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October 2018

posted 4 Nov 2018, 01:48 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 4 Nov 2018, 01:56 ]
waxcap

Normally in October, the waxcap fungi are putting on a beautiful display but sadly this year, apart from a few parrot waxcaps (in photo), hardly any have appeared. After a bit of a search on social media, I soon realise that we are not the only ones suffering from a lack of waxcaps and this seems to be a nationwide phenomenon; one which Natural England are monitoring. I assume it is due to the dry summer, but I only hope that next Autumn will be a bumper year!

ladybird

Whilst there may not be many waxcaps about, there are a lot of ladybirds! They can be found on the bramble, in sheltered and sunny spots. Something I didn't appreciate is that there are 46 ladybird species in the UK, of which 23 are readily identifiable as ladybirds (It is amazing what you learn!). I think (but am not certain) that the one's on the bramble are Harlequin ladybirds. These are an invasive species and are outcompeting some of our native ladybirds.

ashkeys

A sign of Autumn (apart from the leaves changing colour) are the ripening fruits of the trees and hedgerows. Whilst the hawthorn has bright red berries, the ash tree has the slightly less conspicuous seed heads, known as keys, which turn from green to brown in the Autumn. Seemingly, these fruits are sought after by wild food foragers; not only can the seeds in the keys be eaten, but the whole key can be pickled and used as a replacement for capers or olives. Hmm, not sure on this one - think I will give it a miss!