• lisa.fountain

Low Barns, Witton-le-Wear 08/09/2021

With summer coming to a close and Autumn waiting to begin, we were lucky to be greeted with blue skies and 25 degrees heat, it was a gorgeous summers day.

We concentrated our search on what was flowering now, though may have been more than a little bit distracted by all of the marvellous fungi we found along the way.

Through the gates we saw White dead nettle Lamium album, Red campion Silene dioca, Herb Robert Geraniam robertianum, Brambles Rubus fruticosus, and Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera in flower with the Hawthorns above in berry. Along by the first pond there was Nipplewort Lapsana communis, Rosebay willow herb Chamerion angustifolium, Water mint Mentha aquatica, Wood forget-me-not Myosotis sylvatica and a lovely Woundwort hybrid Stachys x ambigua at the forefront of the pond framing the Waterlilies just opening behind in centre stage.

Woundwort hybrid Stachys x ambigua

Water lilies Nymphaeaceae

On the pathway verges we saw Red bartsia Odontites vernus, Hedge parsley Torilis japonica, Knapweed Centaurea nigra and a Hawkbit we believed to be Autumn Hawkbit Scorzoneroides autumnalis flowering nicely. Then in the enclosed area to your left we found Meadow cranes-bill Geranium pratense, Creeping cinquefoil Potentilla reptans, Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Ragwort Senecio jacobaea, Red clover Trifolium pratense, Lesser trefoil Trifolium dubium, Meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis, Selfheal Prunella vulgaris and a few patches of Centaury Centaurium erythaea.

Yarrow Achillea millefolium and Common Centaury Centaurium erythaea

In the feeding station at the first hide it looked like something out of a Disney movie, there was a rabbit sun bathing surrounded by ducks, moorhen, a pheasant and feeding birds above, the pictures really don't do it justice but it was a lovely sight to behold.

While we sat for lunch a member spotted some vibrant Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis.

Then off into the darker damp wooded areas we started to find some fungi, first pictured below we have a Collared parachute Marasmius rotula, a Common earth ball Scleroderma citrinum, Shaggy inkcap Coprinus comatus, the middle one we named mystery fungus had us all stumped! Later one expert believed it to be Armillaria gallica and another to be of the Cortinarius genus so a mystery it will stay. We also found a blushing bracket and a Blackfoot polypore and a gorgeously delicate Hare's foot inkcap Coprinopsis lagopus pictured bottom right.

Turkey tails Trametes versicolor on a fallen tree.

But by far the most amazing sight was a mass of Fairy inkcaps Coprinellus disseminatus, an explosion of life from a fallen rotting tree.

We were also greeted by some Hawker dragon flies darting about overhead and over the pond and we saw some huge trout swimming leisurely along the river.

At our final stop by the river opposite the cafe there was Musk mallow Malva moschata, Lady's bedstraw Galium verum, Betony Stachys officinalis, Wild carrot Daucus carota, Small scabious Scabiosa columbaria and Vipers bugloss Echium vulgare all in flower, though this area had been seeded.

In all we counted 51 species in flower and 113 species recored in total, I've uploaded a species list to the Facebook page for reference. Thank you to Lesley Hodgson for organising the day and to everyone that attended, I look forward to our next Botany adventure!

Photos are by myself, Lesley Hodgson and Jan Clark.

Lisa Gill

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