Monthly Diary 2024

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January 2024

hairy curtain crust fungus

In last month's post I talked about hairy curtain crust fungi (Stereum hirsutum), and if you wondered why it is so called, then I think this close up photo will explain why. Firstly, it has a very hairy upper surface, giving it a bit of a lovely furry look — who'd have thought that some fungi have hairs! (In contrast the under surface is very smooth). Secondly, the orange brackets have a wavy appearance, which look a bit like a partially drawn curtain. Thirdly, it belongs to a group of fungi that are called "crust" fungi. If you look closely you will see that the fungi is growing directly from the wood and does not have a stem — this is a characteristic of crust fungi. So really, the name of this fungi really does describe it very well!

little egret

I'm delighted that the little egret has spent most of the winter on the Green and the surrounding area, including Beacon Park. The other day, it was focussed on searching for food and it was quite fascinating to watch. The egret was standing very still but then would do a puddling action with its feet, which stirs the sediment in the brook and dislodges any prey, which it then catches with its long beak. Wonderful to see!

Dunnock

Another bird that is quite common to see along the hedgerows of the Green, is the dunnock or hedge sparrow. This little bird also frequents gardens but it is often overlooked as it has a browny grey plumage and skulks around in the undergrowth. However, when the sun comes out and lights up it's feathers, I think you will agree that the plumage is rather spectacular. I just love the markings under the eye - very handsome indeed!