Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by © Brian Ecott

NATURE DIARY

December 2015

 JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY  AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER  DECEMBER

The Forge, Foxburrows Farm.

I couldn't resist using photoshop to add a flock of our Hainault Forest sheep to the nativity story of shepherds watching their flocks by night! The brown horned sheep are Soay, the white sheep with black faces, black legs and belly are Norfolk, and the horned, brown blotched sheep are Jacobs.

Another festive picture The Robin appears on millions of Christmas Cards in the UK. Here Colin Carron captured this delightful picture lit by the rare sunshine this month on Christmas eve.

Photo © Colin Carron  23rd December 2015..

Grey squirrel. Photo ©  Michael Rumble  4th December 2015

Grey squirrel. Photo © Colin Carron 17th December 2015

Green Woodpecker feeding on the large grassland. Ants are its favourite food although berries and acorns are eaten in winter. The red on the moustache indicates that this is a male. Photos © Colin Carron. 17th December 2015.

Looking across the horse pasture towards the farm buildings, with the secondary woodland in the background. There have been many grey days in December but on this occasion the sun was shining. The grasslands at Hainault are ideal feeding habitats for Green woodpecker. Photo © Michael Rumble  4th December 2015.

Goldfinch. Photo © Colin Carron  17th December 2015

Goldcrest. Photo © Colin Carron17th December 2015

Black-headed gulls in winter plumage fly over the lake. Photo © Michael Rumble  3rd December 2015.

Black bryony berries entwined in a bush, and a Cormorant flying with the wing primaries caught in the sun.  Both pictures © Michael Rumble.  4th December 2015.

Cormorant boating. Photo © Michael Rumble  1st December 2015.

 An Old English Bulldog  29th December 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

For more Dog pictures click here.

 

 

The lone Muscovy duck which has been with us all year is normally seen perched on the fence or on the ground by the feeder station on the eastern edge (café side) of the lake.

 

It appears this month that it has found a new perch possibly a submerged log or  rock a few metres out from the lake outfall.

 

Photos:

© Brian Ecott

12th December 2015

Mosses with an orange fungus 1 - 3mm in size on a cottage wooden gate post. Although it looks slimy it is not a slime mould but a common fungus of rotting wood namely Common Jelly spot Dacrymyces stillatus.  Photos Michael Rumble. 18th December 2015.
Lichen Cladonia fimbriata on old log in Horse pasture. Photo © Michael Rumble 4th December 2015.

Porridge slime mould Mucilago crustacea in grassland at Woodhenge.

Photo © Brian Ecott 29th December 2015

Holly in the rain. Photo © Colin Carron. 14th December 2015.

Mick Rumble and I represented Hainault Forest at the Wat Tyler Country Park's Green Centre for the Essex Field Club's Annual Social and Exhibition on the 5th December. Display boards were set up demonstrating Hainault Forest's "A Celebration of its Biodiversity" and showing 50 or so of this years photos  that have appeared on this web page.

I am pleased to have the expertise of photographers Michael Rumble and Colin Carron and I am conscious that I owe a great debt of gratitude to  both for freely giving their time and supporting me in compiling this web page, which I think you will agree is magnificent and informative. 

Turkey tail Trametes versicolor contrasts well with the grey-green lichen, which is probably Punctelia subrudecta.  

"The Ugly duckling" - a young swan in its first winter plumage.

Photo © Michael Rumble  4th December 2015.

And finally.....to sum up December..........
Photo © Elaine Wiltshire.   29th December 2015.

November 2015

  JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY  AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER  DECEMBER

Lest we forget......

A flag flies from the Hainault Forest Farm & Zoo flagpole on 8th November 2015. Lest we forget is its message. We remember those who gave their lives in two world wars and other conflicts so that we might live to appreciate their sacrifice and the heritage left to us which we must treasure.

 

The Mayor of Redbridge Cllr. Barbara White lays a wreath of poppies at the 'spitfire memorial' on behalf of Redbridge at Fairlop Waters, originally Fairlop Aerodrome, on Armistice day 11th November 2015. Local children from several schools laid 'poppy crosses' and wreaths they had made themselves. A large number of local residents  looked on as members of the Fairlop Heritage Group, the Police, Councillors and The Royal British Legion added their tributes. Before the ceremony a Roll of Honour was read by David Martin remembering those who served at RAF Fairlop. Following the singing of The National Anthem, the National Anthems of Ireland and Russia were played and their flags flew at half mast.  Each year it is tradition to remember representative Countries whose countrymen served at Fairlop.

Ice Age Ilford........

On the 8th November 2015 at Redbridge Museum an exhibition entitled Ice Age Ilford was formally opened. When Ilford was a small village, brickfields were set up in the early 1800's at several places in the area, where bricks could be manufactured to help build houses for the growing population. As pits were dug the bones of ancient mammals were found in the brick earth and soon  came to the attention of local amateur archaeologists.

Redbridge is foremost in the sites of early mammoth research and it is important to make this point and raise its status.

Hannah Chowdhry was 7 when she saw the replica Mammoth Skull in the Natural History museum and has since campaigned for 5 years with her father Wilson and former teacher of SS Peters and Paul's school Mrs Johnson  and Redbridge Museum to bring the skull back to Ilford. 

Left is Mrs Johnson with Hannah Chowdhry with Wilson and family with the replica Steppe mammoth skull in the Redbridge Library.

The Ice Age Ilford exhibition is open until Saturday 4th June 2016.

Harvest home.......

The abundant crab apples in Hainault Forest prompted me to make some Crab apple cheese. It is a simple recipe which I have used before and would recommend. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe collected from Roger Phillips book Wild Food 1983 Pan Books Ltd.

I used 6 kg of crab apples and made 18 jars.

Slime moulds, Blue-green alga and Lichens....

 Slime mould Lycogala epidendrum on rotting fallen hornbeam tree trunk.  1st November 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott.  Near lake inflow.

Porridge slime mould Mucilago crustacea on Hog Hill. 10th November 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Nostoc occasionally occurs in the forest. It is often found on hoggin paths, and here is amongst the gravel at the edge of the lake outfall. It is formed by masses of a primitive blue-green algae or Cyanobacterium. It is the forerunner of the nucleate cell of which most life on earth is composed.

20th November 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Not a lot of people know that......

You can use your scanner to take excellent pictures of small objects, and you get perfect natural colours. I use an Epson Perfection 1660 Photo scanner for many of the smaller lichens. The three twigs below are all less than 5 cms and the definition is very good.

 

 

On this piece of oak twig is one crustose (forming a crust) lichen frosty grey with many fruiting bodies Lecanora chlarotera. A very common lichen on trees and twigs. The two foliose (leaf like) attach themselves to the twig by tiny "roots" rhizines. Both are common in the forest The greyish green one is Physcia tenella and the orange one is Xanthoria parietina. This has many fruiting bodies, and is particularly frequent on elder and willows in the forest. Compare with the picture below which is dry and the colours are paler.

The tiny orange fungus is  Guepiniopsis buccina. With thanks to Tony of the Natural History Museum's NaturePlus forum for the identification.

Picture left width 4 cms. Scanned 26th November 2015. © Brian Ecott.

 

 

 

 

There are two foliose lichens on this twig right. Foliose lichens are leaf like and attach themselves to the twig. The orange one is Xanthoria parietina. It has broad spreading lobes and round fruiting bodies with a light coloured rim. The grey lichen is Physcia tenella. Both lichens are very common and present all year round on trees and shrubs especially hawthorn, but more noticeable after leaf-fall. What I hadn't noticed before is the small reddish fungus which is said to be associated with these two species Illosporiopsis christiansenii. Picture right width 5cms. Scanned 15th Nov.2015.© Brian Ecott.

 

 

 

On this twig left are two crustose (forming a crust) lichens. The right-hand one is greeny coloured with a black margin which forms a mosaic pattern. It has black fruiting bodies. It is a common lichen Lecidella elaeochroma.

The left-hand whitish lichen has fruits which are round to star shaped. This is Arthonia radiata. John Skinner, Recorder for Lichens for the Essex Field Club reports that this species is increasing very rapidly in Essex at the moment.

15th November 2015 © Brian Ecott.  Picture left width 3 cms.

 

November Fungi......

Many of the larger fungi are fewer or have not appeared at all this autumn in the woodlands. Short grassland species have had a spectacular year.

I am indebted to local mycologist Peter Comber who has helped name and check the specimens illustrated below and offered extra details.

Oak pin Cudoniella acicularis in furrows in tree bark. 1st November 2015. Amongst aspens near lake.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Tooth fungus Radulomyces molaris syn. Cerocorticium molare on fallen twig on Dog Kennel Hill woodland. 8th November 2015. Status occasional. Found last year.  Photo © Brian Ecott
Nitrous bonnet Mycena leptocephala. Common in short grassland by the lake. 1st November 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott Brownedge bonnet Mycena olivaceomarginata. In short grassland by lake. Cap is about the same size of a 1p.coin.  1st November 2015 in short grassland near the lake. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Fibrecap Conocybe subovalis 1st November 2015 Tall medium sized cap in short  grassland near the lake. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Slender club fungus Macrotyphula juncea. On twigs and leaves among aspen near lake inflow. 1st November 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Dung roundhead Stropharia semiglobata. Found in the horse meadow.

3rd November 2015. Photo © Michael Rumble

Shield pinkgill Entoloma clypeatum. Short grassland near the lake.

