24 September 2013

LNHG Field Trip, Appin

We walked from the new Appin Community Car Park up a short wooded path to the Cycle Track, along there to Appin Old Churchyard, then followed a wooded path beside a burn to another part of the cycle track and walked back to our starting place.  The the waxcaps in the churchyard were the highlight, but throughout the walk people were finding endless things of interest, of which only a selection is shown here - for one thing I haven't identified them all yet!  May add more later.

The Alder Tongue fungus, Taphrina alni, found by Rob and photographed by Jan.  The "tongues" are galls caused by the fungus.


A log beside the cycle track bore the crimson cups of Ascocoryne cylichnium on its cut surface and the yellow stems of Mycena epipterygium on its lower side, captured in this photo by Jan.

Rob found this Hawthorn Shieldbug on willow beside the cycle track...

...and this Buff-tip Caterpillar on Hazel (photo by Jan)  We found several more of these on the same Hazel bush, but they were not feeding in close groups like they do when they're younger.

A much smaller caterpillar was this one found by Rob eating the leaves of Lime.  Probably a micro-moth larva, I have not been able to identify it.


Another log fungus, the Blueing Bracket, Postia subcaesia


The Yellow Club, Clavulinopsis Helvola, found by Cynthia and photographed by Jan.  I didn't take many photos in the churchyard as people were constantly finding new things for me to look at and it was difficult to keep up!  The one on the right is the only waxcap photo I took in situ, and it's just the common old Golden Waxcap (H chlorophana).

As well as the normal all-yellow form of Hygrocybe glutinipes, which was exciting enough, we found this striking orange-blotched variety, which had me puzzled until I got it home, hence the caps on the slide.  Sorry for all the dirt stuck to the caps, but it's not called the Glutinous Waxcap for nothing.

A selection of waxcaps photographed by Catherine

We found 9 waxcap species in the churchyard altogether.  In rough order of frequency they were:

Hygrocybe ceracea Butter Waxcap
Hygrocybe chlorophana Golden Waxcap
Hygrocybe reidii Honey Waxcap
Hygrocybe pratensis Meadow Waxcap
Hygrocybe glutinipes Glutinous Waxcap
Hygrocybe helobia Garlic Waxcap
Hygrocybe insipida Spangle Waxcap
Hygrocybe psittacina Parrot Waxcap
Hygrocybe irrigata Slimy Waxcap

A pretty good haul when you consider that on our first two annual Waxcap Wanders we only got 9 each time during the whole outing, and thought this was impressive, as indeed it was since 9 on one visit makes a site of "Regional Importance".

What makes today's total even more remarkable is that 3 very common species, Scarlet, Snowy and Heath Waxcaps, were not present.

It was only the second time I'd seen H glutinipes and H irrigata in Argyll.  The previous glutinipes was in Duror Cemetery on last year's Waxcap Wander, and the previous irrigata was on Lismore on our Aug 2013 midweek walk.


Another grassland fungus in the churchyard was the Powdery Earthcap, Cystoderma amianthinum.  Jan's photos show the granular structure of the cap surface which is very unusual among mushrooms and takes you at once to the Cystoderma group.

The slime mould Mucilago crustacea is common at the moment in grassy areas that are not too acidic.  Here the plasmodium has turned yellow, a sign that it is ready to start producing spores, and from its beginnings deep down in the grass it has climbed the cemetery wall so that the spores will disperse further when released.


The harvestman Mitopus morio, its legs approximating to the veins on the leaf, and a study of feeding holes in the same Bramble bush by Jan.  The harvestman is perhaps lying in wait for whatever made them.

The Monarch of the Glen! - Jan's photo of Xylaria hypoxylon, the Candlesnuff Fungus.

Another Xylaria species, X longipes, Dead Moll's Fingers.  Photo by Jan.  Similar to Dead Men's Fingers (X polymorpha) but more slender and usually found on fallen Sycamore branches, as was the case here.


The fallen branch also sported the Scarlet Caterpillar Club (Cordyceps militaris). We knew this would be attached to a dead caterpillar so we dug it out to have a look...

Here is the Caterpillar club attached to its dead caterpillar, which I think might be that of the Emperor Moth.

Meanwhile Rob was scraping around in the same crumbling branch and came up with this little beetle, Scaphidium quadrimaculatum, described as “a very rare and localised species in Scotland” in the April 2013 Scottish Invertebrate News  It feeds on fungi in decaying branches so it won't have gone hungry in this one.

On our way back along the cycle track, Jan spotted this mushroom in the grass verge.  With a large volva at the base I thought it might be an Amanita but when I got it home the gills turned pink and I knew it was a Volvariella.  The slimy cap proved it to be V gloiocephala, the Stubble Rosegill, and the spores confirmed this.


A big thankyou to everyone who took part.  Sorry for all the things I've left out.  Will add more id's, photos and info when time allows.

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All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer except where stated.  Some photos on this page are © Jan Hamilton or Catherine MacLeod.