Tuesday, 13 December 2016

I'm finally lichen it

Woke up to find it was a beautiful day outside, clear blue skies and wall to wall bright sunshine. Right, time for some more exploring and today I had Aimée's company too. But first, a quick nip down to the shop added both Collared Dove and Kestrel to the slowly increasing birdlist. 

Discovering what appears to be absent or scarce up here is really quite surprising. There are absolutely no Stock Doves here, Magpie is very slowly colonising from the mainland, Mute Swan is a barely annual visitor, Coot is a vagrant, and there is just a single record for Green Woodpecker. Mind you, on the flipside of the coin both species of eagles breed, Red Grouse and Ptarmigan breed, Golden Plover and Greenshank nest, Whinchat, Ring Ouzel, Corncrake....the list goes on. Plus there aren't any of those poxy arse Rose-ringed Parakeets up here - and I can live with that. 

On the beach were a few Oystercatchers, Redshank and about 200 gulls bathing where the river enters the sea. Mostly the usual motley crew of Herring, Common and Great Black-backed Gull. But, hiding at the back was a single 1st winter Black-headed Gull too. Haha, I've never been so glad to see a Black-head, my first sighting up here! A Common Snipe was accidentally flushed from long grass just above the beach, yet another addition to NG3963's sightings.

Wandering out across the exposed sands we failed to find anything of excitement beneath rocks or amongst the masses of Egg Wrack and Channelled Wrack. Aimée found a couple of wormcasts (seriously, the first we've seen up here!) and I found the exposed tube of a Sandmason Worm. Then Aimée brought over a bit of Egg Wrack with 'stuff growing on it'. It was a species of epiphytic hydrozoan, I couldn't name it without reference to my books and microscope, but later on I was able to name it as Dynamena pumila Sea Oak Coralline and a lifer for me.

Dynamena pumila taken down the barrel of my microscope. It's a technique I need to refine...
Moving up the beach we entered Uig Woods and headed straight into the undergrowth away from the main path. Aimée managed to flush up a grand total of four Woodcock (!) I had a good old look at the lichens on the tree trunks and figured I knew one or two from endless surfing lichen websites.

Degelia cyanoloma I reckon, a local speciality up in this part of the world.
Tree Lungwort Lobaria pulmonaria, pretty damn common up here to be fair. 
Not entirely sure, maybe a really heavily developed Degelia atlantica???
Degelia atlantica, at least I think it is anyway. 

Back on the road again I remembered the Peltigera membranacea from yesterday and managed to take a few pics. Annoyingly none of them were sharp, and this was about the best of a bad bunch.

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