3rd November 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Meadow waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis on short grassland on Hoghill.

3rd November 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Brown rollrim Paxillus involutus  20th November 2015. Photo © Michael Rumble. Woodhenge.
Lawyer's wig or Shaggy inkcap Coprinus comatus on Woodhenge mound. 20th November 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble Possible Hypholoma species - awaiting identity. On rotting log in the farm (old camp site)  yard.  8th November 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble
Golden spindles Clavulinopsis fusiformis have been very abundant over all the short grassland this year. 12th November 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Meadow coral Clavulinopsis corniculata  near the lake outfall.

12th November 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Trooping funnels Clitocybe geotropa as seen from the 2nd car park through the tree line towards the café, 8th November 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble
Birds, Flies and other guys......

Flesh fly Sarcophaga sp. The red eyes are wide apart denoting a female. With males eyes almost touch. 3rd November 2015. Photos ©  Michael Rumble.

Leucistic Jackdaw at the Café. Some of the wing feathers are white.

3rd November 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

Small slug feeding on a fungus. 3rd November 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

A damp early November morning and the blackberries are covered in a mass of webs, both funnel and orb webs. Photo © Brian Ecott 2015.

Left is an orb web.  Orb web spiders construct many designs of web according to species. Above is an enlargement of the central part of the web and shows clearly a hole in the hub or middle. This is made by a Tetragnathidae family of  spiders which eats the radials at the centre of the web so that the hole is large enough for the spider to go through to the other side.

Photo © Colin Carron  1st November 2015.

Sheet web constructed by members of the Linyphiidae family of spiders.  The spider walks upside down under the sheet seizing any insects that land on the web, from below. Photo © Colin Carron  1st November 2015.

Michael Rumble took this  Labyrinth spider Agelena labyrinthica  in 2012.

It builds a tunnel type web low in grassland. Hoghill.   Photo © Michael Rumble 21st July 2012

Water birds.......
Cormorants wing drying, perching,, flying low over the lake (note how it using its feathers). The cormorant swimming shows its low centre of gravity in the water, similar to the Grebe family. Photos © Colin Carron  20th November 2015.

 Male Tufted duck Photo © Colin Carron  20th November 2015.

Head of Muscovy duck. Photo © Michael Rumble 29th November 2015

Fungi in God's Acre, All Saints' Chigwell Row.

Top left is All Saints' Chigwell Row. The lawn in front of the Church has Weymouth and Scot's pines and other conifers in the graveyard. The Church is built on a glacial sand, which forms a heathland further along the Romford Road, and this plus the conifers create a grassland in the churchyard which is an entirely different habitat to the short grassland in the Forest. Here Peter Comber has photographed fungi that are more likely to be found under conifers. Above is White Coral Clavulina coralloides. (Note the pine needles in all the pictures). Left - the cap and underside of the Weeping bolete Suillus granulatus. Boletes have pores underneath instead of gills. Below left is Powdery brittlegill Russula parazurea and below right is Fishy milkcap Lactarius volemus. The milk seen in the picture smells fishy.

All photos ©  Peter Comber 5th Nov. 2015.

 

October 2015

  JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY  AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER  NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness", John Keats 1795-1821

Sunrise over Hog Hill.  8am.12th October 2015. Photo ©  Paul Browne.

The Crab apple harvest has been good this autumn with many trees loaded with apples. Photo © Brian Ecott 10th October 2015. Good for deer, small mammals and fruit eating birds.

Junction of New North Road and Romford Road in 1969 Photo ©  Peter Small.

Soon after its creation the Greater London Council incorporating the former LCC in 1964/5 the fields along the Romford Road (which during the war years were corn fields) were planted with thousands of young trees forming a tree nursery which would complement their other nursery at Waltham Abbey. The idea was to grow them on and to use them as street trees in the locality. Very few were used and following the demise of the GLC in 1986 the nursery was abandoned. The above picture shows one large field planted alongside Romford Road seen from the junction of New North Road. The picture was taken from Peter's Victorian Cottage.  Click here for more information.

Following the flooding in the forest over recent winters, the ditches have been cleared and parts of the plantation have been opened up by the Country Park Staff and Redbridge Conservation Volunteers  removing scrub so that machinery can get access. These make good walking paths and good habitats. I walked along one (pictured right) and discovered this line of mature Lime trees which follow the line of Romford Road. Photo ©  Brian Ecott  8th October 2015.

 

Common darter Sympetrum striolatum pair flying in tandem. The female was observed egg laying by dipping her tail into the water and releasing an egg. Eggs laid in October may not develop until the spring.   9th October 2015. Photo ©  Colin Carron

Southern hawker dragonfly Aeshna cyanea male in flight.

9th October 2015. Photo ©  Colin Carron

 

and now for some fungi.......

I am indebted to local mycologist Peter Comber who has helped name and check the specimens illustrated below and offered extra details.

 Spectacular rustgill aka Big Jim Gymnopilus junonius on tree roots in secondary woodland near Headland Path. 20th October 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

 

Peter Comber has captured these same Spectacular rustgills 8 days later than in my original photograph above top. POISONOUS.

28th October 2015. Photos ©  Peter Comber

Hare's ear fungus Otidea onotica  in secondary woodland at back of lake.

 Not common in Hainault.1st October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott

Leopard earthball Scleroderma areolatum. 3cm across. On bare ground alongside path. Not common in Hainault 1st October 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Artist's fungus Ganoderma applanatum. A bracket low down on old beech tree, the top is cocoa colour, underside white which can be drawn on, hence the name, In secondary woodland  near Headland path.

17th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott

Birch polypore aka Razor strop fungus Piptoporus betulinus. When it appears on birch,  the tree is dead or dying. Here the bracket is  growing from an upright tree, and above right is an old decaying bracket.

20th October 2015. Photo ©  Colin Carron

Common puffballs Lycoperdon perlatum in horse pasture

19th October 2015 Photo © Brian Ecott

Panther cap Amanita pantherina in Horse pasture. DEADLY POISONOUS.

4th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott

Zoned rosette Podoscypha multizonata. Thin leathery lobes arising from a short very stout stem. Usually has light and dark bands. Occasionally turns up in the forest. Found this time in the horse pasture. 4th October 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott
Amethyst deceiver  in the Horse pasture. 14th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott. Gills, cap and stem purple colour, although when dry the cap may be light brown.

Angels bonnets Photo © Brian Ecott 8th October 2015. Thanks to local mycologist Peter Comber for the identification.

Golden spindles Clavulinopsis fusiformis in short grassland on Hoghill.

9th October 2015, Photo © Brian Ecott

Buttercap Collybia butyracea. Distinctive, cap feels buttery. Found in leaf litter in the wooded areas. 9th October 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott.
Yellowing Knight Tricholoma scalpturatum  in grassland alongside the former changing rooms.   12th October 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott.      

Yellowing Knight (fresh specimen)  on grassland towards the lake.

23rd October 2015  Photo © Brian Ecott

Honey fungus Armillaria mellea at base of oak in the Horse pasture Photos © Brian Ecott. 14th October 2015. Note the brown stems and the yellow rings.

Spreads underground by black threads aka Bootlaces. This is a major threat to foresters. See Colin Carron's "bootlace" picture last month.

Turkey tail Trametes versicolor. A small bracket on a fallen birch tree. Open plain near Romford Gate. 20th October 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Field mushroom Agaricus campestris on horse pasture. 22nd October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott

Twig parachute Marasmiellus ramealis. Very tiny fungus growing on a dried blackberry stem. Along Retreat path. 21st October 2015.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Conifer mazegill Gloeophyllum sepiarium appearing on many of the

Woodland Trust's notice boards (sourced conifer timber) 

22nd October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott

Fly agaric Amanita muscaria. 24th October 2015.  First one found this year. Always associated with the roots of Birch trees growing nearby. POISONOUS.  This specimen has been attacked by slugs who have been eating large holes in it. Photo © Brian Ecott Trooping funnel Clitocybe geotropa. Small funnel shape, cream cap, gills down stem (decurrent), stem broadens to the base.  In secondary woodland  near Headland path. Compare with below.  24th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Trooping funnel Clitocybe geotropa, trooping through the brambles, Largest cap in troop was 21cms diameter. 24th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Clouded funnel or agaric Clitocybe nebularis. A large funnel shaped cap with gills down part of the stem (decurrent). 10cms diameter. Found in bramble and scrub in the secondary woodland near the lake. May also be found in large rings. 16th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Waxcaps in short grassland......

1.  Mature Parrot waxcap  Hygrocybe psittacina still retaining some green on cap and stem. In short grassland on Hoghill. Good distribution. 9th October 2015.  

2.  Snowy waxcap Hygrocybe virginea. In short grassland in horse pasture. Several present. 22nd October 2015 

3.  Scarlet Waxcap - Hygrocybe coccinea. The gills have a decurrent tooth where they join the stem.  In short grassland on Hoghill. Uncommon. 27th October 2015.

4.  Blushing waxcap Hygrocybe ovina. The gills seem to have a reddish bruised area. Plentiful in groups in short grassland on Hoghill. 28th October 2015.

 Photos © Brian Ecott

Miscellany..........

