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NEWSLETTER NO 69                                                SPRING 2013

PRESIDENT:GEOFF CORNEY

EDITORS: JOANNE COLTHUP MARIAN SARTIN

 

CHAIRWOMAN’S REPORT

 

I hope you are all satisfied with the programme of walks we have arranged for the coming Summer, (if we get one this year,) and can attend at least some of them, especially those in the Harrow area.

 

I would like to remind you that it was agreed at the A. G. M. in November, that the Subscriptions from September, 2013, will be as follows:-

Family £14.00

Single Adult £10.00

This will allow us to have a greater choice of speakers during the winter period, since many of them have increased the prices they charge for their services to us.

 

Donations received via the Funeral Directors in Memory of Gerry Kew was£190.00

and the collection from the Harrow Natural History Society group35.00

Totalling£225.00

 

The Field Trip this year will be from the 20th May, until the 24th May, staying half board at the Chichester Park Hotel, West Sussex, and will cost about £48.00 per night for the 4 nights.I have already paid the £250.00 holding deposit but have not been able as yet to fix a definite price per member, as it depends on the number of people wishing to join us, but at the moment I have 19 on the list, at present.

Anyone interested in joining us, or wants more information can phone me on 8951 4080 or when you come to one of the evening meetings I always put the relevant data on the end table for you to read.

John Hollingdale, Margaret and I usually go down to fix an Itinerary a week or two before, but basically it’s up to you what you want to do when you are there and nobody is expected to join in if they don’t want to come with us, so why not come for an enjoyable and sociable break, even if all you would like to do is explore Chichester, or Selborne and learn more about Gilbert White, or see the Gardens at West Dean.Once you come you will never want to miss our trips again, as we always have a wonderful time even if the weather is not great.

 

Evelyn Crispe

 

 

Saturday, September 8th, 2012CroxleyCommom Moor.Leader: Joanne Colthup

 

A beautifully warm day as we met at Croxley Station on the Met Line for the short walk to

Common Moor adjoining the Grand Union Canal.Attendance was good, and the moor is

reckoned to be one of the most important botanical sites in Herts.It is rich alluvial flood – plain fen, heath, neutral grassland, swamp and river.The river Gade runs through the moor.

 

It was a day for butterflies, most we saw in ones and twos but Red Admiral were plentiful.

 

Small Heath.Peacock

Small White2 Red Admiral drinking the moisture from the gravel by the R. Gade.

BrimstoneAbout 3 doz Red Admiral on Buddleia.

Comma

 

A selection of the flowers are listed, in order of finding rather than botanical order.

 

Small Balsam - Impatiens parvifloraBetony – Stachysofficinalis

Orange Balsam-Impatiens pratensisDevils Bit Scabious – Succisapratensis

Common Fleabane – PulicariadysentericaCentury – Centauriumerythraea

Hare Bell – Campanula rotundifoliaDittander – Lepidiumlatifolium

Rest Harrow – OnonisrepensStone Parsley – Sisonamomum

Dyer's Greenweed – GenistatinctoriaMusk Mallow – Malvamoschata

Lady's Bedstraw – GaliumverumSoapwort – Saponariaofficinalis.

 

Birds seen and heard

 

LinnetsGreen WoodpeckerHeron

GoldfinchesBuzzard

 

We ended the day by climbing up to the Buddleia walk which is on land owned by London Transport but derelict for many years.It was recently saved from being developed as a railway depot by local residents and designated as a village green.The masses of bushes were covered in Red Admiral, John counted about 3 dozen.

 

As a diversion, I met friends with a young family fishing from a bridge over the Gade.They were aiming to catch the large alien crayfish which are taking over our rivers.Just by putting a net into the water they were catching them in plenty to take home and cook.

 

Joanne Colthup

 

Tree Walk in Headstone Manor Park on Saturday 6th October 2012

 

The previous day was very wet so we were lucky to have a fine bright day for our Tree walk. The walk was organised jointly with The Friends of Harrow Museum and was led by the knowledgeable and entertaining John Wells.

We started off by looking at the good range of trees that are behind the Manor House inside the moat. We learnt that the Yew was one of our three native conifers (the other two being Scots Pine and Juniper). Every part of the yew is poisonous except the red outer part of the “berries” which are really open cones. These Yews were obviously female, bearing a good amount of “berries”.

We learnt about simple and compound leaves on broadleafed trees and compared the arrangements on the Ash and the Walnut trees. Most of the Cherries and Plums (Prunus) have four glands at the junction of their leaf stalks and their leaves – all useful clues for identification. A large leaf was easily identified when reunited with its tree – the London Plane tree’s dappled bark being very distinctive. We looked at the three different oaks in the park only one of which is native – the English oak (Quercusrobur). The other two: Turkey oak (Quercuscerris) and the evergreen Holm oak (Quercus ilex) have been introduced.

There was so much to see and enjoy in one local park!

