Recent Activity and a Little Wildlife

I am sorry for the lack of posts recently, I will try and get back to a couple a week again. Recent weeks have been busy both at Blashford and at Fishlake.

At Blashford the volunteers have been constructing an artificial badger sett.

badger sett construction

badger sett construction, the chamber.

Once the chamber had been made a roof was added along with an entrance tunnel.

P1110340

construction continues.

Yesterday we covered the whole structure with a layer of soil to bury, now all we have to do is wait and see if the badgers approve.

The ponies have now left Blashford as the grazing season draws to a close. Meanwhile at Fishlake the cattle have grazed in both Ashley Meadow and the North-west fen and done a great job. Reducing the tall herbage will take several seasons but we are now holding the succession into rank fen with increasing willow scrub and starting to reverse it.

P1110376

British white cattle, now back in Ashley Meadow.

The autumn has been relatively quite for birds, or at least for rarities at both sites. Fishlake has been visited by several osprey, but they have not stayed as long as in  previous years. There have been several great (white) egret as both sites and 2 cattle egret flew south over Ibsley Water at Blashford. Both sites are now starting to see increases in wildfowl, with small flocks of teal at Fishlake and wigeon at Blashford.

The warm summer saw a number of records of lesser emperor dragonfly, a migrant that is occurring in increasing numbers, this great picture of a hovering male was sent in by  Kevin Kearns.

lesser emperor Kevin Kearns

lesser emperor Kevin Kearns

Moths have been a little disappointing, with a couple of Clifden nonpareil and a few commoner migrants. We have caught a couple more of the non-native Australian Pyralid, Masotima nitidalis, introduced with tree ferns but now evidently eating our native ferns in the wild.

Masotima nitidalis

Masotima nitidalis

There is still time for some autumn excitement where migrant birds are concerned, although we will soon be entering the late autumn lull before the main arrival of wintering birds. Insects will be winding down for winter, but fungi are coming into their main season, so there is always something to look forward to.

P1110358

Fungus season is starting

30 Days Wild – Honourable mentions

Sometimes during 30 days wild the hardest part is picking just one video or photo to tweet. There were many days where I could have posted multiples, so here are some of the photos that I didn’t post.

The yellow flag iris was truly spectacular at Fishlake Meadows this year, lots of insects made the most of them too. I was able to take a video of a bee visiting several flowers; this is a still from the video.

Bee and yellow flag iris

Bee visiting yellow flag iris

Whilst out on the side of Ibsley water at Blashford, working on a new tern raft there was lots of scarlet pimpernel just in flower. They are one of my favourite plants; the flowers are such a beautiful colour.

Scarlet pimpernel

Scarlet pimpernel at the side of Ibsley Lake

On day 11 I posted a photo of a beautiful bronze beetle which I identified as Crysolina banksi, on the same day I got a photo of a lovely hoverfly on the geraniums in the new planters outside the Blashford Lakes centre. This one is Helophilus pendulus or Sun fly.

Hoverfly and geranium

Helophilus pendulus on geranium spp.

Scarlet tiger moths have been good in number again this year at Fishlake Meadows, the earliest I saw this year was the 12th June, and last year I think it was a week earlier. On the same day walking around Fishlake I got lots of photos, mainly of the wildflowers; meadowsweet, water forget me not, and a bumblebee collecting pollen from hemlock water dropwort.

At Blashford the bee orchids have been wonderful this year, on the same day I took a photo of the bee orchid I also got a shot of biting stone crop with its yellow star shaped flowers and fleshy stem. There is a lot of this around Blashford, particularly around the car parks and stony paths.

Biting stonecrop 1

Biting stonecrop

On the 17th June I posted a photo of lots of peacock butterfly caterpillars, it was a day however when lots of sightings nearly made the cut. There was a moorhen with a grown up chick nearby along the canal, a shield bug, yellow loosestrife and bittersweet. I’m fairly sure the shield bug is Eurygaster testudinariav also know as a tortoise bug.

tortoise-shield-bug-eurygaster-testudinaria.jpg

Tortoise bug

18th June was a photo of a freshly emerged marbled white, which was my favourite photo of the month. This was seen whilst doing some more work on the tern rafts at the side of Ibsley. While moving the tern rafts, we disturbed this wonderful young toad and were able to get a good look at it.