 

Pictured left is an example of TUNBRIDGE WARE. These are basically small trinket boxes, cribbage boards, rulers and other containers inlaid with coloured woods forming intricate patterns formed by wood mosaics. Made in Tunbridge and Tunbridge Wells, Kent in the 18th and 19th Centuries The woods used were natural colours, but for green they used green oak pictured right. This piece of fallen oak found in the secondary woodland, has a fungus in it called Green Elfcap Chlorociboria aeruginascens which sometimes has tiny fruiting bodies, but generally as here only the fungal stained wood is found,

 

 

17th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Tiny galls on the midrib of the Turkey oak are Neuroterus saliens ♀♀ They are 3mm in length and shown enlarged above. They produce the Anemone gall in the spring on Turkey oaks. 14th October 2015. Photo © Brian Ecott. A very hard, woody gall found often on young sapling English oaks. This is the Marble gall Andricus kollari ♀♀ It contains one larva which has emerged from the gall on the lower right side. 4th October 2015. Photo ©  Colin Carron

  Hairy mature galls of Hartigiola annulipes on beech leaf. 20th October 2015 on footpath on Hoghill

Leaf mine of the larva of a very small fly Agromyza anthracina within the leaf of stinging nettle. Close up shows frass (droppings) in threads. Hog Hill footpath.

 20th October 2015.  Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Leaf scan on 18 10 2005 at Hainault Lodge shows the larvae inside the leaf..

Heavy infestations of the leaf miner moth Cameraria ohridella produce browning and early leaf fall in Horse Chestnuts. This first appeared in Wimbledon in 2002 and in Hainault by autumn 2005 ten years ago. It was first described as a new species in Northern Greece in 1986 and spread rapidly across Europe. Its appearance in Redbridge coincided with the adoption of the leaf as the new logo for Redbridge!     3rd October 2015.  Photo ©  Brian Ecott

A worker honey bee Apis mellifera landed on my hand. The NaturePlus team at the Natural History Museum identified it and suggested that it was warming itself and possibly taking up moisture and nutrients. It was a cold morning.

23rd October 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott.

Buff tailed bumble bee Bombus terrestris Queen, feeding on Michaelmas daisies. 9th October 2015. Photo ©  Colin Carron.

 White-legged Snake Millipede - Tachypodoiulus niger under birch bark on Dog Kennel Hill woodland. (2 cms. length)  22nd October 2015.

 Photo ©  Brian Ecott.

Common Black Ground Beetle. Pterostichus niger (1.8 cms. length) under birch bark on Dog Kennel Hill. 22nd October 2015.  Photo ©  Brian Ecott.
And finally ........Ernie's Flying Fish.

Members of the Essex Kite Group regularly fly kites on the grassland throughout the year.

September 2015

  JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY  AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

Signs of Autumn......

Cold nights in September bring out the dew on the grassland and the plants. The low sun will soon rise sufficiently by midday to evaporate the dew on this Michaelmas daisy. Photo ©  Michael Rumble. 20th September 2015.

 

Michael  has captured in this great photograph left, one of many hidden places in Hainault Forest. Here in this corner of the horse pasture an old beech stump with fungi and some trees are framing the distant grassland and woodland on Little Cabin Hill. 23rd September 2015.  © Michael Rumble.

 Spectacular rustgill aka Big Jim Gymnopilus junonius on tree stump, horse pasture. 25th September 2015   Photo ©  Brian Ecott Beech woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme on fallen beech. 28th September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott.
Giant puffball Calvatia gigantea on Dog Kennel Hill. During the war it was known as Hitler's secret weapon. Said to have been reported to the police when found. 21st September 2015  Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Honey fungus aka Boot lace fungus Armillaria mellea. The black bootlace is collections of fungal hyphae (fungal threads) which travel through the dead trees and soil to infect other nearby trees. Known as the Forester's Curse. Clusters of the fruiting bodies may be found at the foot of diseased trees.

Photo ©  Colin Carron  11th September 2015

Pleated inkcap Coprinus plicatilis  21st September 2015 in woodland at back of café. 21st September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Parasol mushroom Macrolepiota procera.  Incredible size!

Cap 27cms.diameter, Stem height 38cms. In horse pasture.

Photo   Michael Rumble  23rd September 2015

Parasol mushroom Macrolepiota procera.25th September 2015 in the horse pasture. Shows a ring which is movable on the stem. Photo ©  Brian Ecott
False deathcap Amanita citrina in woodland on Dog Kennel Hill. 22nd September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Parrot waxcap  Hygrocybe psittacina green becoming yellowish and covered in glutinous slime when fresh. On short grass in the horse pasture.

25th September 2015.   Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Sulphur tuft Hypholoma fasciculare on rotting stump in Lambourne wood.

30th September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Not very fresh Oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus on tree stump in horse pasture. Right - Showing underside. 23rd September 2015. Photos ©  Brian Ecott

Two large Genera of fungi in the UK are Lactarius and  Russula both coming is a variety of colours. Geoffrey Kibby in his monograph on Russula lists 184 species.

Identification cannot rely on photographs alone, but also habitat, tree associations, gill appearance, spore prints, colour of cap and stem, scent etc.

The Milkcaps Lactarius sp. above. All species exude a milky substance from the gills when bruised. Tests include drying  the milk on a tissue to see if it dries yellow, or placing milk on tip of the tongue which might smell of something familiar (fishy, coconut) or might be mild or hot. Underside in picture above shows milk.

25th September 2015 in the horse pasture.   Photo ©  Brian Ecott

The Brittlegills Russula sp. 22nd September 2015. In the secondary woodland near the lake. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

We have been following these three families of Greylag geese since 11th April 2015. The parent birds are aggressive and good parents and have protected their offspring and are still grazing in the forest. 11th September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott
Common darter Sympetrum striolatum - a late summer species. 11th September 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble This young oak sapling is host to seven Cola-nut galls Andricus lignicolus and two Ramshorn galls Andricus aries. 6th September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott.

Head of Common darter dragonfly Sympetrum striolatum

2nd September 2015 Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Head of Ruddy darter dragonfly Sympetrum sanguineum

11th September 2015  Photo ©  Colin Carron

Two close up views of a Forest shield bug Pentatoma rufipes. Note the orange tip to the scutellum or shield on the back. The young nymphs feed mainly on oak. 11th September 2015. Photo ©  Colin Carron

Pair of Orb web Spiders Metellina segmentata The male (left) is waiting to mate with the female (right) and will only do so when she is preoccupied in dealing with a prey item.  21st September 2015  Photo © Brian Ecott. With thanks to Tony of the Natural History Museum's NaturePlus Bug forum team for the identification.

 

 A tiny gnat like creature with long threadlike antennae and two wings which are patterned.

Order Diptera (two wings) True flies

Sub order Nematocera (thread horns) Mosquitoes, Gnats, Midges and Craneflies.

Genera Macrocera (large horns) Fungus gnats

Macrocera phalerata - a fungus gnat

Identified with thanks by Tony in the Bug Forum of The Natural History Museum's NaturePlus team.

Photographed on the back of an English oak leaf on 6th September 2015  ©  Brian Ecott.

   

This wasp nest was found high on one of the old farm buildings attached to one of the security lamps. The wasps chew wood with saliva to make paper which is then used to construct the nest. Cells are constructed inside. The whole thing is as light as tissue paper and one can only marvel at the time and effort put into construction by the wasps and which is only used for one season.

Photo © Michael Rumble 13th September 2015.

Several Hornets were seen about in the forest and were often noticed flying over the Michaelmas daisies where they were picking off insects on the flowers. They move very fast and after several attempts over several days Michael Rumble © managed to get these two pictures.  20th September 2015.

While unsuccessfully trying to photograph the hornets above, Two Muntjac aka Barking deer took me by surprise at the end of the lake. Just managed to get these grab shots. A male was heard barking in a blackthorn thicket nearby. Photos ©  Brian Ecott  19th September 2015. Squirrel table in the Horse pasture. The squirrels pick up the fruit and take them 50-100 metres to an old ant hill where they crack them open to feed on the conker inside. Squirrels commonly use "tables" on which to feed. Photos ©  Brian Ecott  23rd September 2015.
Autumn fruits...........

Hawthorn. Haws make a nice jelly. © Brian Ecott

Rose hips. Syrup rich in Vitamin C  © Brian Ecott

Sloes used in Sloe gin.  © Brian Ecott

Crab apples make good Apple (jam) cheese. © B.E. 

Elderberries for wine  © Brian Ecott

Honeysuckle still in flower. 17th Sept.  © Colin Carron

Brown China-mark moth Elophila nymphaeata, pair mating under leaf. Thanks to AmandaB of the Natural History Museum NaturePlus team for the identification.     Photo © Michael Rumble  10th September 2015.

Red underwing moth on outside wall of café.

Photo © Brian Ecott 27th September 2015.

Colin Carron © photographed this young pheasant in a willow bush. 

11th September 2015

The Polypody fern is doing well and is starting to develop spores. Hopefully we will know shortly whether it is Western polypody or a hybrid. © Brian Ecott

Colin Carron has perfectly captured this Pond skater Gerris sp. 15mm long. Common bug on all the forest ponds. Feeds on dead insects on the water surface. Bristles on the tips of legs prevent it breaking through the surface film. Photo ©  Colin Carron   17th September 2015.

Pond Slater aka Hog Louse Asellus sp. in Sheepwater which is heavily silted.

A small crustacean 10mm related to the woodlice. Common in all forest ponds. Withstands pollution and low oxygen levels.

Photo  ©  Michael Rumble. 10th September 2015.

