Friday, 12 January 2018

Slow progress

Today the weather remained grey and chilly but having some spare time I made a second visit to Matt Moser's land to do a spot more recording. Realistically not a lot would be discovered but by dint of much rummaging through dead leaves and grass tussocks I raised the total this year from six to fourteen. All were common or even ubiquitous species.
I was surprised to see an acorn still sitting in its cupule. However, closer examination showed that it was diseased and sealed in by some sort of gooey matter.
An acorn clings to its cupule at the edge of Matt Moser's land.
Between Daventry and Newnham, 12 January, 2018
Gate posts and tree stumps were bearing interesting lichens and I was again tempted to gather a few specimens but was resolute. Even so, I couldn't resist checking out a Cladonia species. These are known as pixie-cup lichens and the species photographed is probably Cladonia pyxidata - but if only it were that simple. It belongs the awkward Cladonia pyxidata-chlorophaea group and I will suspend judgement on it.
Pixie-cup lichens were present on decaying stumps.
12 January, 2018
A number of ant hills were present, almost certainly the work of the Yellow Meadow Ant, Lasius flavus. I plan to investigate these hummocks later in the year, not so much for the ants, but in the past I have found other interesting invertebrates at the loose soil-grass interface. The temperature in the hill can be several degrees above that of nearby soil so maybe a little of this heat escapes to create something of a micro-climate, encouraging thermophilous species.
Ant-hills, probably created by the Yellow Meadow-ant.
12 January, 2018
Anyway, as I said, the list for Matt's farmland now stands at fourteen species, meaning I only have around two thousand species to go! For the record my list includes 2 woodlice, 1 millipede,1 harvestman, 4 spiders, 1 true bug and 5 beetles. Five hundred by the end of the year would seem a realistic target.


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