13 Sept 2014

Fungi and Pollinators

Colin Miles

Sept 2nd 2014 – hot! This year all kinds of wildlife have been ‘early’ and the presence of Waxcaps and other Fungi in various areas, not just in the Garden, prompted us to turn our attention to what is called the Waxcap meadow in Waun Las. But as well as this Bruce was keen to find out what was happening in the Double-Walled Garden in terms of both Fungi and Pollinators. So we split up into two groups and headed off.

The Waun Las group didn’t get far before Michael found a single spot of Ergot on a grass near the Bull. Two years ago there had been many, last year none. An ergot kernel, called a sclerotium, develops when a spore of fungal species of the genus Claviceps infects a floret of flowering grass or cereal. Ergotism – Human poisoning due to the consumption of rye bread made from ergot-infected grain was common in Europe in the Middle Ages. Not nice! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Moving on into the Waun Las meadow we soon found a small, yellow orange fibrous Waxcap. Unfortunately, apart from a couple of other white, unidentified Fungi that was the only real find, despite an extensive search. However, coming back and looking at Llyn Canol we were pleased to see at least five Little Grebe. Last year the nest had been clearly visible in the middle of the lake, but this year it must have been somewhere more secluded.

But the other group were far luckier, both in terms of Fungi and Pollinators. The many Fungi included Deceivers on the lawns under the oak and ash trees, Russules under the Silver Birch together with a whole host of brown leathery, Paxillus Involutus (Brown Roll Rim – highly poisonous) and Brown Birch Boletes (Leccinum Scabrum).

In the Double-Walled Garden itself the flowers were buzzing with Honey Bees, White Tailed and Carder Bumblebees, Hover flies, Small Tortoishell, Small White and Speckled Wood Butterflies, etc. They particularly liked the many varieties of Asteraceae, also called Compositae, the aster, daisy, or composite family of the flowering-plant order Asterales.

Thanks to John and Peter for the splendid photos, and if any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please send an email to Jane Down– you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested. If you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Survey blogs. If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.