The incessant wind and rain made this month very difficult so my wildlife total has limped its way up to 238. Only five new birds were added to the list of which the Short-eared Owl hunting over Thornham marsh was easily the best. I spent most of the time in the wooded section trying to keep out of the elements. One afternoon I was in the company of Tony Leach, the county fungi recorder. Last month I identified two species incorrectly, my Willow Bracket should have been Southern Bracket and the Hoof Fungus was actually Cushion Bracket. The latter is mostly found on old trees of the prunus genus. He did confirm my other records and showed me four new species. They had some interesting common names. Common Tar Crust is almost self- explanatory as it shows up as black patches on branches, but where did Scurfy Twiglet come from? Silver Leaf Fungus and Velvet Shank were the other two. He also added Hammered Shield Lichen to my list. He took away with him a number or specimens to be identified including a minute red fungus I found that is parasitic on lichen. I hope his results will appear in next month’s report. One fungus I did find for myself was Holly Speckle. This shows as dozens of tiny black dots on dead Holly leaves. It can easily be found under the small tree by the side of our entrance road.
Our Avocets have returned, Mediterranean Gull numbers have started to build up and today I found the first of this year’s Coltsfoot flowers; Spring must be on the way. Roll on March, that's what I say!
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