Saturday, 20 September 2014

A woodpecker and lots of fungus

It's been really warm and humid recently, with rain over the last few days. That's perfect weather for fungus to grow, so Bug Mad Girl and I decided to go and see what we could find. We were trying to find a nature reserve that we haven't been to before, but got a bit lost and ended up in Blackwood. Aptly named, it was dark, damp and a bit foggy.

As soon as we got there, we could hear a Woodpecker nearby. BMG used her eagle eyes and spotted it through the leaves, tapping away at a tree trunk. She managed to get a photo of it, even though it was well hidden and high up in a tree. Turns out it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker and the patch of red on the back of it's head means it was a male.

We headed off the path into the trees and saw lots of fungus. There were several large patches of Sulphur Tuft.

Sulphur Tuft

#100DaysOfNature Day 60 - Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft
We found all sorts of different fungus in the woods, not all of which I know the name of ...

Artist's Fungus - Hard, dark brown, knobbly upper surface and white underneath.
Gets its name from the fact that the white surface can be drawn on.

Very delicate little white fungus that looked almost like the gills were on
the top surface

#100DaysOfNature Day 59
Small orange fungus with a very delicate orange stem

Big, shiny dark red/brown fungus - reminded me of Beefsteak Fungus, but I don't
think it was, as that's a bracket fungus and this was a round fungus on a stalk

Large bracket fungus - look quite old and well nibbled

The same bracket fungus - it had rings of different yellows and browns

This one was very strange - it looked like it was growing upside down on
a protruding branch

Another angle of the same fungus as above

Tiny white Porcelain Fungus growing on a dead branch
There were lots of slugs around, because it was so wet. Stripy Tree Slugs were climbing up the trees and we saw several huge black slugs and a great bit grey slug that was hunched up in a ball.

Tree Slug
Huge grey slug
On the way home we drove past Aston Clinton Ragpits (a BBOWT nature reserve). During June, they get about 30,000 orchids flowering on a small chalk grassland site, so I was keen to find where it was (ready for next year). We had a quick walk around and saw the sheep that are grazing the site. We also saw lots of Black Bryony berries. We'll be back in June to see the orchids!

Black Bryony berries

Black Bryony berries

Sheep grazing the site - they are used to keep the grassland short so the
orchids can grow in the spring

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