The weather today was dreadful, certainly not the best conditions in which to count wading birds. By the end of the count, three hours later, I was soaked. My section to count was between Cliff Quay and Bridge Wood. I counted just over 3,000 Knot, the highest count so far this winter and there were over 1,000 Dunlin, which is also a good count these days. However, Black-tailed Godwit and wildfowl were absent. The Peregrine was on his usual perch high up on the bridge and there was a Sparrowhawk at Pipers Vale.
Mushrooms can be
found all year round but it is the autumn and early winter periods that are the
best times for finding them. Beech woods are
without doubt a very rich habitat for fungi. Pine forests, especially where
trees have been felled many years ago, are also productive. However, mushrooms
can be found almost anywhere, for example, playing fields, meadows and parks.
Chicken of the Woods
Mushroom hunting is a fun outdoor
activity for all the family. There are many varieties, shapes, sizes and colours. Many of the fungi species have
interesting common names such as Chicken of the Woods or Plumbs and custard.
Plumbs and Custard
By breaking down dead organic
material, they continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems. In addition,
most vascular plants and trees could not survive without the benefit of their symbiotic relationship
with mycorrhizal fungi that inhabit their roots and
supply essential nutrients.
Some species of fungi provide numerous drugs (such as penicillin and
other antibiotics), foods like mushrooms and the bubbles in bread, champagne,
say that there are up to 15,000 known species in the UK, but many more remain
unknown to science.
1000 insect and other invertebrate species depend on fungi during their life
cycle, using them for food, shelter and breeding - many could not exist without
·Look and enjoy their
beauty, take photographs rather than specimens.
·Leave fungi for
others to enjoy
·Do not disturb leaf
litter in the search for immature fungi, or you are likely to destroy many
immature specimens and perhaps kill their mycelium as well as plants and other
creatures that share the same habitat
·Be aware that some
very rare fungus species are protected by law and must not be picked or their
My interest in wildlife began many years ago, when short trousers were in fashion. The first bird’s nest that I found was that of a Song Thrush way back in 1949. Luckily for me during my childhood days, the Orwell estuary was my playground. My most memorable recollection from those early-1950s days, and one that has stayed with me ever since, was when I stood at the water’s edge of Mulberry Middle at low water. I was in awe of the vastness of the scene around me; the natural wilderness feeling was so powerful, and thereafter I was simply hooked on the beauty and the wildlife riches of the estuary and I have savoured that experience on so many occasions. I have also seen some dramatic changes. These days, only on a bleak winter’s day or during the depth of night does the estuary become, once again, a wilderness for its wildlife. These are just some of the reasons why I am passionate about and do all that I can in the world of conservation.