Margaret Huitson

 

20th October 2012: Fungus Foray in Pear Wood. Leaders: Claire Abbott and Rosie Etheridge

 

The day before our foray Claire and I walked around the wood in the pouring rain and found very few fungus specimens. Fortunately the next day was fine. With eleven pairs of eyes we found well over 30 different species, most of which we were able to identify.

 

One of our first sightings was a spectacular bracket fungus, about 2 feet wide, probably Artist’s Fungus (Ganadermaapplanatum).There were plenty of Bonnet Caps (Mycena), including two that exude red juice – Bleeding Bell Cap (M. haematopus) and Small Bleeding Bell Cap (M.sanguinolenta). We also found a number of Lilac Bell Caps (M. pura) and a few specimens of Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria Amethystea). Other specimens included Butter Cap (Collybia buteracea) and Clouded Agaric(Clitocybe nebularis).

 

John, who was surreptitiously collecting leafmines for his moth studies, pointed out the Clean Air Fungus (Rhystismaacerinum), which produces back spots on Sycamore leaves.

 

At the end of the walk we spotted a group of Trooping Funnels (Clitocybe geotropa), a first for Pear Wood.

 

Thanks to all who attended the foray. Special thanks to Margaret, who nobly carried Roger Phillips “Mushrooms”, and to Elizabeth, who identified many specimens in the field and took the doubtful ones home for further study. Her experience and enthusiasm are always welcome on these occasions.

 

Rosie Etheridge

 

 

Visit to RuislipLido1st December, 2012led by Charles & Pam Davies.

 

Warmly clad for a damp, misty morning we met at 10.30 in the car park.Thirteen of us set off to look mainly for birds, but did surprisingly well in finding fungi which was usually solidly frozen.Elizabeth and Joyce were very helpful in identification of the fungi. Brian brought his telescope and most had binoculars so bird identification was good. We made very slow progress as is usual when looking for birds, but many were seen, and in good numbers.

 

Black Headed GullSwans( Marked as coming from Reading & Windsor)

Lesser Black Backed GullPochard

Common GullPied Wagtail

Moor HenCrow

CootGreat Tit

Canada GeeseLong tailed Tit

HeronChiffchaff

Tufted DuckNuthatch( heard not seen)

Shoveler

 

Fungi

 

Coprinusmicaceus - Glistening inkcapXylariahypoxylon-Candle snuff

Mycenagalerculata – Common bonnetStereum ?sp.

Piptoporuspetolina – Birch polyporeGanoderma ?sp.

Daedaleopsisconfragosa – Blushing bracket

Trametesversicolor-Turkey tails

 

It was a pleasant day, the sun came out later, and a good path made for reasonably dry walking.

Thank you Pam & Charles.

 

Joanne Colthup

 

 

LemsfordSpringsNature ReserveSaturday, 16th February.Leader: John Hollingdale.

 

It was the first dry mild day of the year for a meeting, so it was pleasant to meet at the Herts & Middx. reserve near Welwyn Garden City.The reserve was hidden away, and only accessible by key so was very quiet and free of dog walkers.It is a gem, old watercress beds alongside the River Lea, and tributaries.

 

The reserve is notorious for the Green Sandpiper which we saw almost immediately, a solitary bird, from the first hide.Not green at all but black and white with green legs.It was feeding on the Fairy Shrimp which is plentiful under the watercress in the shallow water.In the second hide we saw another Green Sandpiper, a much better view as it seemed to be sleeping, standing on a row of logs near to the hide.We also had excellent views of a Little Egret wading around for about ten minutes, it had spectacular yellow feet.Walking on through mainly Alder we saw :

ChaffinchWrenGoldfinchGreat titGrey wagtailMagpie

Red kiteMallardCrowCormorantKestrelWood pigeon

We saw and heard many Jackdaws in nearby fields.The highlight to many members was a

solitary Redpoll seen in an Alder.

 

It was too early for much flora though the Hazel and Alder were in full catkins.Lords and Ladies – Arum maculatum were in good leaf, and Dog's mercury – Mercurialisperennis, a green unspectacular flower was blooming in abundance.Clumps of Snowdrop – Galanthusnivalis were scattered and it was good to see the firstLesser Celandine – Ranunculus ficarius flowering.

 

Some fungi were lingering and was identified by Elizabeth.Crepidotusssp...,andTrametesversicolor- Turkey Tail.The find of the day was the Red Elf's Cup fungiin bright red and excellent condition.

Another find worth mentioning was a bee's nest in the corner of the ceiling of a hide looking just like a white golf ball.

 

We had lunch in the Sun Inn, Lemsford and then tried without success to visit the old mill opposite, but it was closed.Some members went on to visit the nearby lake.

Thank you John for a very interesting varied meeting.

 

Joanne Colthup

 

BIRD RECORDSAnyone who has bird records, please will you pass them to Elizabeth Stainthorpe.

 

LADYBIRDSIf you are interested to record Ladybirds that you see, for the London Ladybird Survey, please ask Marian Sartin for forms and identification aids if required.

 

WEBSITE:harrownaturalhistory.org.uk

 

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