Monday, 3 January 2011

Anyone for jelly?

We've seen plenty of birds on the reserve these first few days of the new year. There are still around 250 Golden Plovers, with 50 or so Lapwings, 10 Dunlin and 50 Snipe out on the pasture. On Ruan Pool, there have been 24 Wigeon, 11 Shoveler, 9 Teal and 2 Gadwall. There are many more duck in the area, unfortunately attracted on to pools on nearby land by shooters putting out corn.

Whilst we were checking Ruan yesterday, we heard a loud splash. Looking round we saw a large female Peregrine zooming away across the pool and ripples of water on the surface. It must have been at least 10 seconds before a drake Teal bobbed to the surface, looking somewhat stunned but no doubt relieved at his very lucky escape.

There is masses of frog-spawn, in even the smallest puddles, all over the farm.

On the heathland near the pool I found this stuff on the grass (thanks to Dougy for the photos), which I think may be a species of jelly fungus. The largest pieces were about two inches long. It was odourless. According to Wikipedia:

"A number of the jelly fungi can be eaten raw; poisonous jelly fungi are rare. However, many species have an unpalatable texture or taste, which is described as similar to that of soil. However, some species, Tremella fuciformis for example, are not only edible but prized for use in soup and vegetable dishes."

I'm still trying to find out exactly what it is, but if anyone has any ideas (or would like to volunteer to taste it!) please let me know.

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