Talks

Monday 26th February: Recording Your Patch by Paul Richards

Monday 26th November: The Gillfield Woods - Tracks and Trespassers by Josie Dunsmore

 

BIRD WALK 20 January 2018

 

Those hardy souls that had managed to negotiate the icy conditions and gather at the bottom of Totley Hall Lane for the start of the first Bird Walk of the New Year were able to carefully scan the small field adjacent to the lane to get excellent views of four species of the thrush family that were feeding on the ground in the short grass.  

 

Two of the species present were Redwing and Fieldfare, these are regarded as Britain’s “winter thrushes” because they visit our shores during the autumn and winter, having moved west from Scandinavia and even from further east, Russia.  A quick count showed we were looking at ten Redwings and two Fieldfares. The differences in size and plumage were very clear for all to study and compare.  The Redwings, the size of a Song Thrush, had the rusty-red markings on their flanks and the distinctive pale stripe above their eyes.  The Fieldfares were bigger, more upright in stance, with an orange tinge to their heavily marked breasts and the grey of the rump and crown were noticeable.  So our two main target species for the day were already “in the bag”!  

 

Amongst the Redwings and Fieldfares, a couple of Mistle Thrushes, the same size as Fieldfares seemed to be as intent on keeping watch as they were feeding; standing proud and alert after each short run across the field.  These birds came quite close to us, so their pale brown appearance and the large round black spots on the breast and under-belly were clear for all to see.  The fourth type of thrush feeding in the field was the Blackbird, also known in the old days in Yorkshire as the “Black Thrush”.  A small group of six of these birds was feeding in the leaf litter at the field edge. There certainly seems to have been more Blackbirds about over the last few weeks, no doubt the resident number being supplemented by birds moving down from further north or migrating in from the continent.  Yes, those Blackbirds overwintering in your own garden may have travelled from Denmark, Germany or Scandinavia for the pleasure of feeding at your bird table, which is always a nice thought.

 

Anyway, as we watched and admired these thrushes a Robin sang from the hedge behind us and a Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly called overhead.  The trees at the bottom of Totley Hall Lane are always productive and did not disappoint this morning as two Nuthatches and a Treecreeper put in an appearance while a Wren dived quickly across a gap in the piles of wood nearby and was seen to search for food amongst the logs.  As we stepped over the new style into the first field a flock of Goldfinches flew high across the field; we could see their gold wing-bars and hear their tingling call; a “charm” is a perfect collective noun for this species.  And as we turned to move on, a small party of Long-tailed Tits flew close-by us in a tight-knit group.  This very small tit has an egg-shaped body and a distinctive long thin tail; one member of our group stated that these tits, when in flight, always remind her of dragonflies.  All these encounters were a great start to this January walk.

 

We then searched nearby fields for more winter thrushes as we moved across the first field; a flock of more than one hundred Redwings had been feeding in one of the fields a few days before.  There was none to be found today but we did manage to see a small flock of Starlings feeding on the ground with a number of Magpies and Woodpigeons near to them.  Four Carrion Crows also made their presence known as they interacted and called loudly from the tops of hedgerow trees.  

 

Pressing on along a track towards Gillfield Wood, we then noticed a Jay feeding below the outreaching branches of an Oak tree at the edge of a field.  Everyone stood quite still and took it in turns to get better views of this striking bird through the telescope we had to hand.  A member of the Crow family, Jays seem to be doing quite well locally and it is not unusual to find these birds, in ones or twos, in and around our wood. This particular bird stayed just long enough for its exceptional colours to be noted; the pinkish tinge to the head and body and the blue, white and black markings in the wing.  Then it just disappeared from view which is typical of this shy species.  And as we stood there the loud call of a Great Tit was pointed out to the group and then as if in competition another bird, same species, was heard to emit from deep cover the “Teacher, Teacher” call to add to the atmosphere of the morning. 

 

And then it happened; a bird of prey, flying towards us on lazy long wings.  It was Buzzard size, but it wasn’t a Buzzard, it was a Kite, a Red Kite; unbelievable!  This was only the second time this raptor has been formally recorded in our Gillfield Wood area and there it was flying low over our heads.  The light was not great so we were not seeing all its glorious red colouration but nevertheless the long forked tail was seen to do that characteristic twisting as this majestic bird adjusted its flight. It completed a tight circle in the air before drifting northwards out of sight.  Great excitement, a brilliant “tick”.