Toad at blashford

Common toad

On the 21st June I saw what was possibly the first pyramidal orchid in Ashley Meadow, but I also saw some lovely common valerian in flower. Delicate pink/white flowers with stamens poking out beyond the flowers.

Common valerian 3

Common valerian

26th June I was able to get a good photo of a banded demoiselle, so posted that, I also saw what I later discovered was a figwort weevil. Very sensibly it was actually on water figwort when I found it. The photos aren’t very good, but it’s a lovely little thing with an interesting pattern. It also went a bit shy and tucked it’s rostrum in, I assume as a bit of a defence mechanism.

 

Final week of 30 days wild

Another 30 days wild has come to an end, it’s been great fun and I’ve managed to see, hear and do some wonderful things in June. I feel like it’s been quite a different June to last year, some wildlife seems to have emerged quite a bit later, some of the species I’ve tweeted are definitely the same as last year though.

So, day 24 was a day in the office unfortunately! Emails and getting ready for a water safety training course kept me indoors most of the day. From my desk I can see a section of the Testwood Lakes wildflower garden, which is particularly spectacular at the moment. At lunch I popped out to get a closer look, there are so many species of flowers, it’s incredible and therefore lots of insects buzzing around. The ox-eye daisies, verbena, ladies mantle and a white flowered geranium species really stood out.

Day 25 was a busy Blashford Tuesday volunteers day, I was leading the volunteers while Bob was off. We spent the morning pulling up himalayan balsam and pink purslane. It was a difficult area for moving around and was very hard work reaching all the bits we spotted, we made some great progress in clearing the area though. As I was leaving Blashford I decided to pop in to the Tern hide, which I rarely manage to do, and was able to get a slightly dubious phone photo of a common tern on a post just outside the hide. Great to see one so close and clear, sadly the photo doesn’t do it justice.

Common tern blashford

Common tern outside Tern hide

Day 26 was a day to get out to Fishlake Meadows to see what was happening, decide on work for the work party on the 3rd July and to make sure the paths weren’t too overgrown. Whilst walking along the path that runs east to west, a very obliging female banded demoiselle landed near me and stayed still. having learned my lesson from the previous day, I had my proper camera with me so I could get a decent shot.

SONY DSC

Female banded demoiselle

Day 27, in the evening I helped the ecology team with a bat survey at Fishlake Meadows, they start at sunset and run for 2 hours, so the survey was 9.30pm to 11.30pm. We used a bat detector which turns the bats echolocation clicks to a volume that you can hear. We heard and saw lots of bats, primarily common and soprano pipistrelle, and also a myotis species bat. I really enjoyed getting to have a walk around Fishlake Meadows at night.

Bat detector

Bat detector used for the survey

Day 28, was a day of water safety training at head office. The trainer took pity on us and we did several sections of the day outside in the garden. There were lots of lovely wildflowers through the lawn, which I was impressed and surprised by as the grass was fairly short. None the less there was self heal, scarlet pimpernel and mouse-ear hawkweed. Mouse-ear hawkweed can often get over looked and mistaken for another dandelion, but it is a different yellow, more of a lemony colour, with red stripes underneath.

Mouse-ear hawkweed top#

Delicate lemony yellow topside of mouse-ear hawkweed

Mouse-ear hawkweed bottom

red stripes on the underside of mouse-ear hawkweed

Day 29 was a very hot Saturday at home, I’m not very good at very hot weather, so stayed in doors to keep cool. To make up for not doing a tweet on the 29th, I tweeted on the 1st July instead, a photo of a painted lady at Fishlake Meadows. This one was in fairly good condition, only missing a few bits from it’s wings. There has been a significant migration of them this year, I saw my first one several weeks ago, they may have made it a long way north this year.

Painted lady

Painted lady at Fishlake Meadows

Day 30 I was at home again, and thankfully it was a much cooler day, so I dared to go outside. Straight away I spotted this bumblebee resting on some sweet william. It seemed to have woken up fairly quickly, as the next time I looked, it had gone.

Bumblebee on sweet william

Bumblebee on sweet william

I’ve really enjoyed this years 30 days wild and I’m going to make a conscious effort to keep tweeting about wildlife more often. I don’t think I will manage every day, but hopefully a few times a week, every week.

30 Days Wild – Day 28

An atypical day for me as I was out and about away from Blashford. That said I was on  the reserve early on, doing a breeding bird survey, this is getting easier now as the number of birds singing are many fewer than earlier in the season. After the survey there was just time to check out the moth traps before heading off.

