25 November 2014
Sustrans Cycle Track, Lettershuna to Lurignish
It was a bit chilly for taking photos but we managed a few. One objective of the walk was to see if we could add to the 355 plant species recorded along the cycle track so far. We did this almost as soon as we set off (though we didn't realise it at the time) with Winter Heliotrope which formed large patches on the trackside banks in the section between the layby and where the track crosses the road. This was cycle track plant no. 356.
Donald Hutchison, who first spotted the Heliotrope, also
pointed out some withered Yellow Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) which he'd
noticed in flower earlier in the season.
Cynthia spotted these very early Primrose flowers. I'm unable to photograph primroses without making either the flowers white or everything else almost black, and even this poor effort is the result of much colour manipulation in Gimp.
Jan found this very glutinous waxcap on the unusual
habitat of a moss-covered rocky bank. It turned out to be the
Parrot Waxcap, though with no hint of green. Later on we found the
Cedarwood Waxcap on coastal turf. But with December on the
horizon, fungi are rapidly disappearing and our attention will have to
turn to lichens...
Cladonia chlorophaea s.l. on soil and the familiar
Lobaria pulmonaria on one of the old willows which are frequent along
the route of the track (particularly where it follows the old railway)
and have a rich lichen flora.
I wonder if this Robin was feeling as cold as we were.
With hands warmed by her thermos, Sallie took this nice
pic of a Rough Periwinkle that shared our lunch spot. The
caterpillar on the Sea Mayweed flower probably can't be
identified with certainty. My best guess is Black Rustic.
I was pleased to find colonies of Giant Willow Aphids on a couple of Grey Willows by the shore. They are much more abundant than usual this year and I've made them our December Species of the Month in the hope of putting some dots on the Argyll map while we have the chance. The Species of the Month page has links to some very interesting reads about this mysterious creature, and has much better photos than these. The aphids form dark patches on the underside of willow branches, so at the best of times they're going to be dark items against a dark background photographed in shade, and a dull day like this makes it even worse.
The first Willow Jelly Button of the year was found on
the same willow as the first lot of aphids.
An unknown mushroom found in shore turf.
Here is a list of the fungi identified from the walk, in order of appearance.
There were also some interesting Stereum sp. (possibly more than one species) on Rhododendron which I intend to go back and look at some time.