Lichens and Nest Boxes
Wednesday, January 11th 2017
The bitter windy day began with the checking of the moth trap. The trap itself did not yield any moths, but the white sheet which reflected the light of the bright mercury vapour bulb had just one Early Moth sitting on it.
Our knowledge of Lichens is very limited, so we were more than happy to join a group who attended the reserve with the sole purpose of identifying these much by-passed mini wonders. With lens in hand I was introduced to a beautiful micro world with words like Thallus, Crustose, Foliose and Fruticose that had my head spinning. We examined stones, this one with a beautiful Baeomyces rufus
The lens showed us its mushroom like fruiting bodies. Some lichens are only found on certain rock types, and you could identify a rock by the identification of the lichen.
We made our way around the reserve from bridge handrails showing Physcia aipolia...
...to rotting wood with a variety of Dog Lichen; a sample has been taken away for a detailed examination.
And examining branches with Physcia adscendens
As well as bark crevices hosting a multitude of lichens
Thank you to Lez and Sue who are also Lichen recorders for the Catterick Training Area Conservation Group, as well as Chris Meek who set up and led this walk.
In the afternoon we ventured out into chilly blustery conditions to clean out some owl boxes ready for potential inhabitants later in the spring.
With some of the boxes occupied by Jackdaws last year there was a fair bit of twigs and debris to remove.
Replacing some boxes we discovered Larch Ladybirds, and other delights, as yet I am unable to identify the orange beetle in the middle of the pic below
This bat box had a wasp nest filling the entire box, thankfully it held no wasps with only queen wasps over-wintering elsewhere.
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