Possibly because it was quiet windy, the traps did not have as many moths in as I had expected, the highlight was a couple of small elephant hawk-moth, a species we catch almost every year, although I don’t think I have caught two on the same night previously.

small elephant hawk-moth

small elephant hawk-moth

I was then at a meeting looking at wetland restoration in the New Forest, when I first heard about it I had feared it was going to be an indoor meeting, but I am pleased to say there were site visits. Specifically one to a site that was still more or less “As nature intended”, that is a stream that had not been subjected to digging out or straightening, perhaps surprisingly very few of the Forest’s streams have escaped such attention over the years.

New Forest stream more or less natural

The upper ends of many New Forest streams have no visible water , the water seeks below the surface in dry weather.

I was then off to Fishlake Meadows to meet a wildlife camera specialist who was doing some underwater filming for us, looking at the fish and anything else that might come along. With luck there might be some pictures to share sometime soon.

One very striking thing on the reserve was the browning of lots of the smaller willows, the recently coppiced ones seemed unaffected as did the largest ones. At first I suspected disease but closer inspection revealed that the cuticle on the underside of the leaves had been eaten away, leaving the remaining upper surface dry and dead.

brown willow

brown willow leaves

I eventually found some small black larvae, I suspected of a leaf beetle, looking into it later they would appear to be those of the willow leaf beetle Gonioctena viminalis. 

willow leaf-beetle larva

willow leaf-beetle larva

3 weeks of wildness

Last week was a bit different to my normal week with 2 evening meetings meaning 2 late starts. I still managed to squeeze in a guided walk, a work party and some strimming though. On Monday 17th after starting late, I went for a walk around Fishlake Meadows in the early evening to see if there was anything different around at a different time. The Nice evening didn’t disappoint! I saw a moorhen and a mature chick near each other along the canal, noticed that the yellow loosestrife is coming in to flower, and heard a particularly energetic sedge warbler singing right next to the path. It was the sight of a huge number of peacock butterfly caterpillars that stole the show though, with their black spikes and small white spots they look quite threatening, particularly en masse.

Peacock caterpillars 2019

Huge number of peacock butterfly caterpillars on nettle.

18th June was a volunteer day at Blashford Lakes, doing some more work on tern rafts at the side of Ibsley lake. It was a bit of a grey and drizzly day which made it really quite easy to see a lot of insects that were struggling a little for energy. Whilst moving the rafts around, we disturbed this marbled white butterfly, It then posed on an ox-eye daisy for a long time, making it very easy to get a good photo.

Marbleld white 2019

Marbled white butterfly on ox-eye daisy.

On Wednesday while leading a guided walk for a local organic gardening group, we saw lots of lovely flowers, birds and insects. Water figwort was in flower, with its wonderful round red flowers with an open lid. I thought it looked like the flowers are providing a porch for visiting pollinators or that they’re little rabbits.

Figwort 2019

Water figwort in flower.

On Thursday I had another late start and lots of admin to catch up on, so I was mainly indoors at Testwood Lakes. Fortunately there can be wildlife everywhere, if you look hard enough. Just like this white mullein flower that’s managing to grow in the cracks of the paving just outside the office door.

White mullein 2019

White mullein in flower near the Testwood Lakes office door.

Friday the 21st and I took the chance of the dry weather to strim the line for the electric fencing in Ashley Meadow, this will be going back in again soon, ahead of the cows arrival. While strimming I managed to avoid cutting a couple of southern marsh orchids, so was keeping a keen eye out for more. Further on I stopped dead in my tracks in confusion and a little bit of disbelief, right in front of me was a pyramidal orchid! I even sent Bob a photo to check I wasn’t going completely mad! An orchid generally associated with dry habitats and doesn’t appear to have been recorded at Fishlake Meadows before. I think its most likely a result of the dry summer last year that’s its had a chance to thrive.

Pyramidal orchid

Pyramidal orchid in flower in Ashley Meadow.

Pyramidal orchid 2

Close up of pyramidal orchid.

Saturday, day 22 I was at a friends wedding, in the grounds of her uncles property, Ashe Park. Its just outside of Basingstoke and has a huge amount of land around it. I was impressed with their wildlife pond that had lots of yellow flag iris around it. I was also impressed that they don’t seem to do too much “tidying”, there were many mature trees, including some dead ones left to decay, and a huge area of grassland just being left to do its thing. A good variety of grasses and flowers were growing through the area.

