Monthly Archives: September 2019

Autumn Crocus walk with Julian

Last Saturday (September 21st) we were led by Julian on our annual Autumn Crocus walk in the Bradshaw area of Halifax. Here are a few photos from that day.

Slender blooms can be easily blown over in the September winds.

Just a small portion of the host at Strine’s Beck. We estimated about 1000 blooms in this field! This year there seemed to be more than usual.

3 beauties

A solitary bloom in the sunlight – with attendant insect.

The shadow of the stigma on the outer petals attracted me to this. Note the new bloom emerging at the base. They will continue to bloom until about the middle of October.
Showing the stigma and 2 stamens. The feathery stigma were the source of the prized saffron.

Another shot showing the shadow of the stigma on the outer petals.
We find Swallows nesting in this porch at Holdsworth House every year. This year there were 3 nests. We saw the adult coming to feed this chick although it is already capable of flying and feeding itself.
2019-09-29T11:55:00+01:00September 29th, 2019|0 Comments

Meanwhile….back in Luddenden Dean

Snaketongue Truffleclub (Cordyceps ophioglossoides).
A species that parasitises the False Truffle (Elaphomyces granulatus).
The photo above shows the black fruitbody that is visible above ground.
In younger specimens this may be brownish red, or dirty yellow in colour.
The above image shows the yellow mycelial threads, that connect to the False Truffle.
Specimen shown attached to False Truffle
This specimen shows the spore bearing surface clearly
Rooting Shank (Xerula radicata).
Note the wrinkled cap
This fungus has a long rooting stipe, and grows on buried wood.

The above two images I think are the Sepia Webcap (Cortinarius decipens).

The above is, I think, The Frosty Webcap (Cortinarius hemitricus).
It looks similar to the Pelargonium Webcap, but lacks the geranium leaf scent.

Above the cortina can be seen covering the gills

The above two images are also of a Cortinarius.
Peachy Steve and I have been emailing back and forth about this one.
We think it could be The Blood Red Webcap (Cortinarius sanguineus).
You can just make out remnants of the ‘cortina’ (web-like membrane) on the right hand specimen, in the the first image.

Clustered Toughshank (Collybia confluens)
Note the flattened, downy stipe.

 The above two images are of the Split Fibrecap (Inocybe rimosa)
This fungus has been described as having a meal, or spermatic smell!
The second image clearly shows the radiating fibrils on the cap.
2019-09-19T12:02:00+01:00September 19th, 2019|0 Comments

Fungi from The Scottish Highlands

I know this site is for recording natural history sightings in Calderdale,
but I couldn’t resist posting some photos of my weekend away in Glen Loy.

Purple Stocking Webcap (Cortinarius stillatitius)
This fungus was covered in a mucous-like slime.
You can just make out the purple ‘stocking’ to the stipe. 

Larch Bolete (?Suillus grevillei var. clintonianus)
Angels Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens)

Plums and Custard (Tricholomopsis rutilans)

Pelargonium Webcap (Cortinarius flexipes)
This is easy to identify by the strong odour of geraniums. 

The eternally photogenic Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

 Dusky Puffball (Lycoperdon nigrescens)

Conifer Mazegill (Gloeophyllum sepiarium) 
Note the maze-like pores.

Yellow Staghorn (Calocera viscosa)

Wooly Milkcap (Lactarius torminosus)
When flesh is broken it produces a white, hot tasting milk.

Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius) or could it possibly be a Red-belted Bracket (Fomitopsis pinicola)?
The latter being rare in the British Isles.

And finally….what fungi foray in Scotland would be without The Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)?!
2019-09-17T17:51:00+01:00September 17th, 2019|0 Comments

Pond Dipping session at Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve 14.9.19

We had lots of fun dipping our nets and turning stones over in the water.

This freshwater sponge was under many of the stones just below the weir on the River Calder. We had been given a tip that Crayfish could be seen there but didn’t find any.
This unidentified water plant had globular growths on it. Possibly eggs of an animal, but as they were in lots of different sizes, I thought they were part of the plant. Dredged from the pond with the dipping platform near Tag Cut.

There were many of these little fish, Stone Loaches I believe, definitely a species of loach, in the Calder on a pebbly beach on Brookfoot Loop. A Kingfisher obligingly showed us how it could easily catch them, or another species of fish, very close by. 
Previously I had only seen loaches in the River Dee in North Wales.
The Pond Dipping walk was not very well attended, just five people including the leader, suggesting pond dipping isn’t thought of  as an Autumn activity. The spring sessions are well attended. Apart from the specimens above, we also found many immature newts still with their feathery gills (Reuben was the champion catcher of these,) and water snails, including tiny bivalves, like miniature cockles from the sea, plus lots of insects including large Water Boatmen and Dragonfly larvae.
With many thanks to the Cromwell Bottom team who gave us access to the cabin with hot drinks/ snacks/ ultra-clean toilets and biological reference material. Much appreciated!

2019-09-15T20:39:00+01:00September 15th, 2019|0 Comments

How does a tree branch resist gravity?

We look at tree branches without perhaps realising how they manage to support such massive weights.

It seems that Conifers and Broadleaves have evolved different solutions to the same problem but both of them use what is known as “reaction growth”.

Reaction Wood forms as a response to gravity and has different cell structure to normal wood, giving it extra strength, whilst laying down much wider rings which give extra bulk. The resultant cross section is often elliptical, particularly in conifers (as seen in photo below).

Broadleaved trees produce Tension Wood on the upper side of a branch, pulling the branch upwards.

Whereas Conifers produce Compression Wood on the underside of a branch, pushing the branch upwards.

Tension Wood has more cellulose and contains a specialised gelatinous layer in the cells, which is rubbery in texture.
Compression wood produces much more lignin and this altered, stronger growth has been utilised by hunters in the American Arctic to make bow staves from trees that were otherwise unsuitable.

                   Conifer with large bulge of compressive growth below the sideways trunks

                              Ash tree showing tension wood on the upper side of this huge branch

                            Conifer adapting with compression wood pushing against gravity

Conifer with unusual growth pattern

   Conifer with lost branch showing the wider rings (compression wood) formed on the underside

2019-09-15T17:27:00+01:00September 15th, 2019|0 Comments

More Luddenden Fungi- 29/8/19

The above three images are of the Orange Grisette (Amanita crocea)
The top image shows a specimen emerging from the volval sac.
The middle image shows the striate edges to the orange cap.
The third image shows the stipe covered in cap coloured squamules, and the cream coloured gills.
Although not rare, it is an impressive and beautiful fungi to find.

The above image is of The Charcoal Burner (Russula cyanoxantha)
It has a very variable cap colour, ranging from violet, grey, green and purple,
which can be confusing when trying to identify it.
One key feature is that the gills don’t break easily when rubbed, unlike other Russulas.
2019-09-01T20:15:00+01:00September 1st, 2019|0 Comments
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