Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Bye-bye waxwings hello February reds

Waxwings remained good value until towards the end of the month but, as the local supply of cotoneaster berries became depleted, the group of 40-50 disappeared, probably shifting over to eating juniper berries.  The birds local to the house were certainly feeding in the juniper bushes by the pony field in between raiding local cotoneaster bushes and once they had more or less disappeared there 
Fun with the waxwings
were reports of birds in juniper bushes as far away as Tulloch.  In the end the local birds didn’t seen too bothered about us moving around and on one occasion, as I was clearing snow for Rita at the end of our road, 40-odd birds were perched in the rowan tree above me before descending en masse to quickly swallow many cotoneaster berries before returning a few seconds later to land again above my head!  The waxwings were fairly easy to see and folk were stopping their cars on the road to view the birds when perched in the tree tops, but not so the hawfinches.  I’ve not managed to bump into them again but chalet guests Peta and Richard found three birds in the conifers to the Abernethy end of the Dell Road and a recent reported sighting suggest they are still in that area.  There are even reports of a singing bird in the Grantown area.  During February, the temperature ranged from -9.80
Hungry long-tailed tits
Even hungrier goldcrest
to +100C and on the warmer days lots of birds locally started to sing.  Whether it is down to the relatively mild and almost snowless winter I’m not sure but the number of wrens singing close to the house seems much higher than normal and the groups of long-tailed tits coming into the garden for food also seems higher than usual.  An unusual sighting though was a tiny goldcrest down on the ground probably picking up bits of food scattered around by other feeding birds.  This is something I can’t remember seeing before feeding on the ground in the garden, though there is a chance that the 
Iceland gull
bird wasn’t well and was desperate for any kind of food.  Our chalet guests also reported seeing a glaucous gull in the fields near to Aviemore as they arrived and also told me that they had heard about Iceland gulls visiting the rubbish dump in Aviemore.  Popping in to the dump in passing the next day I saw at least two birds though there were reports of up to four. 

Work carried on linked to the future of local aspen stands through to mid-month when the next meeting of the discussion group took place.  Mapping out current fence lines and wandering into other parts of the aspen and hazel stands in the Tulloch area makes me realise even more the immense value of parts of these woods, particularly where there are well established older specimens of both tree species.  Whilst not finding anything new in the rarer lichen line I continued to find more 
One of the ancient hazels
populations showing that it’s not just the odd tree supporting them.  At some stage a map will need to be produced showing just what is where lichen-wise, which tree species is the host and just how often each has been recorded.  And that would just be what I was finding with my limited lichen knowledge, goodness knows what else would be added should there be a fuller survey by the lichen experts.  So far the progress to implementation of additional fencing protection measures has been delayed due to an injury to the person who needs to visit the sites to agree what might be possible with the current funding package but hopefully that will be resolved soon.

Just a year ago, a planning application for three chalets close to the nationally important Flowerfield orchid site was withdrawn but early in the month a new application was made for just a single unit on the site where a single chalet was proposed first time around.  To me this application doesn’t pose the same threat to the orchid field as the earlier one so my visit to it was just to ensure the environmental survey reports were correct and nothing had been missed, as far as my knowledge could ascertain.  I have a real problem with the way many of these surveys are produced, tree species are mapped and 
T16, second tree from left
identified but then there are negative additions like “a tree has dead branches” or “there were many bracket fungi present” giving the suggestion that despite the site being on the Ancient Woodland Inventory, these trees may need work doing to them.  There is even a box to fill giving the suggested lifespan remaining for each of the trees!  One of the problems reported for tree T16 was that it had a hollow at its base and that there were bracket fungi present.  What the surveyor hadn’t seen was that the very natural actions creating the hollow trunk and the sap-run as a by-product of the fungi was a potential site for the rarer pinhead Sclerophora lichens.  Sure enough, there they were (S. peronella), 
Some of the badger holes
goodness, how naughty of the tree to create all this symbiotic co-habitation in its old age!  The survey also suggested that evidence had been found that badgers were present in the area but that the information supplied by HBRG wasn’t too clear about exact locations for any badger setts.  I checked my Mapmate records and of course the HBRG information was mine, complete with accurate grid references.  So, just to ensure they were still present, I re-visited the grid reference location to find that there were around 30 holes (not all in use) spread out over about 50m and were located about 200m from the proposed chalet site.  I don’t think this is a problem, the badgers will just go about 
The pinhead lichen Sclerophora peronella
their business and might even visit the chalet to see if there are any tasty tit-bits.  Why therefore not be honest with what is where and let the planners decide if the location is okay.  Now the planners have three letters telling them about the badgers (and one about the lichen) making it look like they were trying to hide or ignore their presence.  I do, at times, wonder if these surveys are undertaken totally independently of the developer/applicant.