 

Clearly this moment would not be beaten today, but we moved on to higher ground so we could have good views over the top of the wood onto the fields beyond in the hope of “pulling” a Common Buzzard.  Unfortunately, on this occasion, one did not put in an appearance but the trusted Great Spotted Woodpecker did; not just one but several were seen or heard calling during the rest the walk.  From our vantage point one was heard to call out its distinctive “click” noise which enabled us to locate it at the top of a Larch.  It was a male with the red patch at the back of its head.  The woodpecker then moved sideways-on so we all had good views of the bright black and white markings on the wings and that lovely flush of red on the underside of the body.  As we studied this bird, an excited member of our group called out that there was another one clinging directly below to the same Larch.  A pair, or was this a rival male?  No calls of aggression were uttered but one bird was seen to drop from the tree top and in deep undulating flight it passed over our heads to land in another tree on the other side of the field.  It is always surprising to see how far some of these woodpeckers will fly when they leave Gillfield Wood; some continue in what appears to be an energy sapping flight, across many fields, to reach the gardens of Totley without stopping in any of the available trees on the way.

 

As we entered the wood today, Coal Tits and Blue Tits were heard calling from on high and were seen feeding in the tree canopy.  As Long-tailed Tits joined them, a solitary Treecreeper was seen to be working its way up a tall Oak, switching from one side of the trunk to the other and then going out on the underside of a branch demonstrating how adept they are.  On the previous walk it had been very difficult to point out this tiny bird to those attending; we all remember too well the constant rain and mist on our binoculars that day.  It was however very pleasing to learn afterwards that one member had been thrilled that he had actually managed to see that Treecreeper despite the weather conditions; it was his first sighting of this species.  He would have certainly enjoyed seeing this delicate bird today as we got better views as it performed so well for us. 

 

Continuing through the wood we could hear the occasional Robin, Wren and Chaffinch calling from the edges and, of course, those Great Spotted Woodpeckers made their presence known in several areas.  On leaving the wood at the east end we did manage to see and hear Tree Sparrow and Bullfinch which are always good birds to add to our list of species seen on these quarterly walks.  And as we neared our finishing point we had the opportunity of watching a tall Grey Heron quietly walking with stealth along the centre of the brook; you could not help but wonder what morsels of food it would find in the flowing waters on such a day in January.

 

As the group dispersed there were thoughts of our next Bird Walk which is planned for the spring. Hopefully some summer migrants, such as Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps will have arrived and their songs will add to the songs of our resident birds that will be on territory and probably nesting. There is so much to see and experience in and around our wood so hopefully you will join us on one of these Bird Walks.  We may even see the odd butterfly but sorry, another Red Kite cannot be guaranteed!

 

Chris Measures

 

Please remember you do not have to be a member to come along to any of the events run by The Friends of Gillfield Wood.  The events are advertised on the FoGW website and within the diary in this publication.  No experience is necessary to attend; you will be made very welcome.  The next Bird Walk is on Saturday April 28th and starts at the Scout Hut by Aldam Road at the earlier time of 0800 hours.

 

Bird and Butterfly Walk 7 July 2018

 

It is always special to stand in a clearing early in the morning, particularly a warm sunny morning; waiting, watching and eagerly anticipating the next movement, be it bird or butterfly.  This was where we found ourselves, in a clearing on this July morning, a group of twelve of us, keen to get the Bird and Butterfly Walk off to a good start.

 

Different birds were calling; strong and soft calls coming from within the bushes that surround the clearing and from the trees behind. The loud ringing notes and trills from a Wren were accompanied by the short repetitive song of a Dunnock.  And then the fluted plaintive call of a Bullfinch was heard and within seconds a beautifully marked male Bullfinch perched above our heads for all the group to see.  It was a perfect specimen with bright red underparts, black crown and thick bull-neck.  One member of the group could not resist a muffled “Wow!”

 

Then a member of the group said that she thought she had just seen a Jay in an Oak tree.  Although slightly hidden the bird’s head and beak could be seen poking out from behind the leaves in the centre of the tree, its streaked forehead showing above its pinkish grey-brown face and the distinctive black moustache stripe could also be seen.  Not all the group were able to find this secretive bird but they were rewarded when another Jay flew low across the clearing, its conspicuous white rump showing perfectly for all to see.  Excitement rippled through the group; not a bad start.

