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Pardosa amentata
find out more... Pardosa amentata male and female Copyright: Unknown

Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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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


Mon 4th November 2013 16:15 by Graham Smith
October 27th-November 2nd
This forum is being under used, Such a shame. The so-called Storm of St Jude (the God of Lost Causes) came and went on October 28th. As usual a few unfortunates were in the wrong place at the wrong time but here at Ingatestone the effects were minimal: the electricity supply was cut off for about five hours and a few trees came down, blocking minor roads for a while. Oh yes, and one of my perspex greenhouse panels disappeared into the void, luckily - or so it would seem - without decapitating anyone when it descended. What is probably the greatest lost cause is that the media (including dear old Auntie) will one day re-develop a sense of proportion. Unlikely anytime soon in this age of hyperbole when "absolutely" seems to have replaced a simple "yes" as the commonest form of affirmative. "Did you enjoy that piece of cake?". Absolutely! "There was a heavy apple crop this year, wasn't there"? "Absolutely"! Drives me mad.

The Club's Fungi Forays have now drawn to a close, the final one being the Waxcap Foray Last Saturday, November 2nd. It has been one of the best seasons for many years, the frequent rain and mild weather creating ideal conditions for them. Our opening foray in mid-September - to Monks Wood, Epping - produced 133 species including a number of rarities such as the aptly named Destroying Angel Amanita virosa, a pure white member of this dangerous group of fungi. Geoffrey Kibby, who was on the foray, had not seen it in the Forest for 45 years yet we found five of them in a few hours. None of the other forays quite matched this one but I was just as pleased with this Collared Earthstar, a much commoner species which we found during a visit to Warley Place EWT Reserve on October 29th.

Geastrum triplex Copyright: Graham Smith

One of the best ways to enjoy natural history is to potter. Potter about in the garden. Potter about in a wood. Potter along a seawall. Don't hurry. Take your time. See what comes along. On 30th I pottered about in Stoneymore Wood, Mill Green gathering chestnuts. There has been an absolutely massive crop this autumn, as with so many other berries and fruits. On second thoughts there may have only been a massive amount, or even or even just a large number............... Anyway, it was a beautiful October day - warm in the sun - and having collected my fill I sat on the bench overlooking the last remnant of heather grassland on the edge of the adjacent Common and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. Jays were constantly ferrying acorns between the wood and nearby pasture; a pair of Buzzards circled high overhead, their mewing calls reaching me faintly on the breeze; and a Comma butterfly came and joined me for a while in the sunsshine.

Polygonia o-album Copyright: Graham Smith

The Waxcap foray produced 8-10 species in each of the three sites we visited - Fryerning Churchyard, Chelmsford Crematorium and Little Leighs Churchyard - and 12 species in total. Waling around a churchyard in muddy boots and old clothes doesn't bother me but walking around a Crematorium makes me feel self-concious. There is no logic to it. Or is there?

Hygrocybe calyptriformis Copyright: Graham Smith

This was the only locality where we found the beautiful Pink Waxcap, Hygrocybe calyptriformis, at least twenty specimens adorning the grass between the graves. After the foray was over we retired to Tony's house for our AGM and laid plans for the next season!

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