Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tuesday 20th.January 2009

Volunteering was cancelled as the Warden had to be elsewhere today . I set off this morning over the Common making for Keston Ponds . Very little to record en route , and when I got to the Ponds , the road between the middle and lower pond was being resurfaced . Any wildlife was found as far distant as possible from the commotion going on . The Ponds are now completely free of ice , but now littered around the shallows are all the branches , trunks , bits of post and rail fencing , in fact anything that could be thrown onto the ice , was , and what didn't sink on thawing , is floating there . A bit like the Kent beaches will look like if the tide brings in all that timber from the Russian ship . Anyway , many of the pre-freeze residents have returned including the Ringed Teal and four pairs of Mandarin . Also making up the numbers , 3 Canada Geese , 8 Moorhen , 6 Coot , 19 Mallard type , the white fronted brown duck , the Aylesbury type duck , the 2 Muschovy type ducks and 3 Black Headed Gulls .
As things are so quiet , I'm taking the oportunity to expand on a comment from John/Go Wild in Kent , following my last post , regarding fungi .
I mentioned that I had looked for a fungi that might have been fruiting , and John hadn't realised that fruiting was occurring at this time of year .
Although Autumn is considered 'fungi time' , with over 3,000 species in Great Britain , there are always some species fruiting or sporulating , at any given time .
Breifly , from an amateur enthusiast , what we see as fungi/mushrooms/toadstools , is only the fruiting body of the organism , which produces the spores , which then drop or shoot out of the fruit , to carry on the species .Given the right conditions , and the organism is at a sexual stage of it's development , the fruits are formed .The fungi organism lacks chlorophyll , and therefor has to feed off other materials , live or dead trees , roots or buried rotten wood etc.
The fungus organism is a mass of fine hairs , called hyphae . These develop into a network, called the mycelium , within the host material . Much of this mycelium cannot be seen without a microscope , but more robust material , like that which enables Honey Fungus or Boot-lace Fungus-Armillaria mellea to spread , can be found under the bark of infected trees .

The following are a few examples of fungi fruits , found at this time of year . The shots were taken over the past few years .
Sarcoscypha coccinea-Scarlet Elf Cup , taken at High Elms last year ( Early Winter/Early Spring)This was the one I was looking for the other day .
Xylaria hypoxylon-Stags Horn or Candle-snuff Fungus ( All year round ).
Flammulina velutipes-Velvet Shank ( Late Autumn-Spring ) .
Piptosporus betulinus-Birch Polypore or Razor-strop Fungus ( All year round ).
Crucibulum laeve-Common Birds Nest ( Autumn / Early Spring )
Common is in the name , but believe me it isn't . The twig the fungi is on is thinner than a little finger .
Daldinia concentrica-King Alfred's Cakes or Cramp Balls ( All Year ) .
Daedaleopsis confragosa-Blushing Bracket ( All Year ) .
Many of the 'bracket' fungi can be found all year round .
I do hope I haven't been 'telling too many Grannies or Grandads how to suck eggs' .
Last comment , amazing how the feeders have been less busy since the cold snap finished .


Ken said...

Hi Greenie.
First of all I agree with you about the lack of activity on the garden feeders. My birds certainly aren't queuing up with their trays for food like they were.
i like your shots of the different Fungi.It's suprising how many people don't notice them in the countryside, and finally you have quite a cosmopolitan choice of birds where you are.

Warren Baker said...

A very interesting post today greenie, I see lots of fungi, but I just can't remember the names.

My feeders are busy still, maybe just a few less Greenfinch

Steve said...

Thanks for the post Fred. Really interesting....