Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 12 May 2014 14:02
WARNING: This post is stupid.
It's that time of year when I have to get up really early once or twice a week to carry out bird surveys. This morning I woke up twelve minutes before my alarm clock at the ungodly hour of 4:18 am. This meant I went to bed early, about 9:00 pm. When I have to have an early night, I pass out pretty quickly, so when Rachael comes in a few hours later, I'm out cold. Almost. See, I have a tendency to talk utter rubbish at these times and occasionally wake myself up laughing, hysterically sometimes. Last night was no exception, as I simply uttered the word:
WHAT THE HELL IS FUNGALTON?!? A mythical mushroom market town in the Midlands? An actual ton of toadstools? I have no idea. I can only think it was something to do with the West Weald Fungi Recording Group field meeting I attended yesterday at Whithurst Park. Other classics from the last two years include:
"There's a man over there dressed as a lamp post" (there wasn't)
"Can you smell wizards?" (we couldn't, actually I still can't)
And the all time mid summer 2013 classic:
"It will soon be time for my Christmas egg" (to this day, I have not received my Christmas egg)
Enough of this nonsense and time for some wildlife, I am a serious naturalist after all! The highlight of yesterday's field trip was not actually a fungus but rather a vascular plant that has eluded me for a number of years, despite searching for it. We stumbled across over twenty plants of Narrow-leaved Bittercress on a woodland ride. I still get a kick out of seeing new plants even if they're not in flower.
I only added one fungi being Pale Brittlstem Psthyrella candolleana.
But I did see three new inverts. A spider (Pachygnatha listeri), a saproxylic beetle under oak bark (Cerylon histeroides) and this very cool Truffle Gall caused by the wasp Andricus quercusradicis. Growing out of the base of an oak tree, it really did look like a fungus but it's quite hard and woody and full of cells each containing a tiny larva. Now, I wonder what fresh madness I will dream up tonight (fortunately for everyone I only have about eight early starts left this year).