Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brown birch bolete, Leccinum scabrum

This project entered its 9th year on 15 September and today I had a find worthy of the event.  In the north west corner of the Square Metre itself was a fine example of the brown birch bolete (Leccinum scabrum).

20110918-20 BHW walk Metre 003 The toadstool is found with birch and must have a mycorrhizal association with one, or both, of the birches in Emthree, one of which is now of substantial size.

The top of this fungus was wet with rain, justifying the name of penny bun toadstool, but the underneath and stipe were characteristic of the species.

20110918-20 BHW walk Metre 006I am sure it will attract many fungus gnats (Mycetophilidae and relatives) and maybe other species of insect I will see what I can breed out from the numerous larvae that invariably burrow their way through the flesh of these toadstools as they mature.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A microfungus new for East Sussex?

Today, in the cold and the damp most untypical of early September, I found several leaves of bugle (Ajuga reptans) that had been affected by the microfungus Ramularia ajugae. According to the NBN this has been recorded from several places in West Sussex by I can find none for East Sussex.

 20110905 Metre Ramularia ajugae 006 

20110905 Metre Ramularia ajugae 012

The fungus makes purplish bordered patches in the leaves that turn into perforations.

I also noted that one of the ragwort leaves was being mined by Liriomyza strigata, a fly I last recorded in Emthree in 2003.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Summer's end

20110904 Metre 001

Emthree, not surprisingly, has an air of neglect about it, partly because it is the end of summer and partly due to the fact that I have not been paying it the close attention it deserves through much of this year. Yet it has remained important in my mind, it is just that sometimes my energy levels seem too low even to walk down the garden. I was 65 in 2003 when I started this project, but now I am 73 ....

Anyway, all the usual things are still in place and mostly doing well. Flowers out include ragwort, fleabane, smooth hawksbeard, herb-robert, knapweed and square-stalked St. Johnswort.

20110904 Metre birch trunk 005

The trees are increasing shade levels and the large birch now has whitening bark at its base while the ash, now about one metre tall, looks as vigorous as it has ever done. The sallow though is indeed sallow with prematurely yellow and rather unhealthy looking leaves.

20110904 Metre Fraxinus ash 006

20110904 Metre yellow sallow leaves 004 There is something like a pale greenish yellow powdery mildew on some of the box leaves and I found two species new to Emthree, both identified from leaf mines: in a bramble leaf the glossy bramble pigmy moth, Stigmella splendidissimella (even harder to spell that ‘Mississippi’) and the agromyzid fly Phytomyza conyzae, in fleabane leaves, a new record for East Sussex I think.

20110904 Metre Stigmella splendidissimella mine 008

The mine of S. splendidissimella (above) is of characteristic shape which makes it distinguishable from that of S. aurella which is very common on bramble leaves.

A cool, damp September day, and I was bitten on the back of my hand between the thumb and the index finger by a mosquito, Anopheles plumbeus.