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.
Despite most regulars from both Lismore and the mainland being unable to attend, there were 7 of us in the end ready to brave the forecast downpour, which never appeared until the exact moment when we got back to the cars to head for the cafe. So a very enjoyable day in a beautiful setting. We added a humongous number of plants to the Salen species list. Pride of place goes to Parsley Water-dropwort, described as “rare” in Bernard Thompson’s Lismore flora and “very rare” in Gordon Rothero’s Argyll flora. Bernard had recorded it in 1999 at the exact place where we found it, but I did not know that so it was pleasing to happen upon it again by chance. Photo below. The long narrow finger-like leaflets are what make it stand out from other umbellifers.
Other plants of interest included Rock Whitebeam, Saltmarsh Flat-sedge, Greater Sea Spurrey, Hairy Brome, Brookweed, Knotted Pearlwort, Distant Sedge and Elecampane.
Thanks to Marlene and David for driving us around and Carol for showing us the secret route to the top of the cliffs, and to everyone for spotting things.
My first Scotch Argus of the year, at Inverawe yesterday. The earliest seen or reported to LNHG in previous years were:
22 Jul 2007
25 Jul 2008
25 Jul 2009
20 Jul 2010
27 Jul 2011
24 Jul 2012
27 Jul 2013
Within a few days they’ll be by far the commonest butterfly around.
Landscapes and Wildlife
by James Fenton
Tuesday 8th July 2014
Seil Island Hall
Free for members
£ 2.00 for non-members