Wednesday 15 October 2014

Autumn in the birches

There are lots of birch trees in my local patch so my latest finds are not really surprising.

The birch polypore is a fairly large fungus that appears in autumn and can last for over a year. This is a fresh one which appeared this month. The tree is dead and a favourite haunt of greater spotted woodpeckers. (As seen here)

The fungus is said to have many medicinal properties but is unpalatable for eating. A piece of this fungus was carried by "Ötzi the Iceman" – the 5,000 year old mummy found in the Tyrol.

Another unsurprising find was this little shieldbug.

It's the birch shieldbug, Elasmostethus interstinctus. This one was probably looking for a place to hibernate today. They overwinter as adults and emerge to mate and lay eggs in the spring.

Where do I Walk?

Mainly around the National Trust land at Washington Common and Warren Hill in West Sussex. I also spend some time around my old Steyning walks and other interesting places in West Sussex.