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NEWSLETTER NO 67                                                SPRING 2012




I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and you have a happy and healthy new year. I was unable to join the many walks with you last year due to personal reasons, but I hope to get out and about more in 2012.

For this year's field trip I have booked a hotel, originally a 15th century hunting lodge close to a brook, and in its own grounds, with leisure facilities including a large indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room.

We will be leaving on 28th May and returning on 1st June, and I expect the cost to be between £42 and £52 per night depending on the numbers wanting to go, which at the moment stands at 20, and I only have one twin room left, so if you are interested let me know as soon as possible.

I will be going there to stay with Margaret and John Hollingdale in the middle of May to set an itinerary, and we are hoping to explore the coast of Suffolk as well as the Dedham area of Essex. The whole area has plenty of diverse habitats including woods with Nightingales, heathland, marshes and river estuaries and of course lovely seaside views.

I am collecting £20 deposit now, and will need the remainder by the April meeting (when I definitely know how much it is) so that I can pay it in when I go down with John and Margaret.

In order to save some money, the society will not be booking the Blackwell Hall during the summer months. Keep an eye on the programme as we will still be meeting for walks and if we can find somewhere suitable will have refreshments afterward, though the evenings will be more difficult as the choice is limited.

I hope that you have a great summer nature watch, and look forward to seeing you on at least some of the meetings.

Evelyn Crispe

Fungus Foray SundaI 2nd October 2011

On the afternoon of Sunday 2nd October a party of 16 members and some visitors collected in the car park in Stanmore Country Park for a Fugus Foray. Simon Braidman had organized the meeting for the forum and John Hollindale guided us round the reserve. The temperature was in the low 80's and the ground was very dry but we still managed to find some fungi and a few unusual ones too. Three of us had done a trial run on the preceding Monday and we knew the fungi were mainly on the higher ground around  "Ant City" so we made our way to that area.

We found a few species on the way including The Lilac Bonnet (Mycena Pura),The Deceiver (Laccaria laccata) and the Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystina) as well as several Puff Balls. On a log we found some Stereum subtomentosum which is a pale colour and goes yellow when it is chewed in the mouth. On reaching" Ant City" we found Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare), and some Ugly Milk Cap (Lactarius turpis), several Fly Agarics (Amanita muscaria) and some Earth Balls. There were 3 more unusual species: a Hare's ear ( Otidea onotica) was found in the undergrowth near the path, the other 2 were a Russula which we thought, from our books, was the Stinking Brittlecap and the other one hasn't been identified as it was very dry and cracked.

Since the discovery of DNA which is present in all living organisms including plants and fungi the Mycologists have had to change many of their classifications and it has become very technical, and the identification of many species is impossible unless the spores and tissues are stained and examined under a microscope. However we can still enjoy going out into the woods on Fungus Forays to see what we can find -there are so many colours, shapes and sizes and some even edible! Although we found 28 different species (-we think! ), this includes 11 new records for the site.

Elizabeth Stainthorpe.

Ashridge Walk 13th November 2011

14 of us met on a sunny day and enjoyed a walk through the woods led by Betty Brown. Because of the rain over the previous few days we saw, and between us were able to identify quite a few fungi.

Artist's Bracket (Ganoderma applenatum), Butter Cap (Collybia butyracea)

Candle-Snuff (Xylaria hypoxloil), Cep or Penny Bun (Boletus edulis)

Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis), Common Puff-Ball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

Coral Spot (Nectria cinnabarina), Fly Algaric (Amanita muscaria)

Glistening Ink Cap (Coprinus micaceous), LepiotaRosea

Lilac Bonnet ( Mycena pura), Mycena maculata.

Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), Parasol (Macrolepiota procera)

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda)


Flying above clearing -unidentified, most likely a Pipistrelle (sunny and mild about 12.30pm.) Apparently it was the breeding season and the bat was confused by the warm weather.




2 Fallow Deer

Meeting at Broad Colney Lakes Saturday 24th September

Leader: Joanne Colthup

At the start of the Indian Summer, 15 members met at the Herts & Middx Reserve at Broad Colney Lakes near London Colney. The reserve consists of gravel pits dug out in the 1920s and allowed to fill with water and develop naturally. Despite late summer we saw many flowering plants that enjoy wet conditions.

Water chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum)  Angelica (Angelica sylvestris)

Trifid Bur-Marieold (Bidens tripartita) Orange Balsam (Impatiens capensis)


Several were noted, a Harlequin Larva, 3 Harlequin Ladybirds, of which 2 were black with 2 red spots, and the other one had a lot of markings; we also saw a native ladybird which was a 2 spot (red with 2 black spots).

Two red Admiral butterflies were seen.

