up a full report with photos shortly. In the meantime here is Jan’s photo of two of Fearnoch Forest’s best-known inhabitants, the Chanterelle and the Scottish Wood Ant.
Our sixth annual Waxcap Wander took place on Wednesday at Baileouchdarach, Lismore. On all previous Waxcap Wanders we’ve struck lucky, as the date, set in advance, turned out to be one on which fungi were fruiting profusely.
This time it was different: waxcaps were few and far between and those we did find had lost some of their colour and texture, making identification particularly challenging.
As we trudged over the grass with eyes ranging to right and left in search of some scrap of colour, I was convinced that we’d easily break the record for the lowest ever haul on a LNHG Waxcap Wander. But the numbers gradually built up and, to my astonishment, at the end of the day we had actually broken the record for the most ever. We had 15 kinds of waxcaps, the previous best being 13. What’s more, the species found indicated that this was an exceptional site for grassland fungi, and on a day when they’re more prolific who knows what might be discovered there.
As well as the waxcaps we found several other grassland fungi including the first vice-county record of White Coral Fungus (Ramariopsis kunzei), found by Cynthia. I’ll put up a page with all the day’s best photos soon and link to it here. In the meantime here is Sallie’s photo of Golden Spindles (Clavulinopsis fusiformis) with extraordinary bright red tips. These are usually either dull brown or yellow like the rest of the fungus.
Thanks to Liz and Noelle for driving us to the site from the ferry and back again, and to everyone for persevering with the hunt in rather chilly conditions. Our tea and cake in the Lios Beag cafe was well deserved.
Thanks also to Argyll & The Isles Coast & Countryside Trust for their financial support for our grassland fungi project.
Red Admiral butterflies have been very numerous lately. This one is from our Glen Euchar field trip on Tuesday. Full report with more photos and moth and fungi lists at http://www.lnhg.org.uk/2014-09-30.htm
On Saturday 6th several LNHG members took part in the annual Marsh Fritillary web count at the Ballachuan SWT reserve, the marshy part of which is managed for this endangered butterfly. At this time of year the young larvae are feeding actively and making protective webs on their foodplant, Devilsbit Scabious.
This photo shows a group of young caterpillars feeding outside their web which was close by. I don’t yet know how the figures compare with previous years but we found good numbers of webs and larvae.
A number of other interesting items were found including some amazing blue sawfly larvae which have yet to be identified. The marsh is ideal for the Garden Spider, our Species of the Month, and its large webs were frequently encountered with big fat females in the middle of them or lurking in their retreat at the top.
Our next field trip is a visit to the Isle of Luing on Sat 13 Sept. Meet at 9.45 a.m. at Cuan on Seil to get the 10 a.m. ferry to Luing. We will not be taking cars across. Our walk will start when we get off the ferry.
Our aim will be to update the plant lists for the squares at the north end of the island, and we will also be looking out for any waxcap grassland or other promising fungal sites. A quick search on the British fungal database for the commonest dozen or so species I can think of shows no records at all for Luing, so we should have little difficulty in adding a few new names to the island’s fungus list (which does contain some rarities found by our members in the past). In addition we will keep an eye out for birds, butterflies and whatever else is about.
At present the forecast for Saturday is calm, warm and dry with a fair amount of sunshine. We can look forward to a scenic walk with fine views of other islands.
Please bring a packed lunch and good waterproof footwear. Lifts will be available from various places, please ask.
Any Luing residents will be particularly welcome as they can help us find our way around!
Postponement of Talk
I do apologise for this short notice, but I will have to cancel tonight’s talk by Laken-Louise Hives on ‘Drones in Conservation’.
Her grandmother suffered a heart attack this weekend and although she was hoping to be back in time for the talk, she has found the practicalities of returning from Manchester on time too difficult.
I hope to rearrange this talk for the near future, apologies again,
Unbroken sunshine is the forecast for our walk at Glencoe tomorrow, when we will be exploring the wooded banks of the River Coe with very knowledgeable NTS ecologist Dan Watson. Meet at Glencoe NTS visitor centre which is about a mile south of Glencoe village on the right of the A82 (as you go south). There will also be a chance to look round the NTS visitor centre with its cafe and bookshop. Lifts are available from Oban and all points north.
You never know, we might see our Species of the Month, Pale Butterwort.