 

Then, while two Starlings were seen to fly over nearby roof-tops a small group of Swifts were spotted hunting insects high in the sky.  It is a real pleasure to watch Swifts skimming effortlessly on curved-back wings across cloudless skies; such freedom.  In contrast of flight, our attention was then drawn to some butterflies flitting amongst and over the long grass by the side of our footpath.  A majority of these butterflies were “Whites”, Green-veined and Small White; almost continuously on the wing.  One butterfly did however land in front of us, it was a “Brown”, a Ringlet.  It remained still with wings closed for several minutes allowing close inspection.  The Ringlet is a gorgeous butterfly with dark smoky-grey wings with conspicuous white edges, and on closed wings the eye spots on the underwings are easy to see and admire.  A good story too as this butterfly has extended its range in the UK and we are now seeing it in large numbers around this area and the north.

 

Continuing our walk alongside Totley Brook, it brought back memories of the Kingfisher that had been seen fishing in the deeper sections of water earlier in the season, but with the prolonged hot weather and lack of rain the brook is now very low although it was still managing to flow freely and it was shimmering beautifully in dappled sunlight.  On entering Gillfield Wood we did notice that it was much cooler and quieter; the tranquillity being enhanced by the sun shafting down through the canopy with the ceiling of leaves above us turning that lovely light transparent green colour.  Only the gentle cooing of Woodpigeons and the fine contact call of active Blue Tits broke the silence.

 

Our gentle stroll then took us out of the wood and as we climbed the hill to Woodthorpe Hall a Common Buzzard was seen floating over nearby fields on slightly upturned wings, perhaps hunting for prey or just rising to catch a thermal to take it up even higher.  And then a little further on we had Swallows flying low over a newly mowed field whilst a Nuthatch was heard calling from the grounds of the Hall.  Here we also managed to get a fleeting view of a Song Thrush as it shot by us and over a high dry-stone wall giving us the opportunity of comparing this rich brown-backed gentle bird with the larger and much paler Mistle Thrush that we had seen in flight earlier.  As if on cue the recurring notes of a Song Thrush were heard from a nearby copse.  It has certainly been good to hear so many Song Thrushes singing this year from our wooded valley, be it early morning or in the evening.

 

Then, as we stood there, someone mentioned that they were watching through their binoculars some Red Deer up on the moors.  Sure enough, considering the distance, perhaps a mile away, the find proved to be correct. Through the telescope the deer were brought much closer, and despite the heat haze, a little clearer for all to see; they were walking in the bracken on the edge of Totley Moor. A great find to add to the enjoyment of the morning.  These walks are great opportunities to meet, chat and enjoy the nature that surrounds us and to ask questions and share wildlife experiences, especially on a lovely day such as this one.

 

Pressing on we then found ourselves on Fanshawe Gate Lane listening to a bird making a harsh clicking call, much stronger than a Robin’s call.  It proved to be a female Blackcap and we were able to watch it feeding in a bush.  Occasionally it moved out into the open so all could see its rich red-brown cap above the eyes and its dark grey back.  Then a little further along the lane another warbler was heard singing, it was a Chiffchaff.  It was not the first Chiffchaff we had heard this morning but certainly it was the loudest.  Like the Blackcap, a migrant leaf warbler of the Phylloscopus family; both species undertake long journeys to the UK and Europe to breed. Hopefully they both found the weather here to their liking this summer, but it will not be long before they are heading south again to perhaps spend their winter in Africa; such an incredible achievement for such small birds; just eleven centimetres (approximately) in length.

 

With Robin and Blackbird being added to our sightings we then encountered a Kestrel, a female hovering over the fields near to Fanshawe Gate Hall.  Hopefully it has had a successful season rearing young nearby and was finding enough small mammals to feed the fledglings in such dry conditions.  This bird appeared again a little later, circling just above us so that we could see in good light the barring on the underside of the body and in the fanned tail, and the distinctive black band at the end of the tail. One could not help but wish that all birds of prey were that obliging and easy to identify.

 

As we entered the wood again a Speckled Wood butterfly suddenly appeared and landed in front of us on the leaf of an Alder tree; settling in the sun with wings open as they do.   These butterflies can be encountered along woodland rides and in glades but feed on aphid honeydew from the leaves in the woodland canopy.  So with Meadow Brown and Large White butterflies putting in an appearance amongst many other butterflies as we walked down through the fields on the south side of the wood it was nice to add another species to our count of butterflies.

 

Retracing our steps outside the east end of the wood we managed to see a solitary Long-tailed Tit perched in the same bush in which we had seen the Bullfinch two hours earlier.  Our attention had been drawn to the bird by its high trilling call, but no sooner the appearance than it flew across the path into deeper cover.  Then our second Nuthatch of the morning was heard calling. After a quick search of a tall Willow tree, we were able to see the bird with its long pointed bill, blue-grey back and pale underparts.  Normally a very active bird, this one was taking a moment to perch on a long thin branch to preen and call out its presence.