Pupa of Mosquito, hanging from the under surface of the water in Sheepwater. When the  mosquito is ready to hatch the back of the pupa splits and the mosquito is able to haul itself out and climb through the water surface.

Photo © Michael Rumble  10th September 2015.

August 2015

  JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY  AUGUST   SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

New plant colony found by lake.......
Where the invasive Michaelmas daisies have been cut back and the fencing removed at the far end of the lake, a small colony of Red bartsia Otontites verna serotina has been revealed. 20th August 2015. Photos ©  Brian Ecott

The Wildflower meadow was teeming with wildlife this month.......

Mick Rumble and I swept the meadow and netted many creatures which are presented below as photographs. If an insect is found on a plant the photo is labelled N for natural surroundings. If the insect is placed on a plant or surface it will be marked as P posed. I am grateful to experts that have helped with the identification. All insects were present throughout August so have been left undated.

N Greenbottle Lucilia sp. Photo © Michael Rumble

N Bluebottle Calliphora sp. on wild carrot.        Photo © Michael Rumble

 N Flesh fly Sarcophaga sp. Photos ©  Colin Carron

N Tachinid fly Tachina fera on creeping thistle  Photos © Michael Rumble

P Tiny Picture wing flies. Note the malachite-green eyes, and the patterns on the wings Photos © Michael Rumble

 

 

 P 4th instar larva Sloe shield bug

 Photo © Michael Rumble

 P Sloe shield bug  Dolycoris baccarum  Photos © Michael Rumble

 

Far left:

Bishops mitre shield bug Aelia acuminata.  Photo © Michael Rumble.

 

Left:

P  Rhombic leather bug  Syromastes rhombeus Photo © Michael Rumble

 

 

 

Both pictures:

P White Grass Mirid bud (family Miridae) Photos © Michael Rumble

P The smallest ladybird in the UK list is the sixteen-spot ladybird Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata measuring only 3mm. Photo © Michael Rumble

P  Sixteen-spot ladybird larva.

   Photo © Michael Rumble

 P Fourteen spot ladybird

Propylea quattuordecimpunctata

Spots are often fused giving an anchor shape as here.

Photo © Michael Rumble

Roesel's bush cricket Metrioptera roeselii f. diluta. on creeping thistle.

The upper two pictures clearly show long wings. This is often seen in Hainault and is thought to enable migration in hot summers. In the normal form the wings are very short and not used. The very obvious feature of this species is the dark pronotum with the yellow-green border. The very long antennae are found in Crickets but not grasshoppers.  

All N Photos © Michael Rumble

N Oak bush cricket Meconema thalassinum (male) on beech leaf. Photo ©  Brian Ecott 
P Meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus  Photo © Michael Rumble

 

 

 

P

Meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus    

Long winged form.

 

Photos

© Michael Rumble  

P Meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus    Long winged form. Photos © Michael Rumble                                       

P Meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus Photo © Michael Rumble

P Field grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus.   Right: About to fly - showing two pairs of wings. Photos © Michael Rumble

N  Field grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus orange form. Photo © Michael Rumble

N Common Green grasshopper Omocestus viridulus Photos © Michael Rumble

N Ruddy darter dragonfly Sympetrum sanguineum. Note how the darters hold their wings forward and down,  when at rest. Photos ©  Colin Carron

N  Common Red Soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva on wild carrot. As kids in the forties we used to call them blood suckers. Photo © Michael Rumble N  Flower beetle Oedemera nobilis (female) is an iridescent metallic green flower beetle. The male has "thick thighs" on its hind legs. Also in the picture is a Soldier beetle Photo © Michael Rumble P Small Crab spider Xysticus cristatus Photo © Michael Rumble
N Holly blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus. There are two generations a year - this is the second. The dark inner edges of the wing indicates a female.  Photos © Michael Rumble P Although a very tiny moth sitting on my fingers, it is in fact a Macro moth, family Noctuidae. Identified by Colin Plant Lepidoptera (moths) recorder, London Natural History Society as a Straw dot Rivula sericealis Photo © Brian Ecott.

N Six-spot burnet moth Zygaena filipendulae on Spear thistle. In the right hand picture Mick has angled the photograph to show the bright red underwings. Photos © Michael Rumble

Damsel bugs

Top left picture 

This small bug has short wings, and its front legs are thickened and held like a Praying mantis. It is poised to capture passing insect prey. Placed on a thistle head to photograph.

Lower left picture 

Natural close up of  the bug  on the flower of Lesser burdock

 

Kindly identified by "Triops" from the Natural History Museum's bug forum who identified it as a Damsel bug of the family Nabidae.

 

Photos © Michael Rumble

N A small Hoverfly Sphaerophora scripta on Stone parsley. Photo © Michael Rumble

N Hoverfly Eristalis horticola on ragwort.

Photo © Michael Rumble

N Hoverfly Dasysyrphus albostriatus on poppy. Many species have similar abdomen patterns but this one has black stigma on wings. Photo © Michael Rumble
N A small Hoverfly Sphaerophora taeniata ♀. Kindly identified by "flecc" from the Natural History Museum's bug forum.  Photo ©  Brian Ecott N Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus on spear thistle. Photo © Michael Rumble N Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus on Michaelmas Daisy. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

N Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi on Knapweed.

 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

N Turnip sawfly Athalia rosae on Wild carrot. Kindly identified by "flecc" of the Natural History Museum's Bug forum.  Photos © Michael Rumble.

 Just some of a dozen or more photos showing a Cross spider Araneus  diadematus wrapping up a Meadow Brown butterfly which has blundered into the spiders web in the long grassland. Picture 1 shows a leg pulling the gossamer thread. Pictures 2,3 show the spinnerets on the underside of the abdomen.

Photos © Michael Rumble

Photos © Michael Rumble
and Finally............

Picture © Lee Rose

 

Daphne Gilbert pictured above (extreme left) at the Bluebell walk 26th April 2009, and left (on the right) at a Lower Plants Walk 8th March 2009 passed peacefully away at a care home in Scotland on the 5th August after a long illness. Daphne, a good friend, lived in Hainault since the early sixties and was a keen naturalist.

 

She often came to Hainault Forest and was an active member of the Essex Field Club, the RSPB, the British Naturalist Association at National level and locally with the Epping Forest Branch. Daphne was active in the Havering and Redbridge Wildlife and Countryside Group and was an active volunteer at Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve.

 

She was also a keen traveller to Seychelles, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Amazon, Canada and European holidays to name a few.

 

Daphne had a green burial on her son Ian's land in Oxton, The Borders, on the 13th August 2015 on a beautiful sunset evening overlooking the surrounding hills.... a fitting end.

 

Ian, Joanna and Finn (grandson) received many messages of sympathy and tributes.

July 2015

  JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY   AUGUST   SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

Five-spot burnet moth Zygaena trifolii on Common knapweed. Six-spot are common in Hainault but I don't remember coming across a 5-spot before.

Photographed on Hoghill 19th July 2015 © Michael Rumble.

Camellia gall Rabdophaga sp. on Crack willow by the lake outfall. The specifics of this type of gall is still being investigated. 20th July 2015.

Brian briefs the group before the Plant Gall walk on 18th July 2015.

Photo © Francis Castro, Conservation Officer for Redbridge

 Marble galls Andricus kollari ♀♀ on English Oak  18th July 2015.

The group return with a collection of galls (about 25) which included the Marble galls left. 18th July 2015.

Wren bringing food to fledglings that have left the nest. 9th July 2015. Photograph ©  Colin Carron

White duck possibly Mallard x Aylesbury on the lake.  11th July 2015. Photograph © Michael Rumble

Roger feeding the Geese. Photo taken from beneath the 105 year old Black poplar at the lake outfall. © Jennifer Heywood.

The Canada and Greylag geese have has a successful breeding season. The drabness of the picture reflects the general weather - cold and wet which we are experiencing in the last week of July.  28th July 2015.

Essex skipper butterfly Thymelicus lineola. 21st July 2015.

Photograph ©  Colin Carron

1. Wall barley Hordeum murinum,  2. Wavy Hairgrass Deschampsia flexuosa, 3. False oatgrass Arrhenatherum elatius, 4. Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus,

5. Perennial Ryegrass Lolium perenne, 6. Timothy grass Phleum pratense,

7. Cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata. Scanned 8th July 2015.

Small skipper butterfly Thymelicus sylvestris. The antennae are orange with black undersides, and the black line at an angle to the body is a scent gland denoting a male. Larval food plant - likes Yorkshire fog, opposite

9th July 2015. Photo © Michael Rumble.

Ringlet  Aphantopus hyperantus. Wings badly damaged. Very common this year over all the long grassland. 15th July 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Large skipper butterfly Ochlodes venata. Larval food plant - likes Cocks-foot grass.  21st July 2015. Photograph ©  Colin Carron

Ringlet  Aphantopus hyperantus. Female. The male is very dark almost black. Photo ©  Michael Rumble  15th July 2015. Gatekeeper butterfly Pyronia tithonus . Wings closed so only the underside of the lower wing is shown.  16th July 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble.
Gatekeeper butterfly Pyronia tithonus.  A male with the diagonal brown patches (scent scales) on the forewings. 21st July 2015. Photo © Colin Carron  Gatekeeper butterfly Pyronia tithonus. Compare with the male left. In the above picture there are no scent glands therefore this is a female. 29th July 2015.