We enjoyed lunch in the conservation area of London Colney by an ancient bridge spanning the river Colne and speculated on the identification of several fungi nearby. On the return journey by a different route we were able to watch a heron for several minutes as it stood motionless searching for fish and then came across a spectacular stand of Iarge White Water Lily (Nymphaea alba). It was a pleasant day after a dismal spell of dreary weather, but missing a variety of birds.

Post Christmas Walk 2011

Twelve of us met for the annual post Christmas walk on Wednesday 18th December. As a departure from tradition we met at Stanmore Common and the weather decided to be kind to us with not too severe a chill. John Hollingdale took us on a walk which started off by following the London Loop. We were soon finding fungi, and were surrounded by birds calling. We passed between the Brewery ponds where we were lucky enough to see about 8 Manderin ducks and a demonstration of their camouflage against the leaf litter. We walked to Caesar's Pond at Little Common and then back via Spring Pond where John explained some of the colourful history of the occupants of Spingbok formerly Warren House. A highly coloured fox was spotted by some slinking along by the pond. In all we identified sixteen bird species and eleven species of fungi including a Pufflball (on the cricket pitch) which comes loose and looks like a pebble.


Paltry Puffball       Bovista plumbea

Sulphur Tuft         Hyoholoma fasciculare

Turkey Tail          Trametes versicolor

                          Trametes gibbosa

Ganoderma spp

Clouded Clitocybe Clitocybe nebularis

                           Collybia dryophila 




Bjerkandera adusta


Black headed gull

Blue Tit



Great Tit


Long-tailed Tit



Mandarin DtJck



Red Wing





Visit to Woodcock Park, Kenton

On the first Wednesday of 2012, after a welcome cup of coffee, nine of us set off for Woodcock Park.

Woodcock park is situated south of the Wealdstone Brook, this open park is the second section of land which formed part of the grounds of Kenton Grange built as Kenton Lodge in 1803- 7. We were immediately greeted by birdsong and a short period of welcome sunshine. Along by the brook we saw Goldfinches, and the red berries of the Stinking Iris (Iris foetidissima) and some Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in flower. We were lucky to have good views of both the Grey Wagtail and the Pied Wagtail down by the water edge. The park has many interesting trees and shrubs including the Willow-leaved Pear and a Black Mulberry, both aged trees. Evelyn was thanked for leading an interesting walk.

Birds                                           Fungi

Chaffinch        Mistle Thrush         Ink Cap

Collar Dove    Pied Wagtail          Bjerkandera adusta

Crow             Song Thrush

Goldfinch       Starling

Great Tit        Wood Pigeon

Grey Wagtail

Visit to Syon Park Saturday 14th January 2012

The sun shone with as much strength as January allows for our visit to Syon Park, so we were able to enjoy walking round the pond and garden. Flowers were out, notably Christmas Roses, and Snowdrops as well as a wonderful small tree,colourful in red berries - unidentified?! A reasonable number of water birds were, 'early' on the lake: ducks, moorhens, and swans, as well as the usual selection of garden birds.

The green lane a semi-circular palace, was effectively empty, but obviously ready to spring forth when the temperature rises. However sheltering in a corner outside was a small but flowering shrubbery of Camellias, extremely pretty. We wound up the day by admiring the exotic fish in the aquarium and doing some shopping in the palatial garden nursery.

Altogether a very pleasant January trip.

Betty Brown.


9th February 2012

Stocker's Lake, Rickmansworth, Herts. Morning walk.

Despite the snow and ice and very low temperature, seven people arrived at this venue. We managed to walk and birdwatch at fair distance - down to the farm and canal and then along the causeway and back. We saw a good number of birds - highlights being good views of lapwings, redwings and fieldfares trying to find worms etc in the frozen field, and some excellent views of fieldfares demolishing berries in the bushes - beautiful birds! While standing on the bridge over the canal (which was frozen), a low down red kite flew over, and we were surrounded by house sparrows, chirping and seemingly enjoying themselves. There is a thriving population here, thankfully, because in other areas they have disappeared. The lakes were frozen over apart from one small area on the Aquadrome and this was packed with water birds - shoveler, gadwall, mallard, pochard, tufted duck, gt crested grebe, a few golden eye, coots, moorhens -to name some. And of course there were cormorants, grey heron and many gulls - mostly black-backed but at least one lesser black-back. On the way back we had good views of a small flock of siskins feeding in alder trees, and "tweeting" all the while! As a side line, at the end of the morning we enjoyed talking to a very friendly lady who explained the presence of mediaeval tents and people milling around in the field above the farm -all due to filming of some kind. So in all, it was a good morning and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

Joyce Staines

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