 

And so we reached the end of our walk. Twenty five species of birds had been seen and heard, and with the great sunny weather continuing throughout the walk it had enabled plenty of butterflies to be found on the wing to add to the interest and enjoyment of the morning. Shame the butterflies will not put in an appearance when the next Bird Walk takes place; well it will be in November!  Nevertheless we hope you will join us, you will be made very welcome.

 

Chris Measures

 

Please remember you do not have to be a member to come along to any of the events run by The Friends of Gillfield Wood.  The events are advertised on the FoGW website and within the diary in this publication.  No experience is necessary to attend; just come along and enjoy.

A Library Event – 27 July 2018

A Nature Walk for Children and Families organised by Jill Hnat

Led by Chris Measures, Friends of Gillfield Wood

 

What a relief, the good weather held.  The predicted rain had not materialised in Totley but it had perhaps rained heavily nearby because the rumble of thunder had been heard earlier in the morning.  So a party of seventeen children emerged from the library, into the sunshine, with a great deal of excitement; their parents, grandparents and guardians in tow, armed with a suitable supply of sun cream and liquid refreshment.

 

As always Jill Hnat had organised this annual event perfectly so that each child had a pencil and a sheet of paper; the sheet of paper was headed “Nature Detectives”.  This year’s event was a Mini-beast Hunt and within seconds the children were ticking the first picture on their sheet of paper…. “Bumblebee”!  They had found several bumblebees landing on a Lavender plant in the grounds of the library.  Here they were able to run their hands over the blue flowers of the plant and smell the fragrance whilst watching the bees perform.  It was pointed out to the children the slightly different way the bees fly around the flowers when compared to the hovering flight of the gentle hoverflies.  “Little wasps!” one boy exclaimed as he pointed to a hoverfly, so it was good to be able to explain that these lovely hoverflies were indeed not wasps even though they appeared to be of similar colours and markings.

 

Crossing over the road we headed towards Green Oak Park, but before we got there a young girl pointed out a spider.  It was a tiny spider in a web at her eye level; an excellent find.  As everyone carefully gathered on the pavement to take it in turns to get a closer look, two more spiders were found in their webs on a Cotoneaster bush.  One young boy stated that spiders build webs to catch their food; “Flies!” he said proudly.  As the children ticked the second picture on their sheet… “Spider”, a white butterfly suddenly appeared in flight so a third picture was successfully ticked.  This butterfly was a Small White, one of several we would see on this walk.  

 

On entering the park we headed straight for the circular flower bed which has provided so much interest in previous years.  This year it did not disappoint as the children searched for more creatures of interest.  More bumblebees and more hoverflies were studied at close quarters and then a ladybird was found; another good tick…. “Ladybird”.  It was a Seven- spot Ladybird which, as soon as it was found, opened its wing-casing and did an almost vertical take-off to go high up into the sky with parents eagerly pointing out the flight so their child did not miss it; one or two “oohs and aahs” were heard to come enthusiastically from the gathered group.  This was not the only ladybird found, more of the Seven-spot variety were creeping up the stems of flowers and at least two of the invasive species, the Harlequin Ladybird, were captured in pots for observation purposes.  It was lovely to see the children getting close views of these tiny creatures as they passed around the pots.

 

A snail was then held out in the palm of a hand for all to see.  As pencils hovered to complete another tick on the sheet a child turned the shell over, only to exclaim “It’s empty!”, which caused a number of people to smile. Fortunately one of the mums then rescued the situation by producing a snail that just looked like the one in the picture on the sheet; it was extending out of its shell with feelers moving about like tentacles detecting its surroundings.  Now that certainly did deserve a big tick.  And just to prove how hard the children were searching, some pointed out the slime trails of snails or slugs…. “Look!  They were here as well”.  

 

Each child was deserving of praise for their enthusiasm and contribution.  And as we moved through the park, sharp eyes noticed a caterpillar feeding on a small Ragwort plant.  It was a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar with the distinctive orange and black body.  As the identification was being explained, a young boy stepped forward to open his wildlife book to show everyone pictures of the caterpillar and the amazing moth; the Cinnabar Moth, black and crimson red in colour. A few minutes later several small white moths were seen flying amongst grasses so another tick for the sheet…. “Moth”.  There was no photograph on the sheet to tick the caterpillar find so “Caterpillar” was added to the list of mini-beasts, including “Hoverfly”, that the children were carefully writing on the back of their sheet of paper.

