Archive for the ‘TDFC Affairs’ Category

Embo Beach Walk – 20/09/2014

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Saturday 20th September was dull and showery inland but in the east nearer the sea clouds and showers were well separated and the sun shone strongly as the afternoon progressed. Embo Beach looked beautiful in the sun and with a warmish, northerly breeze.

Field Club members began observing before arriving at Embo. a Red Kite was seen at Clashmore, and Truffle mushrooms were brought by David and Susan from Fearn.

If the identification of the Truffles is confirmed (Hymenogaster niveus) this is likely to be their northernmost record.

Also, walking down toward the beach a leaf beetle was spotted on a mint plant by Jimmy. Again, confirmation of the insect (Chrysolina polita & 2 & 3) would be its northernmost record.

Other highlights: jellyfish (Lion’s Mane (Cyanea capillata) & 2 and Octopus), feeding Gannets (mature & immature), Porpoise breeching quite near the shore (following a food fish shoal?), Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle or Carriage Coach Beetle (Ocypus olens), a fresh water beetle, one dead seal, etc.

Here are some photos:

Truffles #1 found by Sue and David, by Chairman DavidClick image to view

Truffles #2 found by Susan and David, by Chairman David

Truffles #3 found by Susan and David, by Chairman David

Leaf beetle from mint plant, by Russell

Leaf beetle from mint plant, by Russell

Octopus jellyfish, by David

Octopus jellyfish, by David

Octopus jellyfish, by David

Octopus jellyfish, by David

Mushroom with slug / worm eggs?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

In a good year for mushrooms Chanterelles were a target for the menu on Wednesday, 27th August 2014.  After years of finding mushrooms this example turned up – not before seen by us here nor anywhere.

The black eggs are …… ?  There may be an answer at iSpot.

Chantarelle with Slug Eggs?  Or Worm Eggs?Click image to view



EDIT 30/08/2014: There are responses which indicate the black blob objects on the mushroom are a slime mold; iSpot likely belonging to the group Myxomycetes or plasmodial slime molds, possibly Leocarpus fragilis (1), (2), and elsewhere, astonishingly similar to Leocarpus: Trichia decipiens.

In 2012 I asked about ‘insect eggs’ in tree bark. Maybe that was a similar slime mold!

Keep checking this post to see if an answer emerges.

Leucistic Siskin

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Seen on several days by Russell, at Cartomi, Edderton; a Leucistic Siskin. Continue reading “Leucistic Siskin” »

Badger work – bee nests opened

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
We were out down our lane on Saturday and we saw 3 holes dug in the banks of the lane.

I think that they were by Badgers, we get them about this time every year. Last year 1 was in the garden.

One of the holes pictured was for Bumblebee nests.

The other was for a wasps nest, not so dug out this one as you can see from the photo

I wonder if the wasps were too much for the badger. There was not much left of the bumblebee nests just a few bumblebees in the holes.

RussellBadgerdugholes1344Click image to viewBadgerdugholes1344

2014, July, Noctilucent Clouds

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014, and other observers, predicted that Noctilucent Clouds may be visible in early July 2014. From Ardgay the evening sky “just looked right/promising”.

In the night of 7th July both Phil in Ardgay and Pat in Balintore were, for an unknown reason, looking at the northern sky and saw noctilucent clouds at about 01:30 +/-. The view was basically to the north, in Ardgay slightly eastward.

Here are their proofs:

2014, July 7 Noctilucent Clouds by Pat RaeClick image to view

2014, July 7 Noctilucent Clouds by Phil

Simplified Geometry for observing NLC’s

Noctilucent Cloud Sighting Geometry has this to say about Noctilucent Clouds:

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. Seeded by “meteor smoke,” they form at the edge of space 83 km above Earth’s surface. When sunlight hits the tiny ice crystals that make up these clouds, they glow electric blue.

In the northern hemisphere, July is the best month to see them. NLCs appear during summer because that is when water molecules are wafted up from the lower atmosphere to mix with the meteor smoke. That is also, ironically, when the upper atmosphere is coldest, allowing the ice crystals of NLCs to form.

