The Wildlife Information Centre

Biological data for south-east and part of central Scotland

Fiddlehead of Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)
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TWIC excursion to Foulshiels Bing and Whitrigg Bing, West Lothian

15th August 2010

It was a cool misty morning when a large group of recorders converged on Foulshiels Bing (Fig. 1), and the heavy dew covered the cobwebs everywhere, making one realise how abundant spiders can be (Fig. 2). The site is an old bing, mostly planted with trees, but with open bits as well, making a mixture of marsh and meadow, and heath and woodland. Some of the woodland is now sufficiently well established that a good layer of leaf litter is beginning to build up. Notable plants on the site were Stag's-horn Clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum, and Common Wintergreen, Pyrola minor. Toadstools were common, including some fine boletes alongside the paths (Fig. 3). Although the site was quite dry, a Common Hawker Dragonfly, Aeshna juncea, was seen flying about several times, while Swallows and House Martins circled overhead.

Recorders at Foulshiels Bing (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Fig. 1. Recorders at Foulshiels Bing (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Cobwebs covered with dew at Foulshiels (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Fig. 2. Cobwebs covered with dew at Foulshiels (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

In the afternoon, by which time the weather had turned into one of the warmest days this summer, most of the recorders moved to Whitrigg Bing, just to the north of Foulshiels Bing. Again, this consisted of a variety of habitats and was rich botanically. An unusual species here was the Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera. Another exciting find was in an area of birch scrub, where a couple of families of Buff-tip Moth caterpillars, Phalera bucephala, had established themselves at the tops of the young birch trees (Fig. 4). Another successful day out!

A large boletus at Foulshiels Bing (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Fig. 3. A large boletus at Foulshiels Bing (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Caterpillars of the Buff-tip Moth, Phalera bucephala, gathered on a young birch tree at Whitrigg Bing  (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Fig. 4. Caterpillars of the Buff-tip Moth, Phalera bucephala, gathered on a young birch tree at Whitrigg Bing (copyright Adrian T. Sumner)

Adrian Sumner

TWIC is a company limited by guarantee - registered in Scotland No. SC234339. A recognised Scottish Charity SC034113. TWIC acknowledges financial support from Scottish Natural Heritage.