The Brown Argus Aricia agestis is another new butterfly that Trust members have found in Ox Close Wood and in fields in East Keswick. This is great news – showing that the management of our reserves is being rewarded with these successes (see also Silver-washed Fritillary below). The caterpillars’ foodplant is usually Common Rock Rose but more recently they have started to use various geraniums including Meadow Cranesbill of which there is plenty in the parish.
Dead men’s fingers seen in Collingham. We may think of fungi as an autumn phenomenon but they are present all year round… we often see St. George’s mushroom on the bluebell walk in Ox Close. Here are two often overlooked summer fungi. On the left is Dead Man’s Fingers Xylaria polymorpha which grows on dead wood and causes spalting;- the decorative black lines found in some wood. On the right is the Fluted Bird’s Nest Cyathus striatus which tends to grow on soil with wood chip. The “eggs” at the bottom of the nest are spore packets. The cups have evolved so that raindrops shoot the spore packets up to a metre away. They trail a sticky filament that catches on vegetation, ready for ingestion by herbivores and dispersal to new sites. Neither is very showy, but they are interesting!