Thursday, January 11, 2018
Winter mixed with spring
On a wind chill walk today I found the first expanded hazel catkins: always a sign to me that the wildlife season has started (though it never really finishes of course). Soon the hedges will be thick with these catkins shedding their pale yellow pollen.
Also on hazel, this time on dead, usually standing, trunks is the common and widespread ascomycete fungus known as hazel woodwart (Hypoxylon fuscum).
In the very sheltered Killingan Wood brick pit I found precocious flowers on a primrose and beside it on the wet leaves a dead male mottled umber moth (Erannis defoliaria) a winter-flying species whose season is nearly over. It used to be very common when I was young, but is thought to have declined in recent years. Like the winter moth, the females have very reduced wings useless for flight.