The same little pinhead lichen was found to also be possibly under threat when I managed to make my repeat visit to the River Dulnain shingle site.  The track from the road to the river winds its way through a nice bit of birch woodland, the track doubling up as one of the Sustrans cycle routes (No. 
7).  I am always worried when I see bright paint spots on trees and this was the case on this visit when one of the two most ancient birches by the track was displaying a recently applied orange spot!  A bit of a lean over the track, and obvious bit of dampness on one side (home to the pinhead) but, overall, the tree looked fairly healthy so hopefully, not for the chop.  Will, from the Estate didn’t know why the tree had been marked so possibly a health and safety person from the Sustrans organisation, but Will is checking to see what is planned.  It is quite sad to see a habitat like the birch 
My first female northern February red stonefly top and another
showing the wing banding more clearly, x3 bands and dark tip to wings
tree, which has taken probably a hundred years to grow to its current size possibly being considered for removal.  Hopefully not.  This visit though had a dual reason for undertaking and it followed a message from Gus from the local conservation group about a stonefly that he was seeing by the River Spey at Boat of Garten.  Over the years I had heard about an unusual stonefly and, with little knowledge, had checked rocks along the side of the River Nethy in Abernethy Forest.  Gus’ message though made the possibility of seeing one fairly straightforward, “they are on the fence-posts by the River Spey at Boat of Garten”.  The stonefly is the northern February red (Brachyptera putata), a priority species in the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan, so the following afternoon I was down by the Spey staring at fence posts!  Thankfully, I had taken a picture of the fly with me from the Buglife 
One of the other regular stoneflies Protonemura meyeri
paper, because there was more than one stonefly present, but the size, and the markings of the one I was looking for made identification of the target species fairly straightforward once I’d checked a few fence posts.  This stonefly is an endemic freshwater species, found in the UK and nowhere else in the world.  Adults are active in February, and nymphs require clean, fresh-flowing water.  The adult females are about 8-9mm in total length and the males about 6mm, and reliable identification is easiest with the adults: the female has three dark bands across its wings, as well as dark wing tips, whilst the male is short-winged with two bands and unable to fly.  On this first visit to the Spey the weather was a bit damp with occasional light showers but as I visited each post I was starting to find more and more, so much so that I counted numbers and fence posts.  However, I was only just getting to grips with the wing markings and was fairly confident that all the flies I was seeing were males and this was confirmed a little later when I found a longer fly walking along the barbed wire, again with bands across its wings, but with three distinct bands compared to the males two.  The more interesting actions though was watching the flies obviously feeding on whatever was on the posts, a 
A male northern February red stonefly, the two wing bands are just visible
greenish algae or fungus on the tops and sides of many of the posts.  Was this good news?  These fence posts were fairly new having been installed just 2-3 years ago, and, as is normal with these wood products, all would have been pressure treated to slow down decay.  A bit more work to do here to check on the chemicals used in the treatment.  Most of the flies remained fairly static on the posts apart from the jaws ‘munching’ away so I planned to return the next day with better camera and tripod.  Next day there seemed to be even more northern February reds and as I photographed the mostly males, I started to count as I went along the fence.  I also made videos of the flies feeding on the substance on the posts so that there was no doubt that food was the main reason for their visit.  On the 38 posts visited I counted 71 mainly male stoneflies with 9 on one post being the highest count.  
A gathering of male stoneflies feeding on the 'growth' on top of fence post
Over the next few days checks were carried out on the River Nethy in RSPB Abernethy Reserve (Protonemura meyeri only), the River Dulnain between the village and the Spey where a male and a female northern February red were found and the River Feshie between Feshiebridge and the Spey were a female was found, all new locations.  Craig Macadam at Buglife had done quite a bit of searching over the last couple of years but after making contact he said he would welcome any new records plus photos/samples of any other stoneflies that I might find.  Happy to help and I await the names of the other species found during all these and other river visits.