Ashe park grassland

Grassland at Ashe Park.

Day 23 I was at home and didn’t manage to venture very far, so posted a picture from a few days before from Fishlake Meadows. Along the side of the permissive path there was a flower I wasn’t familiar with looking fresh and beautiful. I took some photos, had a close look and then tried to identify it later. Other than knowing it was a member of the dead nettle family, thanks to it’s square stem and overall look, I couldn’t settle on an ID. I got in touch with the wonderful botanist Bob Page for help, he came back very quickly with “marsh woundwort”. It’s a flower I don’t think I’ve seen before, but will hopefully be able to remember it now.

Marsh woundwort

Marsh woundwort with beautiful patterns to the flowers.

I can’t believe that we’re nearly at the end of 30 days wild already! I’ve really enjoyed taking my time whilst out on our nature reserves and in my garden at home to really slow down and look at what’s around me. My job as a Reserves Officer is often busy and hectic, so it doesn’t always feel like I can slow down, 30 days wild is a great excuse to do just that.

Fishlake Meadows work party

Last Friday the 14th June, I held a work party at Fishlake Meadows. Lots of different odd jobs had built up, so it was a good time to get one booked in. The volunteers didn’t disappoint, 10 of them came along to give me a hand. Several of the jobs were tasks to get us prepared for the arrival of the cattle in July. Roger and Keith bravely headed off around Ashley Meadow checking the fence line and making sure it was still all in tact, cutting back any branches leaning on posts or the wire.

Fishlake Meadows: Working Party

Roger wading through tall vegetation to check the fence line.

Graham made sure water would be ready for the cows by refitting the pasture pump in Ashley Meadow. He also fitted a new one in the meadow to the western side of the permissive path. The pumps work like an old fashioned water pump, but instead of pushing a lever down, the cows push a lever back with their noses. A pipe connects to the back of the pump and is put in to a body of water nearby, this then draws the water in to a tray the cows can then drink from.

Fishlake Meadows: Working Party

Graham with the reinstalled Ashley Meadow pasture pump.

Some more volunteers did a wonderful job cutting the reeds and rushes in front of the screens to improve the views of the water. They also managed to put some frames up on the screens that hold bird identification tiles to help people know what might be around.

Bird tile frame left screen

Improved view and bird identification tiles on the left hand screen.

Bird tile frame right screen

Improved view and bird identification tiles on the right hand screen.

The rest of the volunteers cut vegetation back from the canal path. The larger brambles and saplings are too think for my strimmer to get through, so this was a big help.

There will be another work party on the 3rd July doing similar jobs. If you would like to join the Fishlake Meadows volunteers, please get in touch; jo.iddenden@hiwwt.org.uk.

 

Still going wild

Another week in to 30 days wild, I can’t believe we’re over half way through already! It’s been another busy week, but luckily I’ve still been able to take some time to spot all sorts of wonderful wildlife whilst out getting jobs done. On the 11th I was at Blashford Lakes for the Tuesday volunteer work party. In the morning we were doing some cutting back along the paths and tree checking. In the afternoon we were planting some devils bit scabious near the Ivy North hide. Whilst struggling to dig a hole for one, this shiny bronze beetle caught my eye. After spending some time later identifying it, I settled on Crysolina banksi.

Chrysolina banksi

Chrysolina banksi

Day 12  and I was strimming the vegetation back from the permissive path, all the rain was causing the long grass to flop down over the path. After finishing the strimming I walked back down the permissive path to see what was around. The permissive path has a great display of wildflowers which is keeping insects very happy. I recorded a video of 2 bumblebees enjoying the tufted vetch and a cetti’s warbler singing a few seconds in as an added bonus. Unfortunately I can’t add the video to the blog, but here is a still from the video.

bumblebee and tufted vetch video still.MP4

2 bumblebees enjoying the tufted vetch

Day 13, back at Blashford for the Thursday volunteer group, in drizzly conditions (a rarity for the Thursday group). we were doing a lot of therapeutic sorting in the yard, making it much neater and tidier. Right at the end of the session after having moved another load of metal, the volunteers showed me where some of the bee orchids are. They are a beautiful orchid, sure to brighten even the greyest day. Bee orchids self pollinate in the U.K. as the bee they have evolved to mimic isn’t found in the U.K. Our native bees still get lured to them thinking they’ve found a mate, but have to leave without success.

