Sunday, 30 December 2012

Thorpe St Andrew Marshes, Christmas Holiday

Events at work have severely restricted my ability to get out and about recently but at least I managed a couple of visits to Thorpe St Andrews Marshes during the holiday period.
My first visit was on Boxing Day morning taking advantage in a lull before a family get together in the afternoon. It proved to be rather uneventful other than the discovery of two groups of fungi on a felled Poplar tree. They appeared wonderfully pristine and new as if only very recently formed.

Having virtually no knowledge of fungi I obtained assistance (thanks James, Chris) to identify it as Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes). My photograph failed to show the gills and stems to make this ID certain so in in a follow up visit on the 30th December I photographed the underside.

The gills are prominent and the stems are dark brown and velvety (hence the name "Velvet Shank").
They are apparently very resiliant to low temperatures which explains their presence in December and are edible, although I think I'll definately pass on that!
I must admit the discovery of a relatively common but attractive fungi and the interesting little bit of research that I've done on the web have inspired me a bit! Subsequently I have purchased a couple (for cross referencing) of decent reference books for future fungi related discoveries.

Thorpe St Andrews Marshes at the moment is not for the faint hearted, at least if you intend to walk the circuit. Water levels were as high on the 30th December as they have been for some while. The dykes are flooded covering large sections of the marsh footpath with surface water. I measured 8 inches of water in the gate entrance near the cattle pen. Wellington boots are a must!
The flooding appears to be having a somewhat detrimental effect on the birdlife diversity at the moment. It will be interesting to see what the new year brings!