Forest fungi

Out for a walk yesterday afternoon in the woods and came across lots of lovely growths of fungi. Since I am no mycologist, I shall not attempt to identify them incorrectly, but here are some pictures of the more photogenic groups.

Some of the images taken in poorer light under trees were taken using the night exposure mode on my Nikon D80 with a slow flash. This seems to have worked reasonably well, although pushing the sensor speed has resulted in a slightly soft, grainy feel to some images.

Sundews in the hills

We’ve had three weeks and possibly more without any significant rain here in Argyll. There are a number of obvious consequences, including the fact that I should be out watering the garden, but if I do, I’ll only be eaten alive by the McNasties, which are out in force at the moment. Keeps the swallows in business, mind you, so that’s no bad thing.

Another consequence is that the water levels in the lochs and rivers are falling dramatically. Loch Awe has fallen at least a foot and a beach is beginning to appear around its shore. The crannogs are emerging above the water line again, many having been lost when the level of the loch was increased as part of the Cruachan hydroelectric scheme way back in the fifties.

I’ve been back in my square-bagging habits today, and wrestling with blood sugar levels as a result. The GP made some suggestions when I saw him yesterday about reducing the basal insulin to minimise the risk of hypos when out in the hills, but absolutely no change today; hypo within an hour of starting walking and the usual all hell’s delight in getting sugars back up to a sensible reading. Lots of data from the meter, so I’ll email the GP with that lot and get his comments.

My walk today was up into the hills north of Loch Caolisport – wild, remote country characterised by glaciated rocks, bogs, moor and lochs. Lots of signs of deer, but didn’t see any until I was walking out along the track when I startled the life out of one that looked up and saw me only 30 feet from it. The bracken is well out of the ground now and will soon become a serious obstacle. Lots of small flowers in the grass and the bogs, particularly the small, delicate purple nodding heads of the butterwort. Best snap of the day has to be a sundew, included below for your delectation and delight.

An early morning walk

Woke up this morning at about six o’clock and saw that it was a beautiful day with the sun beginning to climb above the hills. I decided to take my camera for a walk down beside the river – I haven’t been down there for ages – and see what I could see. Some of the results are below.

Signs of spring

Spring flowers are at last starting to make their presence known in this part of the country, with snowdrops being the most prominent. This view was taken at the head of Loch Craignish beside the road to Ardfern – BondBloke’s holiday territory.

I went down Loch Fyne a little way to bash a few squares and this was the pick of the crop:

Back up the road and found these early coltsfoot flowers beside the loch but dangerously close to a place were fishermen park their vans – let’s hope they survive!

And, just to round off this quick photo tour, here’s a nice view of the loch itself:

Battalions of bluebells

This is a good year for bluebells, everyone is saying so at the moment. They were coming out before I went to Ireland a week ago, but I noticed they were everywhere on my drive back into Argyll from the airport. Everywhere the sunlight can get onto the banks and braes and into the woods, bluebells are muscling their way into view. There are some particularly spectacular banks beside the road on the way into work which are heaving with their blooms at the moment, even better, the banks are below the road and the eye can peer laterally through several metres of the purple flowers. Even the bank opposite The Chookery is covered with bluebells, and, to distinguish itself from every other bank or brae in the county, it has a seasoning of white bluebells as well.
I’m a bit short of decent bluebell toggies at the moment, but here’s one from my trip to the Isle of Luing a couple of weeks ago:

Bluebells on Luing