Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Wednesday 17th.September 2008

Very little wildlife whilst volunteering today , apart from the incessant racket of Rose Ringed Parakeets . As we left the site , I took this shot looking back across the meadow . For all the other trees , autumn's colour change hasn't started yet , but for Horse Chestnut , it started in the summer and is on going . Apparantly the browning of the leaves can be caused by one of two things . The first is the Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner . This is the larva of the moth Cameraria ohridella . The larva mines the leaves causing brown blotches . Some leaves can have as many as 50 mines , consequently , affected trees could have tens of thousands of mines . The problem was first noticed in Northern Greece in 1985 and quickly spread across Europe . The first evidence in the UK was found in Wimbledon in 2002 . At the moment it is thought that no real damage is caused to the health of the tree , and monitoring is taking place to check on the long term effects . Confusion can occur however , as a fungal infection can cause very similar brown blotches .
As we finished our jobs at a reasonable time , I stopped off at the Greensand Ridge for another spell of tin turning . I turned 16 pairs of refugia , and found one Slow Worm and one Grass Snake . The Grass Snake was under the tin that exploded with five of them on my last visit . It was a lighter form than that usually found . It seems that the cooler nights are sending the reptiles into hibernation .

Whilst turning the tins , I came across a few fungi , including a relation of the Puffball , Lycoperdon perlatum . These are mature specimens , shown by their brown colour , as they are snow white when they first emerge . On an old log , I found some interesting small fungi , which I thought at the time could be of the Ink-cap (Coprinus) family , but I haven't been able to find them in my books . A fungi found in the meadow wasn't difficult to identify , as I had posted it a couple of weeks ago , when the caps were as large as dinner plates . Those particular ones are long gone , but a second flush has caught the fungi in an earlier stage . They are Lepiota rhacodes-Parasol Mushroom , and are already 10/15cm. high .
Birdwise , I heard Tawny Owl call several times , and the best of the rest were a pair of Bullfinches ,Green Woodpecker and several Nuthatches .
Whilst in the meadow , a plane made several passes , and am posting a couple of shots for one of our bloggers .

1 comment:

NW Nature Nut said...

Your fungi are wonderful! Such variety! We haven't had enough rain yet for them to appear here.