 

At the outset the children had been asked to use their ears as well as their eyes and as we walked in the park a small group of Swifts was heard screaming overhead and was then seen flying over the roof tops of nearby houses.  And then the children stood very quietly by a grassy bank where grasshoppers can be heard on a hot day.  Unfortunately we did not hear them buzzing on this particular morning, however one child did, when asked, explain quite clearly how grasshoppers make their sound, “By rubbing their legs against their wings”.  He gave a good demonstration too!  

 

Still in the park a great deal of interest was being given to the butterflies that were flying above our heads as we stood by a tall Buddleia.  The bright colours of the Peacock butterfly were noted, particularly those wonderful large eye-spots on the forewings which bring to mind the “eyes” on the fanned tail of a male Peacock.  A Gatekeeper butterfly also put in a brief appearance but a Comma butterfly landed on a flower head and allowed everyone to get great views.  The ragged edges of the wings and the small white “comma” shaped marks on the underside of the wings were pointed out for all to see.  It was very pleasing to hear even some adults saying how much they were learning.

 

Our next stop was under a spreading Oak tree, partly to provide a little shade for all present and partly to see whether a few mini-beasts could be shaken off the leaves of the tree onto a large white (well, nearly white) dust-sheet that had been stretched out on the grass below.  Although it was not quite as successful as one would have hoped, a few insects did catch the eyes of the children as they searched the dust-sheet for some form of activity.  One or two specimens from tiny spiders to lacewing larvae were potted temporarily, via a pouter, for all to observe more closely.  However, some of the children preferred to hold their arms out and declare “Look what’s walking up my arm”.  Who knows what was disappearing down their necks as they stood directly underneath the tree when the branches were being shaken.  The children were very amused when someone told them to look out in case a monkey fell out of the tree…..it didn’t thankfully.

 

Our walk slowly moved out of the park and down to the Scout Hut off Aldam Road, with Woodpigeons and Magpies being seen and heard; a couple of snails were also discovered nestling inside the hole in a wall.  Once by the Scout Hut all were advised to keep bare arms in, as we walked west along the main footpath, because there would be overhanging brambles and “stinging” nettles in certain places.  As the vegetation began to get closer to us and much taller than the children, one child was heard to say with excitement “It’s like being in a jungle”.  Several more butterflies and invertebrates appeared on either side of the footpath before we arrived at an open area by the side of the brook.  Chris Brewster and Paul Hancock, both of Friends of Gillfield Wood, had provided their assistance and shared their knowledge along the way; Paul had also come prepared, with wellington boots, to step into the brook and with net in hand fish out one or two aquatic specimens for the children to study.  With the children eagerly gathered, Paul was able to show them two small shrimps and two caddis larvae; and one of the caddis was even poking its head out of its case for all to see.  It was here also that some of the children took the opportunity to grab hold of some ropes that were hanging from the branches of an Oak tree and do, what children do, and swing with giggles of delight in the dappled sunlight.  A perfect setting for a family outing with the brook slowly trickling by.

 

It was now time to finish the last leg of the walk and as the group progressed carefully by the tall stand of Rosebay Willowherbs with more butterflies on the wing including two Small Skippers, a Wasp was seen feeding on the white flower head of a Wild Angelica.  “Wasp” was another new species to add to the list as was “Chiffchaff”, which was heard to sing its name from the top of a bush.  When told that the Cuckoo was another bird that sang its own name there was a line of children marching along going “Cuckoo, Cuckoo!” with their arms swinging.

 

Due to the ground being so rock-hard, it had not been possible to find and tick the pictures “Worm” and “Millipede”, so to avoid disappointment, the children were asked if they thought it was possible that we might see a Frog before finishing at the library.  Only one child thought we might and was brave enough to raise her hand.  When then asked if they thought we might see a Pig as well, more than one child said “No Way!” and laughed.  Oh those of little faith in their leader who, as we turned a corner, was able to point out a beautiful small porcelain frog and pig standing on stones in the front garden of a house; both were almost smiling at the children.  “But that’s a statue” one boy said “It doesn’t count” but he was smiling too as were the others. 

 

And so it was, the party retired to the cool of the library with refreshments provided to end another very enjoyable time with nature.  All the children proved to be wonderful company and will hopefully have memories to keep, stories to tell, and will continue to be great “Nature Detectives”.