The natural habitat of noctilucent clouds is the Arctic Circle. In recent years, however, they have spread to lower latitudes with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. This will likely happen in 2014 as well. Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see blue-white tendrils zig-zagging across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

It seems our ’sunset / sunrise’ lasts all night as far as seeing phenomena like noctilucent clouds.  It just remains for you be awake, there to be few obscuring clouds, and tiny ice crystals at just the right position between you and the sun.

Creag Meagaidh Field Trip

Monday, May 19th, 2014

From the field trip on 17th May, 2014 to Crag Meagaidh HERE is the bird list compiled by Russell.

And, some photos from Russell of the TDFC group at Creag Meagaidh:

DSCF0363cClick image to view






Moonwort, Botrychium lunaria

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Moonwort, Botrychium lunaria, is presently abundant on Nigg dunes, as seen by David.

If you haven’t seen Moonwort (Botrychium lunaria) the small grassland fern, it is present in profusion at Nigg dunes at the moment (NH 802 689).
It is easiest to find along the edges of the path in the slightly loner grass areas.
Single Moonwort among grasses - by David #1Click image to view

2014 Aspen Catkins

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

It is not since 2010 that breeding Aspen has been seen locally – SEE HERE.  On April 14, 2014 a single Aspen was seen near Ardgay with a good display of male catkins.

2014 Aspen Male Flowers, ArdgayClick image to view

There are many Aspen stems in the area but none other than this one show any sign of catkin flowers.  It may be time to start noting whether any other Aspen will flower this year.

April 19; about 200m away from the Aspen stem above another showed signs of catkins (photo below).  These are female flowers and are so far restricted to only a few upper branches.

19 April 2014, Aspen with female catkinsClick image to view

19 April 2014, Aspen with female catkins19 April 2014, Aspen with female catkins, Ardgay

Russell has seen female Aspen flowers in Edderton, see below:

2014 Female Aspen Flowers at Edderton DSCF0095cClick image to view

2014 Female Aspen Flowers at Edderton, by Russell

Contact us if you see any flowering Aspen; take photos and note the date and location/grid reference.

Field Trip to Raven’s Rock

Monday, April 14th, 2014
11 members of TDFC attended a rather wet field trip to trip to Raven’s Rock gorge at Altass on Sunday 13th April.
View into Gorge
As we descended into the gorge we came on a group of mature beech trees and as always had a look for Beechmast Candlesnuff Fungus (Xylaria carpophila) which we found despite the heavy rain.
Russell and Heather also found beech mast shells with another micro cup fungus which is probably the strangely named Snowy Disco (Lachnum virgineum).  We are getting this one checked by a mycologist.
Snowy Disco  (Lachnum virgineum)
As David had promised we then met a bear, the wonderful carved brown bear in a glade by the river.  Heather and David led the group in singing “One day I went in to the woods, and away up there I met a bear”!
Wet TDFC group & bear
We continued along the moss and fern covered gorge, the burn quite full and fast flowing.
Gorge with fast flowing burn
Eventually climbing up past the two view points with beautifully carved seats (too wet to sit on!).
TDFC Group at the Bench

2014, 22nd February Field Trip to Kiltearn / Balconie

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

17 members & friends of TDFC met at Kiltearn Church car-park for a coastal filed trip on the last Saturday in February.

Firstly we bird-watched along the shore to Balconie Point.

We then cut around the lagoons and reed beds to the riparian woods along the Allt Graad.  Here we changed our focus to the bugs and fungi in the riverbank vegetation.

Our return route took us over the footbridge near the church where a dipper displayed along the bank while we were taking a group photo.

