Nature Blog Network

coral spot fungi

This fungus, which causes die back of affected branches, was noticed on the coppiced lime. After death of the branch the fungus erupts into a mass of 1-4mm pustules of fungus, forming the sexual stage of its apparently complex life cycle.

This is the same lime stool which was sporting the velvet shank earlier in the year, although velvet shank affected the rotting stump whilst the coral spot was on a coppice branch, but not a healthy one. Coral spot affects broadleaves, particularly beech but is not uncommon on lime as here. As it is only weakly parasitic, the branch had probably had it anyway.

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weather and nests

With ice on the lane early in the week and snow at the end, the birds were flushed out of the meadow and onto the feeders. The species list continues to expand, with mistle thrushes and a redwing joining two song thrushes grubbing around and the arrival of a couple of fieldfares completing the collection of winter thrushes.

There were even four sheep wandering down the lane last night.

Not heard the owl for a bit...

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Before the snow the house sparrows were busy pulling moss off the ground to nest. As it was a good force 6 wind last night, here’s hoping they managed to make a decent one. This is an old nest from a previous season, probably a wren’s as the site is typical and they were seen flying around there last year.

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stroll on Saunder Height

Clear crisp day so wandered over Saunder Height for a couple of hours. The highlight was four (at least) skylarks singing in quadrophonic surround sound. Lovely.

Second was the sight of hares playing in the field behind one of the farms, but sadly not boxing.

Just for good measure, a fine example of razor strop fungus, Piptopoeus betulinus, in the wood near Balladen Brook.

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Having said last week that there were very few thrushes on the lane, there were two song thrushes this week grubbing around in the field. There are new snail shells on the anvil stone as well.

snail graveyard

Despite having many snails in the summer I have seen very few thrushes on the lane so it was a surprise to come across this anvil stone this week. I have seen no live snails (only shells - snails usually overwinter as eggs) over the autumn and winter so maybe a bird was disappointed at the outcome.

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Another bird first on the feeders this week - marsh tits. The species list is gradually enlarging.

buds and flowers

The ash buds have now been joined by lime and willow and probably the sycamore - I can’t reach to see…

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meanwhile the crocus, which flowered two weeks ago, have finally been caught up by the snowdrops. Daffodils are beginning to emerge under the lime saplings.

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