Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Exploring new territory

I've focussed much of my attention this year on trying to improve my botany but I've been running out of options for things to go and see recently. I did come across a nice patch of Coral-necklace whilst trying to find something else.

This species is classed as Vulnerable but according to the county recorder it has spread rapidly in recent years, probably being spread around and between sites on military vehicles.

So with few plants to look for, what to do? Well there's fungi and bryophytes, both of which I've done virtually nothing with before. I went on a fungus foray in the New Forest on National Fungus Day (or something like that) which was all a bit manic and I didn't get any photo's because the weather was awful. Fortunately I was back at the same site a couple of weeks later for a bryophytes meeting and was able to refind a couple of the more interesting fungi.

Podoscypha multizonata
Hericium erinaceum
There have been a lot of problems with commercial fungi collectors hoovering up anything and everything that they can find in the New Forest this year and on my first visit someone had removed most of the Hericium erinaceum, even though it was hidden inside a Beech trunk, so it was good to see a couple of new fruiting bodies growing unmolested in the same trunk when I returned.

The bryophytes meeting was interesting, although my brain was starting to bleed by lunchtime! One species that the experts got excited about was Zygodon forsteri. It is rare but that meant little to me as virtually everything was new. I did find its ecology interesting though. It grows around wounds on Beech trees and it seems that the wounds exude something that kills off the commoner mosses but which forsteri is immune to. There was always a very clear demarcation between the forsteri and the more dominant species.

Ok so it isn't much to look at! 

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