TDFC groupClick image to view

22nd February 2014   Observation List From

Kiltearn and Balconie Point (NH6165 & NH6265)


Xylaria carpophila Beechmast Candlesnuff Fungus         NH 6247 6571 & NH 6231 6577

Ganoderma sp.                         Polyporous bracket fungus               NH 625 657


Zonitoides excavatus Land snail                                      NH 621 659

Discus rotundatus Land snail                                      NH 621 659

Lehmannia marginata Slug                                               NH 621 659

Deroceras reticulatum Netted slug                                     NH 621 659 & NH 625 657

Arion distinctus Black slug                                      NH 621 659


Oniscus asellus Common shiny woodlouse                 NH 62 65

Philoscia muscorum Common striped woodlouse              NH 621 659

Birds No.

Anser brachyrhynchus Pink-footed Goose                  √

Anser anser Greylag Goose                         √

Anas penelope Wigeon                                    √

Anas crecca Teal                                         √

Anas platyrhynchos Mallard                                   √

Bucephala clangula Goldeneye                                6

Mergus serrator Red-breasted Merganser       1

Phalacrocorax carbo Cormorant                              √

Ardea cinerea Grey Heron                             1

Haematopus ostralegus Oystercatcher                         √

Numenius arquata Curlew                                    √

Tringa totanus Redshank                                √

Larus canus Common Gull                          √

Larus argentatus Herring Gull                           √

Larus marinus Great Black-backed Gull        √

Corvus corone Carrion Crow                         √

Sturnus vulgaris Starling                                  √

Cinclus cinclus Dipper                                    1

Erithacus rubecula Robin                                      √

Passer domesticus House Sparrow                       √

Carduelis chloris Greenfinch                              √

Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch                                √


David McAllister, Heather McAllister, David O’Brien, Russell Wood

Bracket Fungus
Fungus Hunting
Beechmast candlesnuff fungus in situ.
Beechmast candlesnuff fungus
Red-breasted Merganser
Kiltearn bridge
Common striped woodlouse (Philoscia muscorum)

2014 Frogspawn Sightings

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Records of early frogspawn.

As always – for readers who live in the Tain, Ross-shire area -  we are interested in frog spawning dates.  If the weather warms up even slightly we could have spawn in the next week.  Please check you local pond, and report to TDFC here on the website or by e-mailing

With this winter season never getting very cold and the warmer weather approaching looking in your usual frog spawn pools should start soon.  If you see frog spawn please let us know here by adding a comment below or use our facebook page to tell us when and where in the Tain area, and in the district, newly laid frog spawn has been found.

FrogspawnClick image to view

FrogClick image to view

Please be as specific as possible about the site where you have found new frogspawn this year.  If there are relevant comments or observations please include those – for instance, my usual pool has overgrown so as to be virtually dry.

Colour-ringed Shags – Lecture

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

We had an extremely interesting and informative talk by Jane Reid on Tuesday, 14 January, 2014.

Jane asked that members look out for colour ringed shags and record colour and letters from rings if possible. The rings can be read with a telescope. Details in the attached photo.

Shag_ringsClick image to view

Beechmast Candlesnuff fungus

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

We found the Beechmast Candlesnuff fungus (Xylaria carpophila) this morning at Calrossie. Heather found it below the leaf litter within 2 minutes of leaving the car and about 20 secs after starting to search! Photo attached.

Those who weren’t at Tuesday’s meeting can find info about this fungus on the HBRG website news page (

Beechmast_Candlesnuff _Xylaria_carpophilaClick image to view

Beechmast_Candlesnuff _Xylaria_carpophila#2Click image to view

2014 New Year Walk, on a bracing beach

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Thursday 2nd January, 2014

2014 New Year Walk TDFC GroupClick image to view

2014 New Year Bracing  Beach Walk
2014 New Year Walk Lagoon Behind Front Dune
2014 New Year Walk Cake Stop
2014 New Year Pat's Cake

Spidering Field Trip

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

In a change to the objective for the next field trip please join other TDFC members,
the Highland Council Ranger Service,
and the Highland Spider Group

in Rosemarkie to look for Cave Spiders.

Meet on Saturday 19th October, 2013
at Rosemarkie Beach car park NH 7380 5771, at 10 am till 3pm Continue reading “Spidering Field Trip” »