Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Life on a log

The weather's been damp and grey for days now and we have more rain forecast for tomorrow, so I made the most of some sunshine and went for a walk around Pulpit Hill this morning. It's one of those special places, very atmospheric and full of wonderful wildlife.

I walked through the hill fort and looked down at Grangelands and the Rifle Range below. Usually the trees block out the view, but with the leaves down, you can see right down to the chalk grassland below. It's such a great site for orchids and butterflies and seeing it through the trees made me look forward to the spring.

I walked around the top of the hill and a pile of logs caught my eye. I clambered around on them and had a good look and was amazed by the amount of wildlife making their home there.
Log pile house
I found several slime mould growing on the logs. One had clusters of white 'flowers' hanging underneath the branches from brown hairs or stalks. I believe it's called badhamia utricularis (I don't think it has a common name) and it appears to grow on the remains of bracket fungus and not on the logs themselves. It looked quite pretty and unusual, but I think it's actually quite common (probably just gets overlooked unless you happen to be clambering around in piles of logs!)

A couple of other slime moulds ... both a bit brown and 'mouldy'!

There were lots of different types of moss growing on the logs...

 ... and fungus.

King Alfred's cakes growing on the end of a log

One of the oyster family (or maybe an oysterling)

Some very puffed out puff balls

Something had been using the logs as a dining table and left behind a pile of half eaten fungi.

Some beech woodwart had slug slime and a nibble hole in it...

... and some snails had tucked themselves up for the winter.

It's amazing what you can find when you really look!

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