The Whitlingham Bird Report 2017 can be viewed or downloaded here. For previous years (2012-2016) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

You may also be interested in Chris Durdin's Thorpe Marsh Wildlife Report for 2017, which is available

WHITLINGHAM: Common Bird's-nest fungus

25th November 2018

Whilst at Guybon's Wood, Anne had told me that she had seen some Common Bird's-nest fungi on an old woodpile at Whitlingham. It was the Sunday after before I had a chance to nip down and have a look, and initially I struggled to find them. I had previously seen this species growing all over some woodchips, so that was where I initially concentrated, only to realise they were actually growing on some old wooden boards. Not the most photogenic specimens, but a new 'patch' fungus for me and always nice to see.

NORWICH: Autumn in Earlham Cemetery

18th November 2018

On Sunday the Friends of Earlham Cemetery held their monthly walk, themed around autumn in anticipation of there not being much fungi about. This was prudent, as there wasn't much about at all. There was quite a big group, including some new attendees, so Jeremy spent much of his time explaining about the cemetery whilst Vanna, Gary & I kept an eye out for things of interest. A bit of rough grassland near one of the areas of war graves held some Field Blewits, and one old tree had five or six different species around, including Shaggy Scalycap and Fenugreek Stalkball.

Of the handful of leaf mines found there was a nice example of Stigmella tityrella on Beech, and Ectoedemia subbimaculella on Oak was new for the cemetery. Highlight of the walk was a leaf mine in Daisy leaves caused by Liriomyza pusilla, a species I have been keeping an eye out for.

NORTH NORFOLK: Fungi at Guybon's Wood

17th November 2018

The penultimate fungus study group foray of the year saw us in north Norfolk to visit Guybon's Wood, part of the usually private Swanton Novers complex. Tony, Steve & Yvonne were all absent, so the rest of us had to pull our weight to ensure we maximised our recording time.

We had a good mixture of regular attendees and less experienced folk, and spreading out we soon started to call out species, gamely recorded by Steve & Gill. Neil located a Pseudoclitocybe known as The Goblet, one of the identification features of which is that it can have forked gills. I had a look and saw a forked gill - it's always nice when species match their descriptions. Bleeding Conifer Crust was also seen nearby, along with a carpet of Slender Clubs and several Pipe Clubs.

Having Stewart with us meant we also recorded quite a bit of microfungi on plants, of which Laurel Speckle was new for me. I found a tiny orange cup on Larch twigs that I was able to key out at home as Larch Disco. Something I think I've seen before but not identified was Powderpuff Bracket (Postia ptychogaster), and some Sycamore leaves had been heavily marked by Cristulariella depraedens.

Whilst making sure we didn't leave anyone behind, we saw Mike taking photographs of the canopy. With our naturalists outlook we initially assumed there was a bird up there, before realising that actually it was just really beautiful light.

I recorded a few Agromyzids and we also saw an interesting scale insect that I've not got round to identifying yet. After a stop for lunch we located several slime moulds, christening the first Baked Bean Slime Mould (more formally Badhamia foliicola), Trichia decipiens and Ceratiomyxa fruiticulosa.

The species list continued to grow - I spotted some old Birch Polypores with undersides covered in Ochre Cushion, whilst Yellowing Russula was a species I don't see often. Fenugreek Stalkballs seem to have had a good year, whilst some Ash keys yielded two new species for me, both tiny black specks of different sizes. Lilac Dapperling (Cystolepiota bucknallii) was also new, a powdery purple fungus with a smell of coal gas. We began to head back, but it wasn't long before over half of the group were out of sight. It's always a risk leaving a dawdling group (what if they see something really exciting?) but keen to get home I decided to head back at a normal pace. I had a cup of tea at the car and they had still not emerged from the edge of the woods, so I think I took the correct option. Some of them might still be there now.

WHITLINGHAM: November WeBS count, mines & fungi

11th November 2018

Back to Whitlingham for the November WeBS count, and I was hopeful of seeing four Goosander that had been present all week. Of course they had departed at some point the day before. A female Red-crested Pochard was present, having been found by Gary the day before, but was elusive spending most of the time out of site in the bay on the north side of the main island. A flock of Siskins and some flyover Meadow Pipits were also noted. I checked the Black-headed Gulls for ringed birds, and found one Finnish metal-ringed gull, that frustratingly I could only partially read (from the part code it appears to be one of the regular birds).

