A great community day is happening this weekend on Coldhams Common. There will be events such as a big litter pick, outdoor environmental games for children and guided nature walks around the common.

The event is starting at 10:30am, meeting at the lay by on Barnwell road opposite the pet shop.

Additional information:

Don’t mess with Abbey           www.facebook.com/groups/dontmesswithabbey/

Abbey People                          www.abbeypeople.org.uk

Clean for the Queen 2016      www.cleanforthequeen.co.uk

 

Contact

Jesús Zurdo; email: jesus.zurdo@gmail.com; Tel: 07480 151691

Good news! A never before recorded fungus (for this area) has been spotted at Byron’s pool nature reserve. This wonderful fungus has a rounded head and a shaggy ochre-brown stalk. The fruiting body is produced between September and November but the stalk remains in place throughout the winter months which allows a longer period for possible identification.

The head of the fungi is a mass of spores which have a warty appearance and are brown and spherical in shape.

The species prefers dry and sandy banks or edges of woodland. It is associated with decaying wood partically Elm. It was first named in 1785 in Suffolk and it is now classified as endangered and is fully protected in the UK. It is just one of four species of non-lichenized fungi to receive protection under schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Furthermore it is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) and is included in the English Nature recovery programme.

This stem gall was spotted at 9 Wells nature reserve this week. Home to the larvae of a small wasp this gall is known as Diastrophus rubi and is host specific to the Dewberry or Bramble but has been recorded on Raspberry canes. Galls are very interesting natural phenomenon as they form on plants in response to secreted hormones from mainly insects but they can also be triggered by bacteria and fungus. They are not a sign of disease but consist of healthy plant tissue which is full of nutrients for the growing larvae within. This tissue is also easily digestible for the young larvae. This particular gall would have begun life in the spring as a green elongated swelling punctuated by red pimples indicating the chamber of a larvae. These galls can contain up to two hundred chambers. The gall changes colour from green to yellow to purplish then to light brown with the larvae overwintering inside before emerging the following spring. Once the galls become woody they can stay on the stem for several years.

Autumn and winter are a good time to spot them due to the lack of foliage.

 

 

The elongated swellings are green at first punctated with red pimples that indicates the inner chamber of a larva. In summer the galls go from yellow to purplish to light brown with the larva overwintering inside before emerging the following spring. One gall may contain up to 200 rounded chambers. Once used the galls become woody and can remain on stems for several years

 

This lovely fungus was spotted in Bramblefields Nature reserve today. Velvet Shank is a stump rotting fungus which can also be found on standing deadwood. This edible fungus is a foragers delight this time of year when the colder weather deters most other edible fungi from fruiting. Good examples can still be found well in to January. The latin Flammulina refers to the orange caps which shine like ‘little flames’ in the winter sunshine. The velutipes refers to the stems and is an even more fitting description meaning ‘with velvet legs’. This is exactly what the stems look and feel like. Previously this fungus was mostly associated with dead Elm (of which there was no shortage during the 1970’s and 80’s with the Dutch Elm disease disaster). However they can be found on Ash, Beech, Oaks and other broad leaf trees.

After the preparation last month New Bit was ready to receive its local seeds collected from Cambridgeshire’s donor Coronation meadow. Seeds from Chettisham Meadow included Cowslip and Ox-eye daisy, Common Knapweed, Bird’s foot Trefoil and Lady’s Bedstraw to name a few. It was a great day with lots of volunteers enjoying the chance to establish this meadow for future enjoyment. Some passersby and dog walkers even joined in, taking the opportunity to plant up this meadow which they walk through most days. All who participated are looking forward to watching what comes up in the spring and summer!