Ring-billed and Splitgills

It was my turn to be at Blashford on Sunday this week. Working on a Sunday is quite different from being on the reserve on a weekday, for one thing there are no new emails and calls coming into the office, so it is quite easy to get things done and with a bit of luck get out onto the reserve a bit too.

The moth trap contained just two rather worn moths, a yellow-lined Quaker and a red-lined Quaker, but as I returned them to the trap pending release at dusk I spotted a small log covered in a white substance. Looking closer I saw it was a slime mould, I think Ceratiomyxa fructiculosaone, an example of one of my favourite group of organisms and truly weird!

Ceratiomyxa fructiculosa

Ceratiomyxa fructiculosa

They look almost as though the surface is covered in the tentacles of sea anemones.

slime mould close-up

slime mould close-up

It was a day for unusual things being found on old logs, hot on the heals of the slime mould a visitor came into the office to report the discovery of an unusual fungus, the splitgill, Schizophyllum commune, which has a strange woolly covering on the top.

splitgill (Schizophyllum commune)

splitgill (Schizophyllum commune)

Elsewhere on the reserve I came across a flask-shaped fungus that, so far I cannot identify. It may just be a very deep funnel fungus, but if so I do not know which.

flask shaped fungus

flask shaped fungus

Another view of the same from above.

from above

from above

Generally it was quiet for birds today, although the gull roost made Ibsley Water as busy as ever as the afternoon wore on. The highlight was the return of the ring-billed gull first seen yesterday evening, although it is almost certainly the return of the one that roosted on the same lake last winter. Also present were at least ten yellow-legged gull, five common gull and lots, and lots of lesser clack-backed gull and black-headed gull.

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