The visit to the River Feshie and Spey confluence looking for the stonefly was quite an eye-opener.  I’ve visited this area several times before looking for plants and butterflies usually across the consolidated sands and shingle to the east of the Feshie, but as I followed the fence running by the Feshie I became aware that the river, behind the flood-bank, was at a higher level than I was in the 
The 'new' River Feshie river course
Aerial view of Feshie/Spey confluence before recent addition.
The new channel runs approximately through the red Feshie arrow
field below.  A little further on the Feshie had burst through the flood-bank and was making another mini-river running across the sandy area deep enough in places to be difficult to cross.  I would assume the water would normally flow in this area at a time of spate, but this was at a time of reasonably calm and dry weather.  This rivers ‘fan’ as it meets the Spey is pretty amazing and can only be appreciated when viewed from the air.  With so much new sand (mainly) deposited it will be interesting to see how the plants and insects react over the coming seasons as they once again adapt to the forces of nature.

A few first sightings also occurred during February.  A visit to the butchers in the village had me pointing out a group of moths on the window to Mike.  At night, the ultra-violet insect zapper inside the shop continues to operate and this being close to a window acts a bit like a moth trap.  On the outside of the window were three moths attracted from the previous night, quite a big species, which, 
Pale brindled beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)
being early in the year would have to be pale brindled beauty moths which were confirmed once 
outside to check.  This was the moth way back in 1974 which got me started with a moth trap when a couple were found in the porch of our house on the Isle of Rum.  In 1975, 190 species of moth were recorded/identified with most being released unharmed from the 3961 moths trapped via the UV moth trap.  It’s amazing how these things start!  I digress.  Whilst out and about Janet kept pointing out any distilleries we passed or were close to so that we could pop in to see if the buildings and trees were covering with the sooty-looking whisky fungus Baudoinia compniacensis.  About 5 new sites 
One of the blackened distillery buildings
were added to the UK map during the month.  Aspen stands were also visited to re-check for any of the rare Orthotrichum mosses but without any finds.  These outings though do produce other finds and whilst in an aspen stand near the B9007 road some black dots of the leaves of the plant herb robert (Geranium robertianum) were worth further investigation and once home and viewed under the microscope the spores of the Coleroa robertiani fungus were found.  This fungus seems to only 
Coleroa robertiani fungus on herb robert leaves
Coleroa robertiani spores x1000 oil
grow on the leaves of the plant that over-winter.  On the 19th I also saw my first toad of the year but no frog or toad spawn so far.  The visit along the B9007 road saw quite a few roadside trees being felled ahead of the road being closed for a month so that everything could be got ready for the towers and blades for the highly controversial wind-farm on the moors near to Lochindorb to be delivered.  
1st toad of the year
Infinergy applied for planning permission for 17 turbines on these wildland moors in August 2010 and Highland Council rejected it.  They appealed and a three-week public enquiry followed and once again, in June 2013 the Scottish Government overturned Highland Councils decision.  I’m getting whiffs of those unpleasant smells again!  Ah, but there will be a reduction in the number of turbines (17 to 13) but they will stick out from the landscape by an extra 15m growing to 
No caption needed!
125 metres in height to the tips of the blades.  There will also be 18km of new 5m wide tracks, 13 x 600 tonnes of concrete per turbine base (ca. 8000 tonnes in total) pumped around about 13 x 80 tonnes of steel reinforcement (ca. 1000 tonnes in total) and another industrialised wildland site to go with the other two nearby. 

At least it’s the Spring Equinox as I type when day and night are the same length and we thankfully head off into summer.

Enjoy the read

Stewart and Janet

Northern February red stonefly
Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group
Mapmate recording database
NBN Gateway
Fungal Records Database of Britain and Ireland (FRDBI)
BSBI – Botanical Society of the British Isles
Highland Biological Recording Group (HBRG)
and how to join HBRG

Hazel catkins
Emerging winter aconite flowers

Photos © Stewart Taylor

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Having a LAFF in more ways than one!

