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Agriopis leucophaearia
find out more... Agriopis leucophaearia (Spring Usher) 4 Copyright: Ben Sale (2010)

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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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This forum has now been more or less replaced by the Club's Facebook page at
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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


Thu 6th January 2011 17:34 by Graham Smith
January 1st 2011 : Ingatestone. A Woodcock was feeding in one of my flowerbeds this morning - the first I have seen in the garden. A good omen for 2011? Huge numbers of these birds have been displaced from their usual woodland haunts by December's deep freeze and have been turning up in all manner of unlikely places - traffic islands, coastal mudflats, suburban plots such as mine, even rooftop gardens in inner cities; anywhere that offers a patch of soft ground where they can feed. Having just read Mary Smith's article in the latest Essex Naturalist concerning the Club's first newsletter, published in 1887, it seems likely that had I been around in those days I would have shot the Woodcock rather than watched it through binoculars! Then again, as an ex-postman, I would not have been allowed to join the Club in the first place. Instead, I would have been carrying the shotgun rather than firing it and pouring tea from a silver teapot for my betters during their sedate progress through the Essex countryside on Field Club excursions. There is a lot to be said for equality, the vacumn flask and 'sanies'!

Only a few soft-bodied fungi have survived the severe frosts, among them Clustered Bonnet Mycena inclinata, Clouded Funnel Clitocybe nebularis and Trooping Funnel Clitocybe geotropa. More typical of this season were Scurfy Twiglet Tubaria furfuracea, growing in abundance in one of Ingatestone's few stubble fields , and Velvet Shank Flammulina velutipes (illustrated) on a fallen Sycamore in The Grove. The best find of the day was a solitary bracket of the Hoof Fungus Fomes fomentarius, growing on a hedgerow oak bordering Handley Barns and Wells & Sheds Farms. This species, formerly found only in abundance in northern Britain, is turning up with increasing frequency in the south and there are a couple of records on the BMS online database from Epping (Martin Ainsworth) and two more in Hatfield Forest, found by Shirley Watson. This, though, is the first record for the Writtle Forest area. Velvet Shank Flammulina velutipes Copyright: Graham Smith

Collected some Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae with a view to dining on them at lunchtime. Several books insist that this unpromising looking species is edible but over the years I have boiled, roasted, baked, grilled and steamed them, all to no avail. Whatever the method they still end up tasting like a bowl of elastic bands! Today I grated them raw and added them to a salad. They certainly added a touch of chewiness to the lettuce and I am currently waiting to see whether there is any kind of explosive reaction with the mince pies that followed!

Happy New Year - and I hope more members start to use this forum which, along with so much else on the website, Peter has laboured long and hard to make a success. Cheers.

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