Bee orchid

Bee orchid

Day 14, a Friday and I held a work party at Fishlake Meadows. There isn’t typically a huge amount of work to do at Fishlake Meadows through the summer, other than strimming the path edges. However I ended up with several odd jobs to get through, mainly in preparation for the cattle. The volunteers did a great job, getting 2 pasture pumps set up, checking a fence line, cutting back larger vegetation from the canal path, clearing the views from the screens and putting up 4 frames with bird identification tiles in. The tiles are interchangeable so can be updated through the year.

Bird tiles on screen 2

Much clearer views over the large lake and bird ID tiles

Bird tiles on screen

Improved view through to the smaller pond and the bird tiles

Day 15 was a day off at home, carrying out some “life admin” as I like to call it. Fortunately I was able to sit with good views of my back garden and our bird feeders, which have been very busy recently. Several of the neighbours have lovely mature gardens, so there are families of blue tits, starlings and house sparrows nearby. The house sparrows are particularly numerous, and swamped the bird feeder, at one point there were 7 at the same time, not leaving any room for the collared dove.

bird feeder in my garden

House sparrows and collared dove on my bird feeders

Day 16 and another busy day at home, when returning from the shops I noticed a foxglove growing just under the kitchen window. A first for my garden, presumably from some wildflower seeds sown a few years ago. I find it very pleasing to see some different species appearing in the garden, I don’t manage as much time out there as I’d like. As we know however, this is often just the ticket for our wildlife, if I managed more “tidying” and “sorting” maybe the biodiversity and invertebrate numbers out there would drop.

Foxglove in my garden

Foxglove in my front garden

This week is a bit of a strange week for me, I have 2 evening meetings, so 2 late starts, but that does give me the chance to have a walk around Fishlake Meadows in the late afternoon/early evening. I don’t normally manage to have a walk round at that time, so I’m intrigued to see if I see anything a bit different.

Monday 21st May

On Monday 20th May I took a walk around Fishlake Meadows after 2 and a half weeks off. I couldn’t believe how much had changed in such a short time. The thing that struck me the most were how many more flowers were out in bloom. There really is a wonderful array of flowers at Fishlake Meadows at the moment.

Walking along the canal I couldn’t believe how much greener the canal bank looked, and spotted this wonderful hart’s-tongue fern. Just across the canal from it, is where the culvert from the new houses flows in to the canal. I often see a pair of grey wagtails feeding along the flow of water there, but the vegetation has grown up quickly and covers the view now, I’m sure the grey wagtails appreciate the privacy though.

Harts tongue fern

Hart’s-tongue fern

Either side of the canal path there were lots of insects buzzing around the plants and flowers. Plenty of butterflies were in view, mainly whites, with some peacocks and commas. From the canal path I could see dense patches of yellow flag iris around the pools near the permissive path and I couldn’t wait to get a closer look.

Getting towards Ashley Meadow I could see that there was a huge spread of buttercups in flower, looking beautiful. I went in to Ashley Meadow to see what else was coming in to flower. I was rewarded with seeing red clover, common comfrey, cut-leaved cranesbill and 2 southern marsh orchids, although I’m sure there were more.

Buttercups in ashley meadow

Buttercups in Ashley Meadow

Red clover

Red clover

Common comfrey white

White common comfrey

Common Comfrey purple

Pink/purple common comfrey

cut-leaved cranesbill

Cut-leaved cranesbill

Southern marsh orchid Ashley Meadow1

Southern marsh orchid coming in to flower

Walking along the east/west path there were lots of warblers singing away, including a grasshopper warbler, sounding just as you’d imagine with its rapid fire clicks. At the corner near the gate in to the permissive path a hawthorn is in full flower. This one is quite pink and stands out beautifully.

Hawthorn blossom

Hawthorn in flower

Heading on down the permissive path, being shouted at by lots of cetti’s warblers I noticed even more flowers, this time 2 different vetches. Common vetch with its larger deep pink/purple flowers and tufted vetch with its smaller multitude of flowers tightly packed together.

Common vetch

Common vetch

Tufted vetch

Tufted vetch

There were then more buttercups, one with a lovely, shiny, male swollen-thighed beetle on it. Insects were clearly enjoying the warm weather as there was another beetle enjoying this chickweed flower, on closer inspection I think this may be a female swollen-thighed beetle.

