Saturday, 31 December 2016

And the 4500th falls!

Just a quick blast of a blog tonight. As of this morning my British PSL stood at precisely 4497 identified species. An awkward number, I was keen to push it up to a significant figure by the end of 2016. Would I manage it? Last chance today, I had simply to go for it! 

So off into Uig Woods I trotted in search of 'new stuff'. An uncomplicated plan, they usually work best for me. I concentrated on scanning the tree trunks for obvious looking lichens (and studiously ignored those bastard hard bryophytes that are also everywhere up here. I just find them so damned difficult to ID). Anyway, it rained a bit, it stopped for a bit, it rained some more. I didn't care, I was on a mission. 

I finally took a closer look at a common lichen, it looked pretty distinctive. Turns out to be Lecanora chlarotera, common on smooth-barked trees and one I should have secures ages back. Here it is

Look closer, see a few black dots on the apothecia - that's a parasitic fungus, also new for me.
The black spots could be the lichenicolous fungus Vouauxiella lichenicola or one of the Stigmidiums, which seems more likely given that whole apothecia are being covered rather than just small dots.

Meanwhile, on a nearby trunk was this beauty just waiting for me to discover it 

Pannaria rubiginosa, yet another denizen of the Celtic Rainforest
Often found in company of Degelia and Pulmonaria in the humid Celtic Rainforest. Yep, can't argue with that! It seems quite range-restricted in Britain. This part of Scotland is its core territory. Nice!

I wandered down to the beach for another look at what the tide had brought in. Searching through the kelp holdfasts is always a great way of finding stuff, Wart Barnacles (Verruca stroemia) were commonly encountered, but a small, oddly squared bivalve caught my eye. I brought it back home to study under the microscope, turns out it is a thing called the Wrinkled Rock-borer (Hiatella arctica) and it is widespread around NW Scotland coasts, very often on kelp holdfasts. 

Wrinkled Rock-borer (Hiatella arctica). Not a great pic, but better than the microscope atempts!
One other thing caught my attention on the beach. There are lots of lichen-covered rocks and boulders at the top of the beach, well above the HWM. Most are capped in a plain white lichen, but one had a plain white lichen with huge great black apothecia. I took a pic, went home and researched. Turns out to be another lifer, this one is Tephromela atra and a real stunner too!

Just check out those amazing apothecia!
Cropped enlargement of the fruit bodies. I think these are just amazing!
So that finished my wee foray into the wilds of NG3963. She's been a sweet square kilometre so far, quite a range of lifers since I've moved here. Been here a month and 2 days so far and still loving it. My British PSL total now stands at 4502 species. 

Everybody, whatever you get up to in your spare time, have a great New Years and I hope 2017 is an amazing year for you. See you on the other side!!! 

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