Thursday, 12 March 2015

Kentle Wood 3

I have written to the Woodland Trust asking for authorisation to do an invertebrate survey of Kentle Wood. I am still waiting for a response so today, on my third visit, the only specimens I took were taken with a camera.

As I have mentioned before, Kentle Wood is new to the landscape, having only been planted about fifteen years ago. Its flora and fauna are therefore inevitably limited, nay impoverished, and I wasn't expecting to see anything sensational. Nor did I.

The ground flora of Kentle Wood is
very limited.  12 March, 2015

The young trees have grown rapidly and the lower branches, robbed of light, have died off leaving the ground littered with these dead branches. The trees stand in regimented rows and, although the lines will become blurred over time, the original planting scheme will always be clear. The ground flora is very limited

Dead branches are in themselves a valuable habitat. Over the decades numerous fungi will make their presence known but already some are very obvious.

Probably Sarcoscypha austriaca. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
12 March, 2015
People who visit woodland with any regularity soon become familiar with the Scarlet Elf Cup, Sarcoscypha austriaca. But unfortunately Ruby Elf Cup, Sarcoscypha coccinea is so similar that microscopic examination of the spores is required for a certain identification. Quite unscientifically I am going for S. austriaca on the grounds that it is the commoner of the two species. I'll bring a specimen home from my next visit.

Turkey-tail, Trametes versicolor on dead wood.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 12 March, 2015

The less problematical Turkey-tail fungus, Trametes versicolor was also present. So common is it that I only include a picture on the grounds that it is rather photogenic. It was occupying the same habitat of fallen branches as the Scarlet Elf Cup.

Xylaria longipes. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
12 March, 2015

Finally we have the charmingly named Dead Moll's Fingers, Xylaria longipes. Common but easily overlooked this was also on dead wood. Xylaria polymorpha is similar.

In the course of lifting dead wood I recorded all four of the common, larger woodlice:

Philoscia muscorum. Not very common in gardens but abundant in the open countryside, this is a glossy, fast-moving creature with a distinct stripe down its back.

Armadillidium vulgare. Well-known to every inquisitive child, it is the only common woodlouse able to roll up and make a more or less perfect sphere.

Porcellio scaber. Matt grey or pinkish it is very common under pieces of wood and often wanders into our houses.

Oniscus ocellus. Larger, flatter and fairly shiny, this is also common under wood. It has a greyish edge to its carapace.

So, with no permit I was limited in what I could record and, although I set out in bright sunshine the weather deteriorated to become dull and cool, so there were few insects about either.

No matter, the year is yet young.

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