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Wanderings in an ancient woodland

Russ writes:

This morning I spent an enjoyable few hours ranging through an area of ancient woodland northeast of Lyndhurst. I was relieved to find that the largest Beech tree that I’ve found to date in this wood, a pollard with a 5.6 m girth, had survived the recent storms intact. However, another nearby pollard of 5.2 m girth had lost its largest limb, and I took a couple of images showing how this has further contributed to the opening up of a small clearing. Note the (presumed) Southern Bracket fungus on the second image below, that is now vertical rather than horizontal!

Despite the mostly overcast and breezy conditions it was a mild morning, aided by sporadic weak sunshine filtering through the clouds. Hawfinches and Firecrests sang enthusiastically, and the warmth encouraged a few insects to emerge from their slumbers - I recorded my first Woodland Dor Beetle (pic below) and Common Pond Skaters of the year, although the hoped-for Brimstone didn’t appear.

As I moved through a familiar part of the wood, I thought I’d check on a site where last autumn I found the nationally rare Pink Bracket fungus (Aurantiporus alborubescens). Sure enough, it was still there and looking surprisingly intact five months on, as shown in the ‘before-and-after’ shots below.

Similarly, I found these Common Puffballs standing erect (and still emitting spores when prodded), just where I found them last October, even though the adjacent lichen-encrusted branch has snapped off! Presumably the mild and damp winter is delaying the disintegration of these fungi.

A few other images from the last couple of days in my local (Woodlands) area are below:

Bank Vole, attempting to pull a 'peeled' acorn into its burrow

Bank Vole, nibbling on leaves of Navelwort

Butchers Broom flowers

Chocolate Mining Bee

Lichen Running Spider, a nationally scarce species

Dog-lichen (Peltigera horizontalis) on a fallen branch

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