Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wrinkled crust fungus, Phlebia radiata

I found this Martian landscape of a fungus when I was collecting firewood in the garden today. Usually it grows on oak, but this was on dead rowan branches.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A deer in sheep's clothing

In the fields of the Dudwell Valley east of Heathfield in East Sussex there are many fallow deer and, from time to time, they like to graze with the sheep.

This is classic Rudyard Kipling country of the High Weald opposite Pook's Hill where Puck resides.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blue tits in the Mahonias

We have quite a few Mahonia bushes in the garden here. With their long, late flowering racemes of yellow flowers, they often attract honey and bumble bees in midwinter.

Today though I noticed a few birds among the flowers and it was clear that blue tits have learned how to sip the nectar from the shallow inflorescences.

I wondered how widespread this was as I have not seen the birds doing this before though we have had the Mahonias for many years.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fungus or alga?

The blackberry-purple plant in the pictures above has completely defeated me. It was growing on a sheer 'cliff' of Purbeck limestone in a shady gill south of Burwash Common, East Sussex and had a texture and shape similar to a cup fungus. There were a few more higher up the bank where the limestone was covered in a very thin layer of moss, but I saw them nowhere else in the gill.

A mycologist friend has suggested they might be an alga rather than a fungus, but that is as far as I have got. If anyone can suggest what this might be, or who else I might ask, I would be very grateful