Buttercup with male swollen-thighed beetler

Male swollen-thighed beetle

Chickweed spp with beetle

Beetle on chickweed flower, possibly female swollen-thighed beetle

Near to the screens in the ditch I always enjoy seeing the sublime blue of the water forget-me-not, its such a rich, beautiful blue. Photos never quite seem to do it justice.

water forget-me-not

Water forget-me-not

From the screens themselves, the yellow flag iris were truly impressive, and looks like more will be coming in to flower soon. A female mallard was very close to the screen with one duckling that had been resting in one of the vegetation tussocks.

Female mallard and duckling from screen

Female mallard and duckling

yellow flag iris from the screen

Yellow flag iris

The wildlife delights weren’t quite over for me, as I walked back along the permissive path a cuckoo began calling from very close by. Fishlake Meadows seems to be a very good site for cuckoo, with up to 5 being recorded again this year.

cuckoo

It was great to spend time just exploring Fishlake Meadows and really taking time to study the flowers and insects when I often end up just focusing on birds. The reserve is wonderful for a whole host of wildlife.

Yellow flag iris on pool near permissive gate

Yellow flag iris around pool near the permissive path gate.

 

Birdsong central!

Fishlake Meadows is absolutely spectacular at the moment, there is so much to see and hear that I barely know what to focus on when I’m there!

We have been lucky to have some very special visitors to the reserve in recent weeks. A glossy ibis has been around for a few weeks now, often in the paddocks to the east of the canal and sometimes showing well at the screens. I believe this is the first time a glossy ibis has been reported at the reserve. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start to visit Fishlake Meadows more regularly, the habitat is ideal for them with lots of shallow pools and muddy areas for feeding. This bird is quite likely to be from the breeding colony in Southern Spain as they quite regularly winter in Britain.

Glossy Ibis photo by David Thelwell

Glossy ibis photo by David Thelwell

There has also been a male garganey seen regularly on the pool in front of the screens, the males in particular are very attractive with a distinctive white eye stripe across their brown head. They are slightly larger than teal and are summer visitors to the UK, wintering in Africa. They are typically very secretive so its wonderful so many people have had good views.

Male garganey photo by David Thelwell

Male garganey photo by David Thelwell

On Wednesday I had a walk around the reserve with some of the volunteer wardens, we were treated to the song of lots of warblers, all trying to sing the loudest and protect their spot. Lots of sedge warbler, reed warbler, cetti’s warbler, garden warbler and blackcap all singing away. They are typically quite difficult to get a view of so just standing quietly and listening to all the singing is lovely.

The flowers at Fishlake Meadows are really coming through now, in particular, cuckoo flowers, they seem to be everywhere. They are the food plant of the orange tip butterfly caterpillar and there are lots of the butterflies around at the moment. Cuckoo flowers favour damp meadows and ditches, so Fishlake Meadows is ideal for them.

Cuckoo flower

Cuckoo flower, also known as lady’s smock

I also spotted a flower I’m not familiar with, which I had some help identifying as Barbarea vulgaris or common winter-cress. There is a lot of it coming in to flower either side of the permissive path. There were also lots of buttercup species in flower, many of them being visited by lots of insects.

Common winter-cress

Common winter-cress

Buttercup spp

Another sign that spring is hurtling towards summer is that there are mallard ducklings along the canal again. I counted 8 ducklings with the female all feeding and chirping away. Many cuckoos have been seen and heard, at the moment the highest record is 5, which were all seen at the same time. Other birds to keep an eye out for are hobby’s and swifts which have both been recorded again recently.

Mallard ducklings on canal

 

Slime mould – A new kingdom

A week or so ago, on a piece of wood, next to the east/west path at Fishlake Meadows, I spotted this wonderful slime mould. Originally considered fungi, slime moulds are now classified in to a completely different kingdom. Slime moulds are formed by the fusion of single cells and are multi-nucleate. When slime moulds form the visible globule (as shown in the photo below), they are able to move…with purpose! Many studies have been carried out with slime mould, one study discovered that they always chose the shortest path in a maze leading to a food source. If you see one, take a photo, leave it for a while, and when you return it will probably have changed shape.

Slime mould

This slime mould is in its reproductive phase, the smooth white silvery surface develops before enteridium lycoperdon splits open and exposes masses of brown spores underneath. These spores then disperse by wind and rain until they are basically all gone. Enteridium lycoperdon is also known as the false puffball and is one of the more common species of slime mould.

slime mould 1 week on