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
Thu 25th September 2014 17:51 by Peter Harvey
This will be Linyphia triangularis, one of the larger linyphiid spiders and typically found on tall herbage and shrubs in late summer / autumn.
Thu 25th September 2014 17:17 by Colin Brodie
Spider for identification please
I finally managed to get a picture of this spider last night. Previously, it had been upside-down whenever I wanted to take the picture. It is about 5-6mmm long in the body, and has a black underside. The web seems very fine, with no symmetry or real design. It is in amongst the leaves of a Trachelospermum jasminoides Any help with identification appreciated. Colin
Sat 20th September 2014 17:03 by Graham Smith
Fryerning Green is a small triangular patch of grassland - about 50 yards long on each side - that directs traffic either to Blackmore, on the left, or Mill Green and Highwood on the right.
The fine oak tree pictured here, which dominates the Green, is younger than it looks. It was in fact planted in 1936 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward V111, so is just under eighty years old. The late Charlie Cox, who was a boy at the time, told me that there was a bit of a fuss as it was not an English bred oak but imported from abroad, where I'm not sure, possibly Spain. It is certainly a little unusual as the branches sweep down - almost touching the ground in places - before curving skywards towards the tip and they form a deeply shaded canopy that covers a good two thirds of the green. It is a magnificent specimen for what in terms of oak longevity is a mere adolescent. It has a long way to catch up with the oldest oak in the parish - in the grounds of nearby Fryerning Hall - the canopy of which can just be seen above the signpost in the photograph. Legend has it that it was mentioned in the Domesday Book but Mark Hanson measured it at 26` round the trunk, which suggests an infancy dating back to Elizabethan times, so it is a venerable tree nonetheless.
Edward V111's oak shelters a remarkable collection of fungi. During the past ten years I have recorded around 25 species there, including two, Chalciporus (Rubinoletus) rubinus and Boletus moravicus, which are described by Geoffrey Kibby as rare species that inhabit warm southern locations under oak.
Fryerning Green - situated at the top of a hill on the Bagshot Sands - is anything but warm on a February morning when an east wind is blowing but perhaps the down-swept branches create their own micro-climate. More like Spain! In August another unusual species turned up, Amanita franchettii, one that is a little less rare but according to the BMS database had not been recorded in Essex before. Or so I thought. It now appears that Tony Boniface has gazumped me!
He found it at Hockley during a EFC foray a few years ago. The pale yellow cap with white veil fragments; and yellow warts on the edge of the annulus and the bulbous base of the stem make this an easy species to identify. I'm not sure whether it is poisonous but it would be a brave, or foolhardy gourmet who ate anything in this Genus. As Peter Marren put it - " all fungi are edible - once".........
Tue 16th September 2014 08:52 by Mary Smith
more on Red Bartsia
Thank you very much for these beautiful pictures. Over Essex as a whole it is very common, but often overlooked as it flowers at the end of the summer, usually August and September. It is semi-parasitic, and in a dry year it never grows very large because its host is not growing well either. Although the flowers are very much coloured, somehow it is rarely very conspicuous, another reason for being overlooked.
Fri 12th September 2014 21:47 by Peter Pearson
Red Bartsia (Odontites vernus)