Friday, 17 February 2017

A quick visit to Paxton Pits gets me Yellow Brain...

I had a couple of spare hours yesterday afternoon. The day had started with bright sunshine, but by lunchtime the clouds had rolled in, and it was cool and damp. I decided to pop down to a local nature reserve, Paxton Pits.

I headed for the first hide on the Heronry trail and enjoyed distant views of a pair of goosanders, plus plenty of tufted ducks, mallards and shovellers. Spring was in the air, and the cormorants were nest-building. Walking along to the next hide, I found a goldcrest flitting around a patch of brambles, completely unconcerned by me being there just a few feet away.  I did some quick ink sketches (and added colour later on when I was back at home).

ink and watercolour sketches

Heronry trail
Heading back out from the hide, a patch of gold caught my eye - some kind of fungus growing on the damp wood of a bench. No time to sit and sketch, but I grabbed a quick photo so that I might try to ID it back home.
Yellow Brain, Tremella species

I found a prime candidate in my excellent Roger Phillips Mushrooms book - the gloriously named Yellow Brain, Tremella mesenterica. I posted the pic in the British & Irish Fungi group on facebook, and learned that this jelly fungus might not in fact be Tremella mesenterica, but could be a different species, Tremella aurantia. These fungi are parasitic, and feed on different types of crust (another fungus type). Without IDing the crust I can't be sure which one this is, but it's still a real eye-catcher on a gloomy day!


  1. Funny you mention Jelly Fungus as I found some today too. I love Goldcrests, one of my favourite birds. We get them here and they often buzz about close to head height completely unconcerned how close we are. I love your sketch of it too. We had a Kingfisher here this morning- I watched her for half an hour perched in the tree by the lake. Magic. Hope all's well with you. CT.

    1. A kingfisher - lovely! I don't think there's enough reliable water here for a kingfisher, although we do have a moorhen who presumably lives in the damp ditches/on the neighbour's pond. I spotted it halfway up our very tall conifers the other day!

  2. Just popped over to wish you luck for this weekend. Hope all goes well. Let me know how you get on x