14 September 2013

Field trip to Loch Tralaig


This walk took us along the track to Loch Tralaig and then along the south side of the loch, where a few years ago I had found Marsh Fritillary webs, but we didn't find any on this occasion.

We saw much else of interest however, including a Golden Eagle and a pair of Sea Eagles, spotted by Rob.  They were sub-adults of 4 or 5 years old.  Rob told us that they will pair at this age but not mate until they have attained their adult plumage at 6 years old or perhaps even later.  We also watched a young Goldfinch feeding voraciously on Devlisbit Scabious seeds.

Peacock butterflies were plentiful and at one point we saw 4 together on a white house wall.  Green-veined White was also seen.

Good plant finds were Globe Flower (leaves only), Water x Corn Mint hybrid, Northern Dog Rose and Common Orache.  Grass of Parnassus was flowering everywhere.


This Broom Moth caterpillar was found by Jan on gravel at the loch shore, perhaps looking for a pupation site.  It's the biggest specimen I've seen and the latest in the year.
 

 

Jan also spotted this Knot-grass caterpillar on Devilsbit Scabious.  These are quite frequent at this time of year and feed on an incredible variety of plants.  Once again this is the latest we have on record, though only by a small margin.

The yucky stuff on the right is the plasmodium of the slime mould Mucilago crustacea, found by Rob.  Several species have a yellow plasmodium like this and to identify them you have to bring a bit home and wait for it to produce fruitbodies, which it will do within a day or two.  Any on grass are likely to be this species.  Similar ones in woodland are likely to be the Dog Vomit slime mould, Fuligo septica, and ones in sphagnum bogs may well be Badhamia lilacina.

Both the above two photos are by Jan.
 

 

This is also the latest Heather Fly we have for Argyll, though I have a later one from Braemar.  This species is similar to the common St Mark's Fly, which flies earlier in the year, but has striking red thighs where the St Mark's Fly is all black.

The spider is almost certainly Metellina segmentata, but it could be a late M mengei.  Both this and the Heather Fly were found by Rob.
 

A female Syrphus ribesii hoverfly photographed by Jan


Here are some photo of fungal specimens that I brought home to identify.

Yellow, slimy, conical, with ascending gills and streaky stem = Persistent Waxcap.  Found by Chris.  The first vice-county record of this species was found a few days earlier by Liz Buckle on Lismore.
 

Ann spotted this beautiful little mushroom growing in the grass with the Persistent Waxcap.  At first we took this one to be a Snowy Waxcap, but on examination it clearly was not.  It turned out to be Entoloma sericellum, the Cream Pinkgill, a new one for me but apparently quite common and worth looking out for elswehere.
 

Peziza Badia, the Bay Cup Fungus, found by Jan on an earth bank, showing the greenish inside of the cup and the scurfy exterior.
 

Lactarius zonarius, found by Jan


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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.  Photos 2,3 and 6 Jan Hamilton.