Comma butterfly Polygonia c-album. Two generations per year, it overwinters as a butterfly and may be seen during a sunny spell early in the year.

Photograph © Colin Carron  21st July 2015

Comma butterfly Polygonia c-album. The jagged wings when closed look like a dead leaf. The specific name "c-album " refers to the white comma or C on the underside of the hind wing as shown above.

Photograph ©  Michael Rumble  15th July 2015.

Both pictures of Large white butterfly aka Cabbage white Pieris brassicae on Scots thistle and creeping thistle. The curved feeding tube or proboscis can be seen on the right picture probing the creeping thistle. 18th July 2015. Photographs ©  Michael Rumble.

Green-veined white Pieris napi on creeping thistle. 22nd July 2015

Painted Lady butterfly Vanessa cardui on Creeping thistle. This is a migratory species from North Africa. May have a brood here in July using nettles and thistles as larval food plants. Several seen this month. 15th July 2015.

Photo © Michael Rumble

Meadow brown butterfly (male) Maniola jurtina. 21st July 2015.

Photograph ©  Colin Carron

Meadow brown butterfly (female) Maniola jurtina. 9th July 2015.

After a whole month I finally managed to photograph an elusive Common blue male butterfly Polyommatus icarus. The wings were closed and tilted towards the sun. The antennae are black and white. When flying it was a bright blue. 30th July 2015.
Black snipe fly pair Chrysopilus cristata. The pair are sexually dimorphic. In the male above the eyes are touching on a large head and the black body tapers, whereas the female is patterned and the eyes set apart. Prominent stigmata are seen on each wing. Identified by "Laverlock" at the Natural History Museum Bug discussion group. 27th July 2015.  

Rose sawfly Arge ochropus larvae devouring the leaflets of wild rose.

10th July 2015

Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans male feeding on a small insect by the Lake. 11th July 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble. With thanks to Neil Anderson, London Natural History Society, Dragonfly Recorder, for the identification.

Blue-tailed Damselfly eating a meal.

11th July 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

A Slug worm,  the larva of a Sawfly Caliroa annulipes on oak leaf.10th July 2015.  It is feeding on the soft tissues on the underside of the oak leaf leaving skeletonised patches. Another slug worm species Caliroa cerasi was found feeding on pear leaves last year 17th July 2014. See last years diary.

Seven-spot Ladybirds feeding on Black Aphids on a creeping thistle.

10th July 2015.

Hungry striped orange and black caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth Tyria jacobaeae feeding on ragwort. They will eat a plant down to the ground and move on to the next. Their bodies contain poison accrued from the Ragwort plant and many predators avoid them.  21st July 2015.

Black-tailed skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum, male. 11th July 2015

by the Lake outflow. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Spittlebug or Common Froghopper nymph not yet an adult. See an earlier stage in the June page. 18th July 2015. Photographs ©  Michael Rumble

Carder bee in flight. Bombus pascuorum with bramble. 21st July 2015. Photograph © Colin Carron

White tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris/lucorum. 21st July 2015 

 Photograph ©  Michael Rumble.

Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta on creeping thistle. 8th July 2015.

Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri  9th July 2015  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

A very brightly marked black, orange and white hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus. Usually much duller. On knapweed. 16th July 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Oak bush cricket nymph. Very long antennae. 10th July 2015.  

Soldier fly - Four-barred Major Oxycera rara (female). With thanks to Del Smith, Dipteran Recorder, Essex Field Club for the identification. On grass stem at Sheepwater. 19th July 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

Plant bug Deraeocorus ruber on thistle.  Photo © Michael Rumble.

19th July 2015. A variable coloured bug from yellow, brick to black. The cuneus (end of wing) always red. With thanks to "Florin" of the Natural History Museum's bug forum group for the identification.

Teasel Dipsacus fullonum near the main entrance. Although prickly it is not a thistle but in the same family as Scabious. Formerly used to tease out or card  wool in preparation for spinning. The nap on wool garments was raised by the fine hooks on the flower head. Now replaced by wire combs although it is claimed to be superior to raise the nap on some hats and also snooker baize. Now mainly used as a Christmas decoration.  22nd June 2015.
Lady's bedstraw Galium verum 9th July 2015. Included in straw mattresses when dried  it was often used in beds of women about to give birth.

Hedge bedstraw Gallium mollugo. A tall scrambling plant. 9th July 2015.

Left: Agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria spike 14th July 2015. Centre: Weld Reseda luteola. aka Dyer's rocket. Once grown in Essex as a yellow dye for cloth. 22nd July 2015. Right: Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense 14th July 2015.
 

JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY  JUNE   JULY  AUGUST   SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER

June 2015

 
The first pair of Greylag geese hatched six goslings on the 11th April 2015 of which five fledged. Photographed here on the 1st June the youngsters were fully fledged and integrated with the others on the lake at the end of the month.

Moorhen at Sheepwater Photo ©  Colin Carron  4th June 2015

 The Pied wagtail is common in an around the short grassland especially around the café. Photo ©  Colin Carron  8th June 2015.

Tiny wild rose seedling with a Robin's pin cushion gall Diplolepis rosae - a gall midge. 6th May 2015.

Cherry-plum Prunus cerasifera (above) showing a Pocket plum gall caused by the fungus Taphrina pruni.  6th June 2015. This fungus is attacking many of the Blackthorn bushes as well this summer, see below, so that Sloes will be difficult to harvest this year.

 A female Broad bodied chaser dragonfly perches on a twig at Sheepwater. Photo ©  Colin Carron 4th June 2015 

The smallest ladybird in the UK list is the sixteen-spot ladybird Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata measuring only 3mm. Found  on the Old Codgers (myself included)  table at the Café. 4th June 2015.

 

Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis Larva (left above) on Crack willow and Pupa (right above) on Blackthorn. 29th June 2015.

Batman hoverfly Myothropa florea nectaring on dog rose.  7th June 2015.

 Flower beetles feeding on pollen of Field Rose. 28th June 2015

Spittlebug spit aka Cuckoo spit. The spittlebug nymph lives here and sucks the sap from a thistle or other plant and the sap builds up to make the spittle which is common on plants in June. Search amongst the spittle and you will find a tiny nymph 2-3mm which looks somewhat like a frog, hence the adult bug is called a Froghopper. The spittle protects the nymph from drying out, and hides it from predators.   7th June 2015.

A tiny Longhorn moth Nemophora degéerella resting on a leaf. This is a female which has short antennae (½ inch). The males antennae are about 2 inches and they often fly in swarms to impress the female. Photo ©  Colin Carron 8th June 2015. 

Left: Thick thighed flower beetle Oedemera nobilis. Only the male has this feature. 25th June 2015.

Above: Small white butterfly Artogeia rapae. 25th June 2015

   
More ORCHIDS

Left and above:

Common spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii .

Found and photographed in the Country Park on the 9th June 2015. The leaves are spotted.

Left and above:

Bee orchid Ophrys apifera.

Found at two sites and photographed in the Country Park on the 10th June 2015

I was lucky to spot this female Crab spider Misumena vatia feeding on a fly that it had ambushed by hiding in the Common spotted orchid. Misumena vatia  spiders can be white or yellow often with reddish markings making itself practically invisible to prey items.     11th June 2015.

ACID GRASSLAND short turf plants

Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea. Five deeply divided petals. Found throughout the cut grassland on Hoghill. the amenity grassland and Cabin Hill. 4th June 2015

 Heath Bedstraw Galium saxatile Small white four petalled flowers.

6th June 2015

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil aka Boots and shoes Lotus corniculatus. The seed pods look like a bird's foot.      6th June 2015 Mouse-ear hawkweed Hieracium pilosella. Pale yellow composite with red streaked petals on the underside. 6th June 2015

Trailing St. John's-wort Hypericum humifusum on millennium hill (Cabin Hill)

6th June 2015

Heath speedwell Veronica vulgaris on Millennium hill (Cabin Hill)

6th June 2015.

Tormentil Potentilla erecta. Potentilla with four petals. 6th June 2015 6th June 2015
Creeping cinquefoil Potentilla reptans. Potentilla with five petals. Leaf with five leaflets (cinquefoil). 8th June 2015 Self-heal Prunella vulgaris Related to the deadnettles. An excellent plant for bees. 29th June 2015
The wild flower meadow is helping to bring back bees and other insect pollinators which took a fall in numbers during the 2012 Olympics and have generally declined in Britain. Many of our crops rely on them. 6th June 2015

Ox-eye daisies Leucanthemum vulgare in the wild flower meadow.

4th June 2015

Red clover Trifolium pratense. A great favourite for bees. Note the pale  chevrons on the leaflets. In the wild flower meadow. 6th June 2015

Hedge bindweed Calystegia sepium sepium.  By the lake outfall.  

24th June 2015

Wild celery Apium graveolens near the lake outfall24th June 2015

and finally.........

Take care in the forest. The woodland paths are cooler, take fluids and cover up. Listen for advice.

25th June 26th June 27th June 28th June 29th June  30th June

24°

26°

23°

19°

25°

30°

JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY   JUNE   JULY   AUGUST   SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

May 2015

Oak Quercus robur catkins by the lake path. 4th May 2015

 

The above scans show Currant galls Neuroterus quercusbaccarum on backs of leaves and on catkins of Common oak Quercus robur. The wasps that emerge from this generation will produce the familiar silk spangle galls on the underside of leaves in the autumn. 15th May 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right and far right are scans of catkin galls on Turkey oak Quercus cerris. Compared to Currant galls above the galls on Turkey oak have a point on them and are known as Gooseberry galls Andricus  grossulariae. They start green, go on to be crimson and often persist on trees for many years. 16th May 2015.

