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January 2017

posted 8 Feb 2017, 03:11 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 8 Feb 2017, 03:38 ]
treestump

It has been five years since I started the monthly diary and sixty posts later, it is still going strong! In my first post of January 2012, I took a photo of one of the trees that had fallen down near the football field. The trunk is still there and what a difference five years make! A lot of the trunk has now rotted away and mosses and some small plants are growing on the trunk. The breakdown of wood is really interesting. A major component of wood is lignin, which is a very indigestible structure and is dependent on white rot fungus to break it down and release important nutrients for other organisms to use. What is fascinating, is that this white rot fungus was not around 350 million years ago, when the trees, that went on to form the coal beds, were growing. Some experts believe that the coal beds would not have formed had this little fungus been around then- what a different world we would live in if that had been the case!

star jelly

There have been some more jelly-like blobs appearing on the Green this month (last seen in January 2013). I contacted the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, who confirmed that this is star jelly. It is likely to be unfertilised frog spawn from female frogs that have been predated by herons. There have been daily sightings of herons on the Green and there are lots of frogs around, so it is the most likely explanation!

In the November post, I mentioned that there had been some badger activity in the vicinity of Pipe Green. Well, guess who I caught on camera a few weeks ago!