 

Chris Measures 

 

Fungi Walk 11 November 2018

 

If you happened to be told that there is a “Disco” in Gillfield Wood you may start thinking that youngsters are having a party in our local wood; or if you hear that there is a “Woolly-foot” in the wood you may be thinking Yeti or some such creature. But don’t worry, these are just the unusual names given to two species of fungi that grow in our lovely ancient woodland.  In actual fact, to date, nearly three hundred different species of fungi have been recorded in and around the edges of our wood.

 

One of the best times to see fungi is, as you probably know, in the autumn, so Friends of Gillfield Wood arranged for fungi expert Steve Clements to come along last November and lead another of his Fungi Walks through our wood.  On this occasion Steve particularly wanted to demonstrate to the group the variety and numbers of fungi that can actually be found in a very small area of woodland with some close-to-the- ground searching.  So, on the floor of the wood, he marked out a circle, ten metres in diameter, and challenged the group to find as many different species of fungi within the area marked.  

 

The first fungi to be recorded was the statuesque Trooping Funnel, twenty in total, standing in a ring for all to see quite clearly. The more mature specimens had that distinctive large funnel shaped cap with strong decurrent gills underneath.   An encouraging start and, after these had been studied in detail, great care then needed to be taken so as not to step on any as the search for more fungi really got underway.

 

Within seconds there were cries of excitement as different species were discovered.  These varied in colour, shape, size and type.  Steve’s attention and help in identification were in great demand. Tiny Bonnets and Brittlestems (yes, their stems are brittle) were found poking up through the leaf litter, together with a special Snowy Waxcap that has the fabulous Latin name Hygocybe virginea.  And then on fallen small twigs, Pink Crusts and Brown Crusts caught the eye, plus that “Disco”, which was a mass of tiny bright yellow discs, rubbery and saucer-shaped.   Known as the Lemon Disco it is associated, as so many fungi are, with the dead wood of deciduous trees.   

 

A cluster of tiny white Oysterlings were then spotted on a Larch twig and nearby, a jelly fungi with the fantastic name of Crystal Brain was found.  These two species were closely inspected through a hand lens to fully appreciate their construction.  The Crystal Brain has minute crystals within a jelly surround, quite amazing to see when magnified.  Several more species of fungi were identified and Steve was on hand at all times to answer questions and pass on his wealth of knowledge whilst explaining the life of the fungi and pointing out their differences for identification purposes.  

 

Within a short space of time the study of two ten metre circles had been completed and the total number of species found was twenty nine; an impressive return considering that, at any other time, one might have walked past the two areas without a second glance. 

 

Moving through the wood the group then came across a clump of Sulphur Tuft fungi, yellow in colour, on a mossy stump and, in the same area, Bracket fungi on logs; these included Blushing Bracket, that blushes red when bruised underneath, and Common Mazegill, that has maze-like gills.  We all wished they were that easy to identify!  Steve did point out that smelling specimens and sometimes tasting them (not eating them!) may help in identifying some fungi.  Photographing them can also help, this was why the walk was advertised as “Click, Don’t Pick”. 

 

Our final stop was just outside the wood; it was here we wanted to look at and identify some grassland species of fungi.  Unfortunately the grass had grown a bit too long so only a few good specimens were showing.  At least we did find examples of Meadow, Scarlet and Pink Waxcaps for the group to study and compare.  The Pink Waxcap is unmistakable; rosy-pink in colour with a conical shaped cap and if you see it at the right time the cap, with irregular edges, will have expanded outwards to form a type of skirt which lends to this fungi’s other name, the Ballerina Waxcap.  

 

Everyone agreed this was another great session with Steve and yes, in case you are wondering, we did come across that “Woolly-foot” during our wanderings.   Not huge, just six centimetres high, with dome shaped cap and yellowish gills but it did have those distinctive long woolly hairs at the base of its stem.  A Wood Woolly-foot; another good find, another species recorded for the wood, and it did create a good deal of interest.

 

If you would like to join the group on the next Fungi Walk please keep your eyes on the group’s diary and website.  A spring event is being arranged for the morning of Saturday March 10th, so please come along you will be made most welcome.

 

Chris Measures 

Please note that the photos below of the boy are from his mum so fully approved for use.

Coming Soon (see Events page for further details):

    

Saturday 11th November: Fungi Survey 

 

Monday 4th December: -  talk by Derek Whiteley on Nature and  Christmas. 

The next PCMs for 2023/24 are scheduled for:

 

Sun 14th Jan:Meet at the Bus Terminus at 10am.

 

Sun 11th Feb

Sun 10th March

 

See Conservation Work page