Monday, 24 November 2014

Wildlife Wanderings - Bramblefields LNR 22/11/14

Despite the threat of rain our monthly wander was a wonderful success, with 12 of us gathering at Bramblefields Local Nature Reserve, hoping to spot the arrival of redwings and fieldfares.  Both are types of thrush that make a winter migration from Scandanavia down to us here in the South East, in search of food to keep them going through the winter.

Whilst we saw a fair few blackbirds and wood pigeons and a couple of spritely squirrels, we didn't manage to see any of the migratory thrushes.  But we did have a fungal extravaganza.

Photo Credit: Oscar Gillespie

Whilst at first we only came across a typical brown jobby, of a mushroom, that we didnt manage to illuminate with a name using the field guide.

Photo Credit: Oscar Gillespie

Then one of our party managed to get her eye in and suddenly we found alsorts of fantastic mushrooms and slimemoulds.  Another couple of the troupe helped us to attach some names to the specimens. We found Sulphur tuft and these amazing Candlesnuff fungus (below) coming up out of the ground and out of rotting twigs.

Candlesnuff fungus - Photo Credit: Graihagh Jackson

We found some growing on the climbing frames, which we observed with gruesome curiosity through a hand lens and then we found, to my GREAT excitement, a pair of earthstar fungus.  Something I had regularly recognised in field guides but never seen in the flesh.

Earthstar (possible collared) - Photo Credit: Graihagh Jackson
But there were more grotesque sights to be found as we stumbled upon, what we could only describe as Giant's snot (not a name that centuries of naturalists had put in the field guide).  This gelatinous goo was some kind of slime mould or fungal body, but we are not quite sure what.  If you know what it is, please do get in touch.

[Giant's snot] - Photo Credit: Graihagh Jackson

And for the grand finale, a treacherous end succumb this bird, when a Sparrowhawk captured it, brought it to the ground and plucked off its feathers.  A ring of feathers like this (below) is a distinguishable sign of a Sparrowhawk kill.  We discussed whether this was wood pigeon, a more common prey for the Sparrowhawk, or some kind of partridge or pheasant, due to some of the feathers being more like that of a fowl bird.

Sparrowhawk feeding evidence - Photo Credit: Graihagh Jackson.

All in all a rather gory, yet fascinating, ramble through Bramblefields nature reserve.


Wildlife wanderings is a friendly and informal gathering of local people who would like to get to know their green spaces better. We meet once a month at a local nature reserve, park or urban wildlife site and share our knowledge as we investigate signs of wildlife and the changing seasons.  All are welcome.  Simply keep an eye on the Transition events page and the newsletter for up and coming events.

Big Thank You to Oscar Gillespie and Graihagh Jackson ( for the photos.

1 comment:

  1. So it turns out the Giant's Snot, is in fact.... at type of Exidia spp. Not quite sure which one, maybe Exidia thuretiana or Exidia nucleata But it is certainly a jelly fungus - wahoo.