 

Below left is a scan of another gall found on Turkey oak and which affects the female flowers. It develops on the newly developing acorn and the "red tentacles" that surround it gives rise to the name  Anemone gall Neuroterus saliens ♂. 16th May 2015.

GALL WALK

Saturday 18 July 2015  10:30am – 12:30pm

Hainault Forest Gall Walk with Brian Ecott

Join Brian and the Rangers for a pleasant stroll around Hainault Forest while learning more about the mysterious plant gall!  No booking required.

 

Meet at: Hainault Forest Country Park opposite the Global café, Foxburrow Road IG7 4QN

Scan of the underside of a nettle leaf and inset an enlargement of a gall. Brian Wurzell of the British Plant Gall Society writes: "I am pretty sure these are the spermogonia of the rust Puccinia urticata which are described as small honey coloured clusters on leaves. It's a nice observation to detect them at this early stage. The later stages are more conspicuous and familiar on nettles in June. Fond memories of our field trip to Hainault Forest in Spring 2004. Our intrepid group included no less than four Brians - can't have too much of a good thing?"

A NEW ORCHID DISCOVERY FOR HAINAULT

Staff discovered this tiny Green winged orchid Orchis morio near the top of Hoghill while out grass cutting on 22nd May 2015. A circular patch of grassland was left around it, and a week later if was still there. Its name is from the description of the sepals (a fly has alighted on one) which are greenish with red veins. The lip below is spotted and three lobed. The leaf is unspotted but in the picture (left) it has been grazed. Photos ©  Michael Rumble.

This brings the number of species recorded to four:

Broad-leaved helleborine  Epipactis helleborine           Bee orchid Ophrys apifera

Common spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii                Green winged orchid Orchis morio

 
CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT IN ACTION

Several small patches of grassland have been left uncut in and around the amenity grasslands. This allows the plants contained to seed and maintain a seed bank for the grassland. Plants such as Lady's smock aka Cuckoo flower to survive. Lady's smock is a food plant for the larvae of the Orange tip butterfly. The long grassland under trees allows caterpillars and other insects to complete their life cycles between grassland and tree. St. marks fly is one such insect, and another is the green caterpillar of the Oak Tortrix which drops to the ground on gossamer silk

Right: the flower head of Lady's smock Cardamine pratensis saved in the grass patch above. 13th May 2015

 

 

 

 

Left is the stem and flower head of Jack-by-the-hedge aka Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata. Within the flower head is a single tiny orange egg (arrowed but difficult to see as it is only 1.2mm long. Centre is a closer scan of the flower head and the egg. Right the enlarged egg is shown to have several longitudinal ridges, A tiny (6mm) caterpillar emerges and feeds on the developing seed pods. This is the egg of the Orange tip butterfly  Anthocharis cardamines.  The orange tips foodplants also includes Lady's smock - hence the value of conserving this plant in the grassland as mentioned above.

Bird Cherry Prunus padus 16th May 2015 on the farm and on Hog Hill.

Queen Anne's Lace aka Cow Parsley Anthriscus sylvestris. Common at this moment throughout the forest. Woodland edges. 15th May 2015 

Top and above: Near the main entrance a cluster of scarlet pea flowers. The plant superficially resembles grass hence the name Grass Vetchling Lathyrus nissolia. The flowers (one or two) are borne  on a long stalk from the main stem. 27th May 2015. Photos ©  Michael Rumble.

Red Campion Silene dioica at Sheepwater 29th May 2015

Herb Robert Geranium robertianum.  Wayside plant throughout the forest.  Photo ©  Colin Carron  8th May 2015.

English Bluebell. Hyacinthoides non-scripta  8th May 2015. Our native bluebell of ancient woodlands, hedges and shady places. The non-native Spanish bluebell is grown in gardens and is often dumped in the woodland where it readily hybridises with our native species to the detriment  and gradual loss of over time of the true English bluebell. Colin Carron has perfectly captured the arching stem with the bells hanging on one side, and the true colour.

Cuckoo pint (rhyming with mint) Arum maculatum has a host of local names like Lord's and Lady's, and Parson in the pulpit and Wild arum. The purple spadix emits a scent which attracts insects into the base of the flower where downward hairs trap them while they pollinate the flowers below. Throughout the woodland. 17th May 2015.

   
The Greylag family continued from last month.......

Five out six of the Greylag goslings survived by the 10th May 2015 above, and on the 20th May 2015 two of the family are pictured right on the lake side growing their plumage and almost fully fledged.

.Both photographs ©  Michael Rumble

   

Another Greylag goose with two goslings by the lake.   Photo ©  Colin Carron  8th May 2015

Two Canada geese goslings resting on the grassland around the lake. Photo ©  Colin Carron 8th May 2015.

Micro moth Incurvaria masculella on bramble leaf. This is a male which has these comb-like antennae. Length of wing 8mm. 2nd May 2015.

Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Micro moth Olindia schumacherana on oak leaf. Length of wing 8mm.

 2nd May 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Small leaf green weevil Phyllobius sp. Metallic green and gold. There several similar species of  this weevil and close examination would be needed to determine a species name. On oak leaf. 2nd May 2015. 

Photo © Michael Rumble

Pair of metallic gold micro moths Adela reaumurella. found on oak.. Female left has short antennae while the male right has antennae approx 2 inches in length giving this group of moths the name "Longhorn moths". 2nd May 2015. 

Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Green orb-web spider Araniella cucurbitina with its prey item a fly. Found on an oak tree leaf, but lifted on to finger to photograph.

Spider (to be identified) on hornbeam leaf. 21st May 2015.

 Photo © Michael Rumble 4th May 2015. .

Spider Tetragnatha extensa. on a nettle leaf. Note the length of the four front legs as compared with the hind legs. 4th May 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble. 

Two photographs of the Alder fly Sialis lutaria which prefers still water. The other two species in the UK prefer running water. To formally identify this genus requires very close examination. By the lake 4th May 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble. 

St. Mark's fly  Bibio marci  pair. These long-legged flies appear around the time of the Feast of Saint Mark (25th April) hatching from over-wintering larvae in the grassland. Photo ©  Michael Rumble   4th May 2015.        Orange ladybird Halyzia sedecimguttata. 12-16 spots (14 here) face and legs orange. Woodland species. On trees where it feeds on fungal threads. Photographed on nettle nettle ©  Michael Rumble  4th May 2015.

Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi female warming up on a blackthorn leaf.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble 4th May 2015.

Cranefly Nephrotoma appendiculata  pair hanging from Blackthorn bush. The adults feed on Cow parsley and the larvae live in the grassland. 4th May 2015.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Top: Soldier beetle Cantharis dicipiens on nettle Photo © Michael Rumble 20th May 2015.  Above: Oak sawfly larva Periclista lineolata a pest of oak trees. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Small Heath butterfly Coenonympha pamphilus a tiny grassland butterfly. Settled with its wings closed and angled towards the sun. Grass is the larval foodplant. 25th May 2015. on Hoghill.

Cuckoo bee on dandelion. Peter Harvey, Essex Field Club Hymenopteran Recorder,  writes, "This is one of the Nomada cuckoo bees, probably Nomada goodeniana, but there are a lot of similar species and it really needs examination of an actual specimen. Photo ©  Michael Rumble 1st May 2015.

And finally a great veteran of the forest.........

An ancient hornbeam pollard. Difficult to age but could be several hundred years old. If the pollard survives gales the heart wood will rot and the only living and surviving part of the tree is the bark which carries the nutrients to and from the branches and ,leaves. Recently pollarded, the tree will eventually split lengthwise. There are several pollards in the ancient woodland at this stage. They support bats, nesting sites and are invaluable for insects and spiders which have special requirements.   Photo ©  Colin Carron . 8th May 2015.

JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY   JUNE   JULY   AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER    NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

April 2015

First hawthorn blossom  28th April 2015.     All photographs © Brian Ecott unless credited

 
I spy with my little eye, a great nesting site, I must get my partner to have a look........   

Blue tit pictures © Michael Rumble

Did they choose the site?   -  See later on.

 
Ash flower buds bursting open on the 6th April 2015. The this year the old  adage was OAK before ash at Hainault.

Blackthorn or Sloe flowers before the leaves appear. 6th April 2015

The Blackthorn on a mound on the north-east of the lake illustrate an historic feature of planting at Hainault. In 1910 Poplar, Tremula, Birch and Beech were encircled by "bramble, gorse and thorn" to prevent damage to the trees by cattle which were present at Foxburrows. 14th April 2015.

Pollards on Captain Ethelstones land, near Roes Well.  13th April 2015. The Hornbeam's pale green leaves were beginning to open.  

An attempt to pollard this old hornbeam on the Camelot path. Pollarding hasn't been carried out regularly for over 160 years formerly by the charcoal burners. Trees are top heavy, fall in gales, do not heal after cutting and mostly go into decline and die. Some pollarding was carried out in 1990 at Lambourne but these have gone. Various methods have been suggested and there  has been some success at Chigwell Row Nature Reserve. It is a management nightmare to try and maintain these grand pollards. 