I learned a new word this month – bioluminescence - ‘The production and emission of light by a living organism’!  I suppose I would have met it before having seen things like glow-worms (actually beetles) and glowing seas when on the Isle of Rum possibly caused by dinoflagellates ("fire plants") or, under rare conditions might be copepods (crustaceans) or a bloom of small jellyfish.  However, a phone call from a friend asked me if I knew anything about mosses or lichens that might glow in the dark following on from a query from someone in Grantown.  Intrigued, I went on the internet to see if there was anything obvious and found that there might be something, although from a species that doesn’t occur in Britain.  In the meantime, more information had been received giving a location where the mystery glows had been seen so we met up and went to check out the site.  The location 
Glowing trees! 
was the old railway line in Grantown and the trees on site were mainly birches with some aspens and willows all with good lichen populations which might be the cause of the greenish and reddish colours seen after dark.  Knowing the location we agreed to meet up again as darkness approached to see if we could pinpoint the spots on the trees where the “bioluminescence” was occurring.  The colours had been seen by the person reporting the glows at both dawn and dusk so we had a couple of options to see what was what.  Standing around on the old railway line, close to houses as it was getting dark made us feel a little uneasy, particularly as dog walkers and people were passing us before final darkness!  We didn’t have to wait long and, there above our heads were very distinct red and green colours appearing on the trees.  To get closer we made our way up the steep railway 
A closer view of one of the 'spots'
embankment but then had difficulty in pinpointing the tiny spots of light on the twigs and branches.  However, becoming a little elevated above the railway line allowed us to see over the other embankment where we could see a house was also covered in red and green spots as was much of its rhododendron bush.  Then the penny dropped and we had a little laugh – laser-lights – emanating in all directions, several of which were creating colourful spots on the trackside trees.  The query about the colourful spots had been genuine but the possibility of describing something that might be new to science faded just as quickly as the last of the daylight!  Amazingly, a few days later I had an email from another friend who lives quite close to the railway line asking if I knew of any ‘organism’ that glows in the dark!

This unusual outing though did have a real bonus.  I’d gone into Grantown mid-afternoon to visit the Old Spey Bridge area where up to 14 hawfinches had been reported several days earlier, but a circuit covering both Spey riverbanks and bridges where the food-plant bird cherry was present, failed to find anything.  With a little time still to spare before darkness I wandered down river to where the hawfinches had been seen originally and was entertained for a while with passing long-tailed tits, 
The first sighting of the hawfinch
great tits and blue tits and a pair of goldeneye on the river.  Most of the seeds on the bird cherries had gone but right at the top of the bank I spotted a bulky bird in one of the bird cherry bushes and through my binoculars I could see it was a hawfinch, still managing to find a few seeds on the bush.  There was snow on the ground and the temperature was around zero so I assumed it was just filling itself up with any food it could find before it followed the tit flocks off to roost.  It then left the cherry bush and landed in a very dense hawthorn bush where again I could see it was finding berries.  It was getting a little darker and it was difficult to keep tabs on the bird and having thought I saw it fly off to the left I thought that was it for the day.  Stopping by the fisherman’s hut to spend a penny I heard 
and the close up view
some fairly unusual high-pitched calls close by and with luck the calls lead me back to the bird which was now feeding on rowan berries.  For once, I was honoured to be watching a hawfinch low down in a tree and, despite it now being after 4pm, I thought I would risk a few photos, if only I could find the bird in the gathering gloom.  It carried on feeding for a few more minutes before once again disappearing into the denser stands of cherry trees – time to go and check out that bioluminescence!  Thankyou Mr Hawfinch.

The big effort this month though has been ongoing work with those good old aspens.  Following on from the meeting to discuss how to try and get more aspens established I managed to have meetings with the owners of two local aspens stands, both of which are important for the lichen populations they support.  At both sites, stock fences had been installed 10-15 years ago with the aim of getting regeneration established, the next generation of trees to hopefully provide homes for lichens and other dependent species.  A great idea and a project that had been very positive in its aims, but within the fences very little has happened, something I was well aware of as I had been visiting the sites to 
One of the fenced aspen plots
record species.  The big problem had been the fences kept out the sheep but not the deer and though there were lots of ‘suckers’ sitting there, constant nibbling by deer had stopped most from growing.  A lack of follow-up monitoring also failed to identify and address the problem.  The suckers, growing from the underground aspen roots, has been the way aspens at most sites locally have regenerating for probably thousands of years because the trees produce very little seed locally on a regular basis.  Hopefully, the new project being discussed would allow these sites to be re-visited and produce some funding to allow the fences to be modified to keep out the deer, but this would require some work by yours truly to map and measure the fence-lines.  So, over the last few weeks, strainer post locations have been GPS-ed, fence lines measured and maps produced for the four existing plots ready for the next meeting to discuss the possibilities.  In addition, one of the owners is also keen to allow new fences to be installed to get more aspens growing so I just hope the powers that be are just as enthusiastic and that at long last progress to establishing new trees at just two of the many aspen stands is made.

