Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Springs not all about wild flowers and butterflies!

With spring finally here I've been busy looking for butterflies and spring flowers. So I'm still surprised that the things that stand out most from my walk around a local wood this morning were neither of those and were actually a fungus and some moss. I am very keen on both, I just thought I'd done with blogging about them for a few months, so I was delighted with what I found!

The fungus was a Dryad's Saddle, a large bracket fungus the size of dinner plates. It was the only fungus I saw on my walk and was big and beautiful. Apparently it gets it's name from the tree nymphs of Greek mythology, called Dryads, that rode around on it. Unfortunately I didn't see any tree nymphs today though!

The top was chestnut brown and scaly. It's also sometimes called Pheasant's Back fungus because the pattern on the top resembles a Pheasant's feathers. Underneath was white and full of pores, making it look spongy.

It was lovely surprise to see it and now I'm looking forward to Autumn and snuffling through the woods for fungi again!

The second thing that caught my eye was a forest within a forest! A large bank of moss (I think it's common haircap) was covered in pointy golden capsules on slender red stems. Tiny, but massive at the same time!

A forest of common haircap

The woods are lovely this time of year, with the sunshine reaching through the lime green new beech leaves.

Under the trees at the top of the hill, there was quite a lot of wood spurge growing in amongst the dog's mercury.  It's also known as Devil's cup and saucer, due to the shape of the green bracts. I also found delicate little woodruff flowers in amongst the grass at the side of the tracks.

Wood spurge or Devil's cup and saucer

At the bottom of the hill, a large patch of green alkanet was covered in flies and bees, including some bee-flies and I spotted a female orange tip butterfly on some forget-me-nots.

Bee-fly on green alkanet

Female orange tip on forget-me-not
As I was walking past, I popped in to check on Badger Bank. It's now a sea of green nettles and dog's mercury and is very well hidden. You can still make out the trails through the plants though. When I was there in the middle of March, I counted 41 entrances to the sett. but you'd be hard pressed to find them all now!
Badger Bank is now well hidden under a sea of green

You can still make out the trails up to the sett though - one going right
 and one going left

If you climb up the bank, you can still make out the mounds of dug out chalk
and spot some entrances
We'll have to take the trail camera back soon and see if we can see any cubs out and about.


  1. Hope you get those cubs. I can't wait to see your results. Fingers crossed for you. Got some better pics of those green tiger beetles that you liked today.

  2. Lovely! Keep a look out for fossils in the badger spoil.