13th April 2015

Catkins of Hornbeam. Like many early trees, hazel, poplars and willows are mainly wind pollinated.  13th April 2015.
Two early Speedwells, left above, Ivy-leaved speedwell Veronica hederifolia and above right Common field speedwell V. persica. 14th April 2015.

Our only patch of Wood anemone Anemone nemorosa near the junction of the Headland path and Retreat path. 8th April 2015.

Wood sorrel Oxalis acetosella is common in the Ancient woodland where it likes humus rich and well drained soil. It is shade tolerant. Lambourne Wood. 18th April 2015

Crab apple blossom 25th April 2015.

The Cowslip Primula veris is spreading in the wild flower meadow near the main gate. 6th April 2015. Common storksbill Erodium cicutarium along the kerb edges near the main entrance. 6th April 2015 
The Common dog violet Viola riviniana (above) and the Early dog violet Viola reichenbachiana (not shown)  are both doing well as a result of the drainage and opening up of paths in the scrub area below the lake, bringing in more light. A good area to watch developments.  14th April 2015. Wood forget-me-not Myosotis sylvatica 14th April 2015. Along the ditches in similar areas to the Violets, in the scrub clearance areas below the Lake.
Silver-leaved Yellow archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentium. a garden escape from Woolhampton Way is now naturalised along the path and into the woodland. 10th April 2015. A black bee with pollen sac visiting White deadnettle Lamium album 21st April 2015.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble. Peter Harvey Recorder, Hymenoptera, Essex Field Club writes,  "This is almost certainly a female Anthophora plumipes, the 'Hairy-footed flower bee, where the males are brighter and have long hairs on the middle legs."   Incidentally Michael photographed the male in May 2011. Click here.

 Hoverfly Eristalis pertinax on hawthorn leaf. 18th April 2015

Photo ©  Michael Rumble

 A hoverfly Syrphus ribesi on Dandelion  18th April 2015

Bee-fly Bombylius major hovering. This is a harmless fly and the sting-like projection at the front is part of the mouthpart which it uses to probe nectar from flowers. Something similar to the way a humming bird feeds.

Bee-fly Bombylius major resting on leaf litter. Common this month. 16th April Photo © Colin Carron  8th April 2015

Holly blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus overwinters as a pupa. Two generations per year. Spring generation lays eggs on Holly, Autumn generation lays eggs on Ivy.17th April 2015  Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

Peacock butterfly Inachis io 21st April 2015  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni   Photo ©  Michael Rumble  24th April 2015.

 

 

Several butterflies made an appearance this month including Peacock, Holly blue, Brimstone, Small tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled wood, Red admiral,  Small white butterfly, and on the 28th male Orange tips were flying..

Speckled wood butterfly Parage aegeria. 28th April 2015

Drake Tufted duck above, and right a pair of Tufted ducks   Photos ©  Michael Rumble. 21st April 2015

Tufted duck drake resting. Photo © Colin Carron  8th April 2015

Tufted duck female Photo © Colin Carron  8th April 2015

11th April 2015 The first appearance of a family of Greylag geese. All the ducks and geese on the lake formed an arc around the family as if taking an interest in the event. It's easy to put an anthropomorphous  interpretation of this behaviour - I wonder what was really happening.

24th April 2015. A fortnight later, the goslings are growing up and their parents are ever vigil and ready to attack, as my Yorkie found out when he was chased and pecked when venturing to close.

The Wren is often seen flitting from low scrub and bramble and the woodland areas. Colin Carron managed to photograph this one. 17th April 2015.

     A Robin's territory has to be defended, and singing is part of this in fine weather and even in a gale.   Photos ©  Michael Rumble 3rd and 15th April 2015.

A couple of close up photographs of a Buzzard soaring overhead in the Country Park.  Photos ©  Colin Carron. 

Starling showing glossy sheen. Photo ©  Michael Rumble 7th April 2015.

Jackdaw  Photo ©  Michael Rumble 14th April 2015.

 Roy Woodward (Essex Bird Recorder, London Natural History Society) writes "Your photos show adult Dunnocks, with the one with a raised wing being a nice photo showing part of courtship display."   Photos ©  Michael Rumble   7th April 2015.

A slime mould on rotting wood Enteridium lycoperdon. Slime moulds have their own Kingdom - the Myxomycetes. Click here for more pictures.

The rust Uromyces ficaria on the leaves of lesser celandine 27th April 2015

Photo © Colin Carron 8th April 2015

A fallen hornbeam trunk without bark is showing green patches of a leafy liverwort which on examination shows two rows of tiny leaves. The leaves are entire at the tip of stem with lower leaves bidentate or two toothed. This is Lophocolea heterophylla (Variable leaved crestwort).  8th April 2015.
Close up of Lophocolea showing several capsules containing spores, and others that have released their spores. Photo ©  Michael Rumble 15th April 2015.  

 

 

JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY   JUNE   JULY   AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

March 2015

One of two Buzzards circling high on the thermals. 21st March 2015. Buzzards are seen regularly over Hainault but their single mew call is often the first hint they are present. Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

Mandarin ducks at Sheepwater. Two gaudy males and a light coloured female.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble 17th March 2015

Mandarin drake at Sheepwater. The plumage is magnificent. 17th March 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

One of a pair of Muscovy ducks on the lake. 21st March 2015.                   Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

Black-headed gull on the lake. The head is actually brown, and the eye liner is white. The Black-headed gull is present throughout the winter here, and they are just developing their summer plumage. Photo © Colin Carron. "Ugly duckling" This is one of two juvenile swans or cygnets on the lake. Maybe last years brood.  Photo © Colin Carron.

Greylag goose on the lake. There are usually 3 or 4 breeding pairs on the lake. Photo ©  Colin Carron.

DAISY Bellis perennis a common plant of the short grassland opposite the zoo.  28th March 2015 PRIMROSE Primula veris probably a garden escape. Back of Woolhampton Way. 6th March 2015

CHERRY PLUM Prunus cerasifera. Small white blossom appearing before the leaves. Occurs on woodland edges near the Camelot and in Hainault Lodge Nature Reserve. In flower before the Blackthorn and Hawthorn.

Photo: 7th March 2015  on Hoghill.

An early bee visits the Cherry plum. March 2015.  Photo ©  Colin Carron.

 COLTSFOOT Tussilago farfara.  Present along the edges of the lake. It flowers before the leaves appear. Photo: 6th March 2015

RED DEADNETTLE Lamium purpureum.

Common on path edges,  and around the farm buildings. Flowers early spring to late autumn.  Photo:23rd March 2015. 1st overflow car park

 Out from hibernation the Marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus  on a Dandelion. 7th March 2015.

First recorded in Hainault in November 2012 on Hawthorn, this is a second specimen of the lichen Ramalina fastigata.  24th March 2015. Plantation area. R. fastigata  can only grow in low levels of Sulphur dioxide pollution (i.e. mean winter levels of SO2 below 35 µg m-3

Slots (footprints) of Muntjac deer on a lake mound. These are tiny and compare in size to a £2 coin. Muntjac are common in the forest but are rarely seen  being solitary creatures.  8th March 2015. Rabbit in the plantation. 23rd March 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

The length of the lake feeder stream was cleared of scrub last year and makes a nice walk along its length. The light getting in is helping to create a good habitat. The Crescent cup liverwort along the banks was mentioned in the February page. Photo  7th March 2015. A photograph across the stream shows a Hart's tongue fern Phyllitis scolopendrium. There are several here along the bank. Also in the forefront is the  LESSER CELANDINE Ranunculus ficaria. Found throughout the woodland especially where damp. Photo: 28th March 2015

 

As usual there was a mass of frogspawn in Roe's well. In the region of about 100 clutches. Roe's well is the favoured pond in the forest. When restored by the Woodland Trust all the logs and timber were placed around the pond and covered in silt making a suitable wildlife habitat. Frogspawn was about two weeks late this year.  14th March 2015. Goat willow aka Pussy willow Salix caprea. These are the male catkins and are sought after by early butterflies and other insects. As a young child I knew this as Palm and it was used as a decoration at home and in Churches on Palm Sunday. Photo : 29th March 2015.
Gorse Ulex europaeus flowers during the winter months but is at its best at the back of the amenity grassland now in early March. It provides a good thicket for small nesting birds. 7th March 2015.

A small patch of green (arrowed) on a gnarled ash tree alongside Sheepwater was on closer inspection a liverwort.  24th March 2015.

The patch was measured as 4.5cm across and was identified as Forked veilwort Metzgeria furcata a common lowland species found especially in association with Ash trees.   Photo ©  Michael Rumble  8th March 2015.

The liverwort has thin strips of tissue known as thalli and each thallus (singular) is approx 1mm in width and can be seen in the centre of the picture above to divide into two (bifurcate). It has a thickened midrib.

Photo ©  Michael Rumble   8th March 2015.

Photograph of a Beech tree at the back of the lake which is covered in a mass of microscopic algae giving an orange colouring. Its generic name is Trentepohlia. It is classified as being a green filamentous algae in which the green chlorophyll is masked by an orange carotenoid pigment. Common on tree trunks in the forest.. 24th March 2015   
Following a very wet winter in 2013/4 the forest rangers started to open up the blocked ditches click here. Progress was hampered by needing to get machinery into thick scrubby areas which had developed over many years. Some of the ditches were dug by the GLC to drain the fields near the Romford Road which were cornfields during the war years. This drainage was to use the land as a tree nursery and plantation to line roads in the area. With the help of the Redbridge Conservation rangers and a team of volunteers considerable inroads have been made into these scrubby areas, and not only will the work ensue that light gets in to the area, more ditches can be cleaned, and the open areas will make more interesting walks for visitors. The conservation team and volunteers are to be congratulated on their valuable work at Hainault and also throughout the Borough. This voluntary work needs to be encouraged as it provides a huge saving for Redbridge in times of austerity.                Photos ©  Francis Castro  3rd March 2015. Hainault Forest.