The other aspen work has been to continue to visit the trees surveyed back in 2003 to record the rare mosses (Orthotrichum obtusifolium and Orthotrichum gymnostomum) and to see the current state of the host trees and moss populations.  On the 2nd I was down near Laggan and found the single aspen and large Orthotrichum obtusifolium population still intact.  Photos of this moss were shown in the 
Collema furfuraceum lichen
last blog. The bonus on this outing was finding Collema furfuraceum a strange foliose lichen with a thin membrane-like thallus, the leafy, tree-hugging part of the lichen.  The next site to be checked, on the 8th, was over on Deeside, and here the picture wasn’t so positive.  The host tree wasn’t GPS-ed at the time of the survey so I had to rely on being able to match trees in photographs with trees on the ground, not so easy at this site because many aspens had fallen over, possibly via gales.  Eventually I found the single aspen that supported Orthotrichum obtusifolium but sadly this was one of the trees 
Original photo from 2003 showing aspen/moss tree
Repeat photo with the aspen /moss tree on ground bottom right.
So many aspens have fallen in this wood that it now looks quite open
now lying flat on the ground.  It looked like the tree had been down for 4-5 years but despite this, and the tree now being completely dead, the moss was still present.  However, this situation was only likely to continue for another couple of years at the most as the bark, in places, was starting to fall from the trunk.  On the way back to the car a tall, Phragmites type grass caught my eye growing on the verge of the busy A93 Deeside road, close to Balmoral.  It didn’t look like Phragmites so the only similar grass it could be was wood small-reed (Calamagrostis epigejos) so a photo was taken of a 
Flower-head wood small-reed
flower head along with a sample for checking once home.  It was wood small-reed, in a very unusual location and not just that but the first records for this plant in this general location was by the famous James W H Trail way back in 1875.  On the 26 July in that year James Trail found the grass near Invercauld Bridge on the same road and this site was re-found around 1995.  On 27 July 1875 Trail also found the grass “near Balmoral” and wouldn’t it be nice to think that my find, some 142 years later, was from the same location.  The 2003 moss survey only visited a small selection of aspen woods so, having now got my eye in for one of the two mosses, I made a few outings to woods not 
The fallen aspen with the rare moss
previously visited but so far without finding any new sites.  On 21st I visited one of the key sites for the mosses in a wood close to Aviemore, the only site, so far in the UK, where both mosses were found during the earlier survey.  This site though was a key location for the rarer of the two mosses Orthotrichum gymnostomum where it had been found on 9 trees, and quite quickly I found it on two aspens.  I was again using photos taken in 2003 as a guide and it soon became apparent that one of the trees was now on its side though once again, the moss was still present.  Only one of the aspens supported both mosses but with a tiny population of O. obtusifolium and from the photos I could see that this tree along with all the others were still healthy and standing so I decided not to check out all the populations on all the trees, but to head off to another group of aspens close by that I knew hadn’t 
The Orthotrichum gymnostomum moss, top dry, bottom wetted
been surveyed in 2003.  Searching each of these new trees for the smaller, rare mosses in amongst all the other moss cushions took quite a bit of time and as I was running out of daylight I arrived at one of two large, fallen aspens.  Normally, I wouldn’t have bothered checking these but recent experiences suggested I shouldn’t ignore them – a very good decision.  I knew from an earlier visit that one of the trees had a good population of a wee pinhead lichen (Sclerophora pallida) and as I approached the rot-hole where they grew I was aware that some of the mosses I was seeing were small even though they were dry and closed.  The view via the hand-lens really made my day and as my excitement grew I realised that I was looking at probably the rarer O. gymnostomum.  Both of these mosses are small and of about the same size but once you have seen them both, and read the 
Close up of the moss leaves showing rolled leaf edges
book descriptions, you can see that this moss has slightly curled-in edges to its leaves whereas the other has leaves that appears much flatter.  Because this was a recording visit I thankfully had the better camera and tripod with me and, as the sun was setting behind the surrounding trees, I managed 
to get decent photos of the dry moss with closed leaves and then a series of photos as the leaves opened after they were gently wetted using water from a nearby small stream.  I was happy with the identification of what I was seeing but once home I sent photos of to Andy who had carried out the 2003 survey.  He was also 90% confident I had the right species but to be sure I would need to squash the leaves of the tiny sample I’d brought home and look for “the microscopic ID feature 
Microscope view of leaf 'papillae' - the twin circles (x1000 oil)
distinguishing Oo from Og is the number of papillae on the leaf cells.  Oo has 1 per cell, and Og has 2-3.”  Help, this was taking me into a world I’d never visited but, following his instructions, I could see the “papillae” in the leaf cells and thankfully there were 2 – a new site for Orthotrichum gymnostomum a new species find for me.  Papillae are small fleshy projection on a plant leaf, a bit like the sensory papillae on a human tongue.

