Lichen Slang

We had a bit of a slow morning bird ringing the other week, so naturally I decided to have a nose around and ended up spending some time engrossed in twigs trying to remember what the name of that lichen with ‘jam tarts’ was – aka a crustose lichen with fruiting bodies that look suspiciously like mini jam tarts….. Or so I remember them being described to me once by my university lecturer! The lichen in question I believe is Lecanora chlarotera.

Lecanora chlarotera with 'jam tarts' - photo Eleanor Page

Lecanora chlarotera with ‘jam tarts’ – photo Eleanor Page

There was also one with long marginal ‘whiskers’ (cilia) – Physcia tenella seen here with Xanthoria parietina 

Physcia tenella

Physcia tenella

Physcia tenella with marginal cilia or 'whiskers' - photo Eleanor Page

Physcia tenella with marginal cilia or ‘whiskers’ – photo Eleanor Page

Not exactly technical I know, but when I’m looking down my hand lens at a small twig talking about jam tarts and whiskers, suddenly people seem to take an interest 😉 and for me (and my terrible memory) it definitely helps to get things to stick in my head!

Other lichen finds from the day:

Amandinea punctata

Amandinea punctata with black fruiting bodies 

Green Sandpiper, Pixie-cup Lichen and Kempton Nature Reserve Open Day

Hi all!

I’ve managed to do a bit of birding lately and hope to do a lot more as the months turn colder. I love Autumn!

This afternoon I got a great view of a lovely Green sandpiper at Kempton NR!

I’ve been told my camera is unfixable and I will need to purchase a new body, not something I will be able to afford any time soon! So apologises for the appalling photo but you get the idea.

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Can you spot him (or her)?

I also saw a Snipe and a Grey wagtail in the same spot last week. And I’m 99% sure a Clouded yellow butterfly flitted past and off in to the distance! Pretty unmistakable but I didn’t get a decent view before it disappeared, never to be seen again despite my persistent searching. I know that one was spotted earlier this year in this area and apparently they can still be seen on the wing as late as November!

There has been a number of Jack snipe sightings at London WWT so I went to have a look after volunteering last Friday but no luck! But I did see a couple of Snipe, a Stonechat and lots of Wigeon and Teal. Can’t complain!

I also wanted to share with you my favourite lichen.

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Cladonia pyxidata

As part of my Masters I had to make a lower plant collection and, as much as I appreciate mosses and liverworts some of them are, to be blunt, a pain in the arse to identify! So much of my collection was made up of lichens, and I grew to really love them.

Apart from the ones that grow on stone, they rival the mosses and liverworts when it comes to difficult identification. Plus they aren’t quite as pleasing to the eye.

This one is Cladonia pyxidata or ‘pixie-cup lichen’ said to be used by pixies as cups to sip the morning dew from……. Well, I like to think so any way 😉

Cladonia pyxidata

Cladonia pyxidata

In fact all the Cladonia species are pretty impressive! If you look at the left of that last photo you can see Cladonia rangiferina or ‘reindeer lichen’.

You can come and see these lovely lichens for yourself at Kempton Nature Reserve open day on the 26th of October and help celebrate the opening of the new hide! Which is definitely worth celebrating – it is gorgeous!

And in case you were wondering, so is the view.

View from the new hide at Kempton NR

View from the new hide at Kempton NR

Membership is £20 for 3 years (a steal!) but on this day it is open to the public so come along and get a taste of this beautiful wetland…. Apparently there will also be some ‘autumnal activities’!

More info here if you are interested and this is the official flyer!