Monday 4 March 2024

Lowestoft Life - 4th March 2024

It was a cold, clear and bright start with no wind either and as a consequence there was a good frost at 6.45 when I went to check my trap.  Surprisingly it was not empty and I had two smart Common Quakers tucked up in an egg box.  The male Blackbird is now visiting daily for an early poke around for mealworms and even the Starlings and House Sparrows are beginning to visit at last.

Common Quakers

At the weekend some pictures were posted of Earthstars in Beccles Cemetery but despite no directions being forthcoming of where to look in this large site we still headed that way for a look, depositing the ladies in the town centre on the way.

We circled around the edge and wiggled back and forth through the middle, checking under trees both deciduous and coniferous.  There were some fine old Yews with the males sending drifts of sulphur pollen into the air and some immense Pines along with towering Bay Laurels just beginning to bud and a wall of scent from the Box Trees that we found.

Cherry Plum


Box Tree

My last post mentioned the lack of Box Moth signs at Lynford on the Box trees but alas in the cemetery there were early signs on this destructive moths presence. We found two species of mine of Holm Oak and Bramble and both Psyche casta and Luffia lapidella on gravestones.  Phytomyza ilicis was on the Holly as expected.

Phytomyza ilicis 

Spurge-Laurel, Sweet Violets and Primroses were in flower and a Comma was the only Butterfly seen but there were quite a few Calliphora vicina and at least fifty Seven Spot Ladybirds but of the magic mushrooms there was no sign.



Stinking Iris - beef and onion crisps...

Sweet Violets

There were Goldcrests and Coal Tits singing and noisy Jays squawking their way through the trees.  A final loop on the section nearest the car with eyes still peeled finally produced the reward we were after and there under a Laurel were the Earthstars.  They were well over and no longer flush to the ground having pushed up and matured with their puffball ‘heads’ straining to the heavens to catch a breeze and release their microscopic spoors.  Most had toppled over with some looking like alien eyeballs and others looking like fungimen striding through the leaf litter.  They were smaller than expected but fantastic to see nonetheless.

Like fat headed little running fungi-men

Frankly, quite disturbing

Vaulted Earthstar - Geastrum britannicum

The day of fungal delights was surprisingly not over and on one of my mossy logs in the front garden there were a series of small orange discs.  I thought that they would be young Elf Cups but closer inspection revealed that they were in fact Eyelash Cups!! Each one had little curved black hairs around the border.

Eyelash Cups - c7mm across

Eyelash Cup - Antony Wren

Amazing what you discover under your nose. 

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