The weather forecasters predicted rain so we set off promptly, wondering what treasures the woods would reveal. The first was a fresh Speckled Wood butterfly, basking on a bramble leaf in the hazy sunshine. We thought that it was likely to be a second brood as the earlier specimens are now looking past their best. Another Speckled Wood passed by so our insect rose to meet it, dancing together in the glade. It may have been a female leading to a courting ritual but it was more likely to be a male as there appeared to be a battle of supremacy their flight paths twisting around each other like a Celtic pattern. More erratic than the red arrows but with masterful aerodynamic skills there were no apparent collisions! We are lucky to be able to enjoy the beauty of these butterflies. Other areas report a decline of their numbers but they still appear to be plentiful locally.
Around 30 people assembled on a dry but cool Sunday afternoon in Bourne to view and enjoy the range of spring wildflowers.
When the children were small the arrival of visitors caused great excitement, even more so when they brought playmates and presents. The arrival of our summer migrant birds is accompanied by no such noise- they just seem to appear.
This was a new date and place for our normal Easter Trail – in our Community Orchard. This meant that those who had never visited the orchard got a chance to enjoy it and hopefully return at weekends when it is open.
We had quite a large crowd for our litter pick – around six McDonalds employees, and 16 members of the Friends of Bourne Woods or members of the public, plus children and dogs! The weather was much improved from earlier in the week with plenty of sunshine. March is a really good month to do a deep clean in the wood as the undergrowth has died back leaving litter which was previously hidden, suddenly visible.
I like Bluebells! Indeed, I should think that nearly everybody likes Bluebells! Of course, not to eat (this domain is reserved for the deer, badgers and squirrels of the wood) but to view – we can feast on the visual beauty of those spectacular blue swathes which epitomise a British deciduous woodland.
At the recent AGM of the Friends two long-standing members of the committee stood down.
This now leaves some gaps on the committee, not for officers or for a particular role – but general committee members who provide support and ideas for the group.
The Friends of Bourne Wood, in conjunction with Bourne Borderers Morris, held their third Wassail in the community orchard in Bourne on Saturday.
A large group gathered in the autumn sunshine at Bourne Wood for a fungal foray led by Dr Vin Fleming.
The long, dry summer seemed to have reduced the number and variety of mushrooms and toadstools in the wood. Despite this, an enthusiastic group of around 35 adults and children still managed to gather a reasonable number of different species.
Vin pointed out that in Great Britain, there are some 12,000 fungi species, which means that even experts are unable to identify every species that might be encountered on a foray.
What was striking was the range of sizes, shapes and colours of the fungi collected. Vin also showed us the very strange striate earth stars growing around the base of a conifer.
Several bracket fungi growing on tree trunks, stumps and fallen branches included the birch polypore, the blushing bracket, the latter so-called as it blushes wine red when the surface is rubbed or damaged and the very common turkey tail fungus.
Probably the largest toadstool collected was the pale-coloured trooping funnel while much smaller in stature was the yellow stagshorn fungus with its golden yellow finger-like branches.
A number of specimens of the attractive lilac bonnet fungus were also found. This widespread species of deciduous woodland is mildly toxic and is one of several fungi that are phosphorescent – that is it glows in the dark! Another attractive mushroom with a pale-yellow cap turned out to be a false death cap (Amanita citrina). Unlike its close relative, the deadly poisonous death cap (Amanita phalloiides), this species is not seriously toxic!
A delightful find was the rather uncommon magpie inkcap so-called because as the gills of the cap age, they deliquesce forming a black inky liquid.
Arguably one of the more bizarre fungi encountered were the coal-like Kind Alfred’s cakes (Daldinia concentrica) living on dead wood and which is inedible. The story behind the name of this species is recounted in the article here.
All in all an interesting, informative and enjoyable few hours. Thanks are due to Vin for his time and expertise.
Photographs Steve Goddard and Richard Jefferson.