National Trust Purbeck Wildlife


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Fungi on fungi

Parasitic bolete growing on an earthball

Parasitic bolete growing on an earthball

We generally think of fungi as being decomposers and without them we would be knee-deep in organic remains. But there are some that parasitise other fungi and a good example was found by Joy Fildes on a recent fungi foray. This is the parasitic bolete, Pseudoboletus parasiticus, fruiting from a common earthball, Scleroderma citrinum. The parasite is specific to this host and is a fairly rare find, probably the first record for Studland.

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What a Load of Carp

A big carp removed from Little Sea

A big carp removed from Little Sea

Watch Little Sea from any of the hides and you’ll soon notice prominent surface wakes and the occasional rise of a scaly back and fin. These are carp, illegally released into Little Sea, probably by unauthorised anglers, around 15 years ago. They have thrived to such an extent that there are some very large specimens in the lake now. But this hasn’t been a harmless introduction and it seems that the distribution of aquatic plants has contracted and numbers of overwintering wildfowl severely reduced as a result. Recently, the National Trust has begun a project to remove carp from the lake and though complete eradication is unlikely, the aim is to reduce the population and improve conditions for the native species.


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Birds on the Move

Reedbed at Shell Bay

Reedbed at Shell Bay

September is a great month for birdwatching with a mix of summer birds departing, winter birds arriving and migrants passing through. Look for groups of swallows, house martins and wheatears on the cliff tops, head for Greenlands or Hartland for migrants such as redstart, whinchat and yellow wagtail or Middlebere for osprey, marsh harrier and spoonbill. The small reedbed at Shell Bay is also worth a look for a range of warblers including garden warbler and lesser whitethroat and perhaps a surprise or two – recently a rare great white egret was seen there. But perhaps best of all, the Arctic breeders, turnstones, sanderlings and black-tailed godwits, return to our shorelines, these early arrivals still dressed in their fine summer plumage.