The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more
Tue 28th June 2011 18:47 by Mary Smith
First Blackberries of the season?
My mother and I ate 6 ripe blackberries today. I think the type was the garden escape the Himalayan Giant, aka Rubus armeniacus, but June 28 does seem very early even for this species.
Mon 27th June 2011 15:34 by Graham Smith
fungi in June?
Mary : During the past week I have found Agrocybe pediades (if that's what it is still called!) at Blue House reserve and Russula vesca at The Backwarden. But don't worry - there is bound to be a six week dry spell before the Club's autumn forays begin!! Graham
Sun 26th June 2011 15:36 by Mary Smith
fungi in June?
In BWCP on 22 June we found Field Mushroom Agaricus campestris in a field. In my garden on 26 June there were Pink Domecap Calocybe carnea in my lawn. I have seen a few others recently too. Whatever is happening to the fungi? Will there be any in the autumn?
Sun 5th June 2011 12:49 by Graham Smith
A migrant slug
While relocating my garden water butt in March I disturbed three large slugs that were sickly yellow in colour and blotched with brown. More in hope than anticipation I sent off a photo to Simon Taylor, the County Recorder, and much to my surprise he was able to identify my rather poor shot as an Irish Yellow Snail Limacus maculatus. As its English name suggests this species hails from South-east Europe (!) but was first recorded in these islands in Eire, where it is now fairly common and widespread. Whether the origins of my slug are Greece or Ireland it is still a very long walk for a mollusc! They did not arrive alone though, as although there were very few records in Essex until recently Simon reckons they have been popping up all over the place of late. So why not look under a water butt near you. Doubtless their arrival here has been assisted by our blessed nursery trade, which has been instrumental in introducing so many wonderful new species to these isles, but this one, as far is as known, appears to be harmless.
I also disturbed a couple of small snails. Simon was able to narrow these down to either the Garlic Snail Oxychilus allarius or its close relative O. helveticus, the most likely of the two being the latter as the dark mantle appears to be visible through the shell. He suggested that if I found them again I should indulge in a bit of snail molesting as apparently the former, as its name suggests, gives off a strong whiff of garlic when upset whereas the latter has a more phlegmatic temperament and emits only a mild dose of the same substance. Alas, as I was often the only bird ringer left standing on a hot day at the old Romford (Breton's Farm) Sewage Works it is not much help to me as I have not the faintest idea what garlic smells like! Thus, I will have to borrow a nose, as I do when trying to identify some fungi, but at least garlic is a smell familiar to the modern age, unlike the bed bugs, chicken sheds and meal which some mushrooms are said to resemble. I have always found those who own the borrowed noses remarkable tolerant and understanding when it comes to sniffing fungi for me; whether that would extend to molested snails though is another matter!