The birds have been ‘getting going’ this month due to the spells of mild weather.  There were owls calling at the start of the month and a return visit to Nairn mid-month found brent geese still present.  Meeting a local birdwatcher we found out that, at times, they could be found feeding on the cricket pitch just behind the sea-front.  Our view though came late in the afternoon when about 20 birds landed on the sea close to the harbour entrance probably flushed from the rocks they were feeding on
Nairn brent geese

The 'early' curlew
by folk walking along the beach.  After about 15 minutes they were off again heading inland possible to roost?  Just up the road at the Tulloch Y-junction 6-10 waxwings were found feeding in juniper bushes dropping down to the road occasionally to drink from a puddle.  A single curlew in the flooded field down by the Spey at Broomhill was very early and probably realised so when the weather turned quite frosty for several days freezing over the pool.  Coat tits, blue tits and robins started singing mid-month and after attending a meeting in Strathpeffer late in the month I popped into the RSPB Tollie red kite viewing centre.  I got there just in time for ‘feeding time’ where a platform in front of the building is primed with food and the kites have to battle it out with lots of 
gulls to see who can grab the most food.  A buzzard appeared which put the gulls off for a while but once it left the gulls were back in force and within minutes all the food was gone.  Sadly, I only had the wee compact camera with me and it wasn’t the best option to capture the battle between the birds.  However, a couple of kites, out of about four on this visit, perched in nearby trees and weren’t at all bothered by the comings and goings of visitors.

The second LAFF was a much more serious affair than the first and was the culmination of several drafts of an article for Field Mycology written jointly with Paul Smith, bringing together our records of fungal balls growing on various species of sedges.  Paul is the BSBI Vice County Recorder for the Western Isles and like myself, has been recording these Anthracoidea fungi over the last few years.  
Carex bigelowii and Anthracoidea bigelowii
Late in the writing process we became aware of a series of specimens/records held in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh just in time for inclusion but also, importantly, showing that records of some species were ahead of our own.  In addition, a couple of sedge/smut combinations were new to the list giving a good list of species for readers of the article, due for publication late this month, to consider going out to look for during the coming year.  A link to the article, on-line, is given below.  The LAFF title links to the Kew Lost and Found Fungi Project where a couple of the species we had found had been listed, and asking folk to keep an eye open for them.  That’s two articles for journals completed during 2016 and, to go for a hat-trick, another one was written for the Hardy Orchid Society showing photos and giving a description for the hybrid orchid found during the annual 
The hybrid orchid
Flowerfield orchid count.  The hybrid is a combination of the small white orchid (Pseudorchis albida) and the heath spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) and going by the wonderful name of x Pseudorhiza bruniana (Br├╝gger) P.F. Hunt).  By producing this write up it is again hoped that people might just remember to look a little more when in areas where the two parents are present.  Currently, the hybrid had only been found in two locations prior to the recent find being recorded from Ullinish Point on the west coast of Skye, last recorded in 1994, and Stenness on Mainland Orkney, last recorded in 1977, so any new finds would be most welcome.

Sorry for the delay a wee stonefly took up a bit of time recently but more about that next month.

All the best enjoy the read

Stewart and Janet

James William Helenus Trail (1851-1919)
James W H Trail
Field Mycology paper – scroll down to “Having a LAFF”
Hardy Orchid Society
Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group
Mapmate recording database
NBN Gateway
Fungal Records Database of Britain and Ireland (FRDBI)
BSBI – Botanical Society of the British Isles
Highland Biological Recording Group (HBRG)
and how to join HBRG

Janet's latest tweed cards
Hair ice top and the tiny holes created by a fungus from which
the ice is exuded in the bottom photo
Turnstone Nairn beach

Photos © Stewart Taylor and  © top Bioluminescence Will Boyd Wallis