Saturday, 30 October 2010

Saturday 30th.October 2010

A busy week , feeling like I was still in full time work . Monday was spent taking down some trees for a local volunteer group , to improve the surroundings of the present pond , and enable enlargement and landscaping .
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent up on the Greensand Ridge , with very little of interest found whilst working . Back in the yard , one of the other Wardens had brought in a large specimen of Hoof Fungus-Fomes fomentarius , which was on a large Beech that had to come down due to decay , making it dangerous to the public . His book gives it the common name Elephant's Foot , and it dwarfed the 35mm. film canister placed for size comparison .
Thursday was spent hedgelaying with the Surrey Group , unusually in the week , at a school near Cheam .
Carol had booked me on Friday to help her with some more heavy work in the garden . Two trips to the tip with branches too big to go through the shredder , did give the opportunity to have a quick look in at South Norwood Country Park , but here too , things were very quiet .
Half a dozen Shoveller on the lake , were the only out of the ordinary sighting , and the only excitement was when the local Carrion Crows decided en mass , to escort a Grey Heron to the other side of the Parish boundary .
This morning , I headed up on West Wickham Common in brilliant sunshine , but still very wet underfoot , from last night's rain . Still a good amount of fungi around , with White Helvella well outnumbering it's Black relation . Still very few Boletes around , and those that were had been eaten or damaged . Some interesting ones found were :

Mycena vitilis , growing out of small fallen Beech twig ,Oyster Mushroom-Pleurotus ostreatus , on a fallen Silver Birch ,and every now and again , Macrotyphula fistulosa , a very simple elongated spindle . Several noisy Jays and a good sized mixed Tit flock , which contained at least one Goldcrest passed through the dense stands of Holly . The most unusual sighting though , was what I first thought was a moth fluttering about some Bracken , till it settled , when I could see it was a very late Speckled Wood . Surprisingly , given the recent overnight frosts , I also saw a couple of Hoverflies . No sooner had I photographed the Speckled Wood , things went very dark overhead , and as I made my way back to the car , I got a good soaking . After lunch , with blue skies again , I went for a walk in the local wood , which is basically a local dog's toilet . It is mainly Sweet Chestnut which is coppiced in areas at varying times . I find very little fungi around Sweet Chestnut so headed for a small stand of Larch in the middle , an area where the Sparrowhawk often sites it's nest . Even here the fungi was hard to find , but I found a few of interest :Yellow-Cracking Bolete-Leccinum crocipodium ,deep in the leaf litter , Grey Coral Fungus-Clavulina cinerea ,and with more showing every day , the older Stag's Horn/Candle-Snuff Fungus-Xylaria hypoxylon , is really living up to it's first common name . Once again , the weather closed in , and heading home , I got soaked for a second time .


ShySongbird said...

I was getting a bit worried about you Greenie and wondered if Carol still had you locked in the doghouse!! I see she has been keeping you busy though :)

That Elephant's Foot fungi is very impressive and most appropriately named.

Nice to see the Shoveller and amazingly, the Speckled Wood!

Warren Baker said...

Shame the public has to take presidence over the benifits to the wildlife of that dying beech tree Greenie.

Like Songbird I too thought Carol had taken away your liberty after cruely hoaxy her :-)

Phil said...

Nice Speckled Wood Greenie. I too was getting worried about you. After your recent misdemeanour I wondered if you may have been grounded or worse. Anyway welcome back. How long would that Elephant's foot take to reach that size?

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Welcome back. That is some fungi the Elephants Foot. Similar to what Phil is wondering, I was going to ask you, how old do you think it is?
Nice to see one of the last butteflies hanging in there
Have a good weekend.

Greenie said...

Phil / Ken ,
I would say that the specimen in the shot could well be 25 years + .
If you are near Knole Park again , park at the small gate on the lane off River Hill (TQ540524) and as you walk down the path towards the Chestnut and Broad Walks , there are several of these large fungi on the Beech trees that line the route , before you reach their junction .

Kingsdowner said...

That hoof is an fungus, Fred.
My sympathies for your soakings, but really it's not like being at work!

Kingsdowner said...

..... OK, I know you know it's a fungus.
I meant to write "an impressive fungus" but I weas too exhausted after a long week at work :-)

Wonderwings Wanderings said...

Hi Greenie
I was wondering, would I be right in thinking that the banding on the Hoof fungi would be similar to the growth rings of a tree?
Amazing to see a Speckled Wood in such good condition so late in the year.

Greenie said...

Keith ,
Yes you are right re. the rings showing growth .
I don't think that the age can be as certain as with tree rings , but the bottom rings are the oldest , progressively getting older further up .
Young specimens look much more like a horse's hoof .
I too was very surprised at the SW's condition .