Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Scarlet Elf Cap - Sarcosypha coccinea

David Clugston, a regular birdwatching visitor to Islay, had his eye caught last week by this bright red fungi growing in Bridgend Woods. You can see why he noticed it and why the vernacular name has arisen.
After seeing it, David called at my house and we identified it from a book and discovered it was probably a first for Islay. David went back and took some photographs of which I am posting two here. I have sent them off for a more expert identification but find it difficult to believe it is not this species as there is nothing else this shape and colour!
I've also done some further research and this is only the second record for the whole of the Hebrides (there is an old, and undated, record from Mull) and about the tenth locality in the whole of Scotland, with sites in Galloway, Ayr, Angus, Inverness and Caithness. There are a scattering of records in northern Ireland (the nearest to here), while it is fairly well spread in England though hardly at all in Wales. It is reported to be getting scarce.
Malcolm

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