Key counts (Great Broad & Little Broad):
Mute Swan: 20 (2017: 19, 2016: 30)
Gadwall:152 (2017: 143, 2016: 112)
Mallard: 56 (2017: 65, 2016: 64)
Shoveler: 4 (2017: 12, 2016: 11)
Pochard: 31 (2017: 28, 2016: 7)
Tufted Duck: 197 (2017: 343, 2016: 194)
Cormorant: 35 (2017: 47, 2016: 30)
Coot: 143 (2017: 146, 2016: 254)

What we can see from these counts is that basically everything is unremarkable! With the exception of Shoveler numbers being in single-figures, each species closely mirrors data from either 2017 or 2016. So whilst Tufted Duck numbers are much lower than last year, they are very similar to the previous one.

I added a couple of new leaf mining moths to both mine and the Whitlingham list, with Ectoedemia intimella in Sallow and Ectoedemia heringi in Oak. There was a handful of fungi around the broad too, including Shaggy Ink Cap, Crimped Gill (Plicatura crispa) and Stubble Rosegill.

YARE VALLEY: Strumpshaw fungi 2

4th November 2018

Sunday was the second of my two fungi walks at Strumpshaw, and I arrived a bit early to search for a leaf-mining moth in fallen Aspen leaves. The species is Ectoedemia argyropeza, and the mines are inconspicuous except for a relatively small window when the leaves have turned dark and fallen, leaving a 'green island' caused by chemicals secreted by the larva that prevent the tree reabsorbing the chlorophyll in the leaf. I managed to find one mine, which was enough to add the species to the reserve list.

After a short delay for some of the walk participants to arrive we set off into the woods. Whilst waiting I had noticed some Slender Clubs growing below the trees at reception, and a bit further along the path we saw a Blue Roundhead. Into a clearing a bit further along and there was a nice display of Wolf's Milk Slime Mould, followed by some Upright Coral.

Further round we continued to see a good range of species, including some not seen on the October walk. These included Artist's Bracket (identified by the galls of the fly Agathomyia wankowiczii that only occur on this species), Spring Hazelcup (as the name suggests unusual at this time of year) and Common Eyelash fungus.

WHITLINGHAM: Some leaf mines & fungi

28th October 2018

A few hours free on Sunday afternoon saw me head to Whitlingham. I had a look over the Great Broad in case there were any storm-driven seabirds, but it was much the same as it had been at the WeBS count, with a few more Tufted Ducks and Coot. I then turned my attention to the wooded areas, where I racked up about 20 moth leaf mines, including several patch firsts.

 Ectoedemia occultella in Birch
 Phyllonorycter tristrigella in Elm
 Stigmella sakhalinella in Birch

There wasn't an awful lot of fungi around, but I found some Wrinkled Peach fungus in an area where I had seen them previously, and Parasola auricoma was a new Whitlingham one for me. I also saw a nice looking slime mould on some fallen Lime tree fruits, which was identified online as Diachea leucopodia.

Of the non-lepidopteran mines there were several beetles - Rhampus oxycanthae on Hawthorn, Rhampus pulicarius on Sallow and a Sphaeroderma sp on thistle. Saving the best until last, a mine of Phytomyza fallaciosa in Creeping Buttercup was a new record for Norfolk.

NORTH NORFOLK: Holt fungus foray

Late October 2018

Despite spending quite a bit of time during the autumn looking for fungi, I don't get round to going on many public forays anymore. Tony Leech was leading one at Holt C.P. for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Cathy & Margaret came too so Rose could attend her first foray. It had been ages since I had been to the CP via the Hempstead Road entrance so I had forgotten that bit was hilly, making for some interesting buggy-pushing (which didn't get any better on the gorse-laden Lowes), but we did see a good range of fungi to make up for any diffculties.

One of the highlights was the range of boletes seen, 5 species in all including Scarletina Bolete (the commonest of the ones with bright red pores instead or yellow), Peppery Bolete and Mottled Bolete (which bruises a bright greeny-blue at the base). We saw quite a bit of Nail fungus (Poronia punctata), although at a stage where the black specks on the surface weren't visible. Unfortunately I didn't photograph the one species that was new to me, Burgundydrop Bonnet, as I didn't realise at the time that I'd not seen it before.

 Scarletina Bolete
 Mottled Bolete
 Nail Fungus
Fly Agaric

Afterwards we headed to Natural Surroundings for lunch, which was great as always.