 

 

Left: The Plantation (March 1966)

With thanks to London Metropolitan Archives

for the use of the photograph.

 

and finally.........the eclipse that didn't show up at Hainault.

9.35am on Friday 20th March 2015. At the maximum cover of the eclipse (84% in London) a strange dusk was momentary seen at Hainault. The cloud cover prevented the eclipse of the sun from being seen. Looking towards the first car park, the lake and Chigwell Row Church.

 

JANUARY    FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY   JUNE   JULY   AUGUST   SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

 February 2015

The Polypody fern above and right was found on a fallen hawthorn on Cabin Hill. Despite searches it appears to be the only specimen. It is not common in Essex and has declined over many years due to dryness of the habitat. It is described as an epiphyte, growing on trees but not parasitic, taking its nutrients by photosynthesis and rainwater.

This fern was examined by Dr Kenneth Adams, Recorder,  Essex Field Club, Botanical Society of the British Isles, and British Bryological Society and determined as either Western polypody Polypodium interjectum or a hybrid Polypodium x mantoniae. Identification will be fully determined when the fern produces fertile fronds. The microclimate surrounding the fern habitat will need to be considered when managing the immediate area.   10th February 2015.

 

 

The Goldcrest (along with the Firecrest) are said by the RSPB to be Britain's smallest birds.

In the winter months the Goldcrest moves from coniferous areas to broadleaf woodlands and other sites in the search of insects.

 

The magnificent Goldcrest pictures (above and left) were taken by Colin Carron and show it searching under the leaves of holly for insects, aphids and spiders for food.  Photos © Colin Carron  late January 2015.

 

 

 

Above: Great tit foraging amongst the leaf litter. The yellow breast with the black bib which forms a black stripe down the belly is an important pattern marker for rivalry among male birds - the wider the band the higher the ranking of the bird. At this time of year a distinctive call is heard "teacher teacher" which is also described as a the noise of a bicycle pump inflating a tyre.

Photo © Colin Carron February 2015.

 

The Redwing pictured left is often accompanied by the Fieldfare as winter visitors here. The Redwing is the smallest of the thrushes and feeds on the hawthorn berries in hard winters. The two head stripes and the red flanks distinguish it from the song thrush.. In spring it migrates to Scandinavia with a few staying in  northern Scotland.

Photo © Colin Carron

late January 2015.

 

The Greater spotted woodpecker is often heard drumming on trees searching for grubs in the bark of old trees. The bird pictured left is a female as it lacks the red spot on the nape or back of head.

Photo ©  Colin Carron.

Late January 2015.

 

 

The Magpie is common throughout the forest and especially around the farm and cafe.

Colin Carron pictured this magpie to show the iridescence of the feathers in full sunlight. The blue, green and the purple sheen on the tail feathers are all seen in the photograph,

©  February 2015

 

On the bank of the lake inflow from the Common is a mass of Liverwort.  8th February 2015.

A close up of the plant shows it to be Crescent cup liverwort Lunularia cruciata. The name refers to its Moon shape cups (above right) which contain disc-like gemmae which get washed out of the cups and grow into new plants..
Cramp balls aka King Alfred Cakes. Hard cinder-like fungi on fallen branch - probably ash on which it is normally found. A section through the fungus shows concentric growth rings hence its specific name Daldinia concentrica.  10th February 2015.

Common earthball Scleroderma citrinum. Unlike the puffballs which have a thin skin and liberate spores when hit by raindrops The Earthballs contain a mass of black spores which are liberated by breakdown of the fungus. 

Hence sclero=hard derma=skin.   Photo © Colin Carron. February 2015.

Turkey tail Trametes versicolor on stump. Varied coloured bands with white edges, tiered. Photo ©  Colin Carron  February 2015.
  Jelly Ear  Auricularia auricula-judae on old elder branch  18th February 2015

A common moss on branches and logs. Bryum capillare. 18th Feb. 2015.

 

A few plants of Butcher's broom Ruscus aculeatus can be found scattered throughout the forest and Hainault Lodge reserve.  It belongs to the Lily family and is closely related to Asparagus.

It is found in Europe but in the UK is confined to southern England. It is a plant curiosity in that what appear to be leaves are in fact flattened stems known as cladodes with a sharp spine on the end. True leaves are absent or vestigial.

Proof that these structures are stems and not leaves is illustrated above right in that buds and flowers grow from them, Later in the year a large red berry will develop from the female flower.

Pictured left is an enlarged male flower showing a pollen mass.

Butcher's Broom  was wisely used in butchers shops as besoms to clean the butchers chopping blocks, to sweep the sawdust on the floor and at one time the trays of meat on display in the window were surrounded by a small "hedge"  to keep mice away. Later it was just cosmetic to place a parsley hedge around the meat and nowadays a plastic hedge is used in traditional butchers.

Cabin Hill,  22nd February 2015.

Moss covered logs on Hog Hill  20th February 2015.

 

JANUARY   FEBRUARY   MARCH    APRIL   MAY   JUNE   JULY   AUGUST  SEPTEMBER   OCTOBER   NOVEMBER   DECEMBER

January 2015

On the 5th January 2015 at newly erected posts marking the car park were occupied by Black-headed gulls. This was a common sight prior to the posts' removal before the Olympics in 2012.

GREY ALDER 

Scanned 18th January 2015

The Grey alder grows near the Lake outlet and by mid January was sporting some very long catkins.

Trees with catkins are wind-pollinated, because early in the year there are no insects around. Clouds of pollen are shed from the catkins and find their way to the female flowers located on the same tree or same species elsewhere.

The female flowers will develop into the familiar "cones" seen on Alder trees.

An enlarged scan below shows the female flowers in more detail.

Below is a photograph of HAZEL catkins taken on 4th January 2015 growing along Alice's hedge by the golf course.

 

Look carefully and you will see the female flowers, which are tiny but have been enlarged in the lowest picture.

 

These will develop into cobnuts in the autumn which are favourites of squirrels, mice and voles.

 

Yellow Brain fungus Tremella mesenterica  on dead branch near the lake. The lobes are yellow-orange and soft. 4th January 2015.
Witches butter Exidia glandulosa on fallen branch. The fungus is covered with a thin layer of ice. 4th January 2015.

A white crust on a fallen log. Close up showing pores. Identified by local mycologist Peter Comber as Trechispora mollusca. 4th January 2015

Cherry galls Cynips quercusfolii ♀♀ are still attached to the  underside of the leaves in the leaf litter. 5th January 2015. These will hatch in the spring and the very tiny wasps lay eggs which form galls in the oak buds.

Grey haired Cushion moss Grimmia pulvinata on pavement edge. Hog Hill. 31st January 2015. The individual cushions vary in diameter but often 2-3cms high. An enlarged scan below left. 

Close up scan of Grimmia pulvinata shows that the capsules curl over and liberate their spores within the cushion. Each leaf is tipped with a long grey hair, larger than the leaf itself. Hence its other common name of Hedgehog moss. 31st January 2015.

Common Feather moss Eurhynchium praelongum is common throughout the woodland. In the winter months it is very common and prolific covering fallen branches.  26th January 2015.

Lichen Cladonia ochrochlora 26th January 2015.  This is a new record for Hainault Forest, and was found on a rotting stump alongside Roe's Well.

Many thanks to Essex Field Club's lichenologist John Skinner for confirmation

Moles are very active on Hog Hill alongside the woodland. Their spoil heaps are large and numerous., and their underground activity helps with drainage. 31st January 2015.

The two evergreen trees in the 2nd car park are oak trees. The leaves are dissimilar to the leaves that we usually associate with oak. Close examination during the year will reveal catkins and acorns. This species called Holm oak or Holly oak Quercus ilex hails from the Mediterranean. 18th January 2015.
On the 28th January 2015 alongside the café, amongst a flock of Canada geese was a small brown goose. I sent a picture to Roy Woodward, Essex sector Bird Recorder for the London Natural History Society who reported "Your mystery goose is indeed an Egyptian Goose, probably in its1st winter" Roy also commented that This species has increased in number considerably in the London Area in recent years, and is now turning up in many parks, and similar areas, in the Essex sector.

And finally.......... farewell to Flight Sergeant 1181163 Harold Bennett

21 July 1921 - 9 January 2015

Picture above with thanks to David Martin, Fairlop Heritage Group Chairman.

 

Flight sergeant Harold Bennett  who was the first pilot to fly operational in 603 squadron from Fairlop Aerodrome in WW2 died on the 9th January 2015 in his 94th year.

Many local people will recall Harold's attendance at the Centenery of Flying at Fairlop in 2011 which was also the 70th  anniversary of Fairlop aerodrome becoming operational in 1941. This was held at Fairlop Waters on the 11th June 2011 which was also Harold's 90th Birthday.

Pictured left, Harold Bennett displays an authentic model of his Spitfire when he recalled being shot down in December 1941 and spending the rest of the war as a German prisoner.