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Araniella displicata
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are closed due to the Covid-19 situation, but we are otherwise normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also normally open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.

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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 26th April 2010 18:52 by Graham Smith
Linnet's legacy under attack
April 18th : Linnet's Cottage is situated overlooking the marshes close to St Peter's Chapel, Bradwell on Sea. It was built around 1798 by the Admiralty to accommodate two naval officers, a Lieutenant and a Midshipman, whose job it was to oversee a signalling station on high ground nearby. It appears to have been the naval posting from hell, a surviving letter from 1810 written by one Lieutenant John Leckie to their Lordships about the Midshipman under his command states that : "he went from the station without leave and stayd all night, did not return til nine this Next morning, and was then obliged to go to bed. I talked to him on that business, and he told me that he did not know that he was to ask leave but promised to do so no more. On Thursday last he asked leave to go up to the Village, which he did; on the next evening he asked leave again, which I granted him, and last evening he went away again around five o'clock without leave, and did not return until one past noon this forenoon and so drunk that he went to bed immediately; he is without doubt the most stupid man I know". Happy Days! Around the middle of the century the cottage was taken over by the Linnet family, who were professional Marshmen, making a living largely from wildfowling but also fishing, cockling, samphire gathering etc. In 1860, the original Linnet was one of thirty-two punt gunners who creapt up on a large flock of Brent Geese on the mudflats before letting fly simultaneously and killing no less that 704 of them. They were not too hot on sustainability in those days either! Linnet's Cottage is now rented by one of the founder members of Bradwell Bird Observatory. The garden contains a number of fruit trees planted by the last of the Linnet family to live there, Walter, who died in 1958. The greengages have a flavour that surpasses anything grown commercially, especially when they have been warmed by the sun, temptation sometimes leading to gluttony and dire consequences, but the pain is worth it! Alas, they are now under attack and being killed off branch by branch by the Plum Porecrust, Phellinus tuberculosus, which causes a fatal white rot. The British Fungi Database lists several records from VC19, all but one from Hatfield Forest; the other at Wethersfield, but there are none listed for the south of the County, VC18, where Bradwell is situated. It attacks most species of Prunus and I have also recorded it growing on Japanese Cherry in Margaretting Churchyard, so it may well be commoner than the records suggest. The photograph of the offending fungus was taken in Linnet's garden on 18th April.

Plum Porecrust Phellinus tuberculosus Copyright: G.Smith



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