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A couple of notable butterflies have been seen in Abney Park Cemetery in July and the beginning of August. One, the Silver-washed Fritillary, may be breeding in Abney (information here from Tony Butler). The other is the Purple Emperor, here photographed by Paul Lister in his garden, just over the wall from Abney. My thanks to Paul for allowing me to add them here….

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Purple Emperor Butterfly with folded wings.

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The sparrowhawks have managed to raise 2 or 3 chicks this year. The number of chicks is due to not seeing more than 2 together, but there seemed to be 3 slightly differently looking chicks. These excellent photos are by Chris Farthing, and my thanks to him….

Sparrowhawk parent bird

Sparrowhawk Chicks

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Chris has also sent me this photo of a juvenile male great spotted woodpecker, which I thought should have wider viewing.

great spotted woodpecker

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Another first for Abney was this Current Clearwing Moth, seen on 26.6.2015.

Currant Clearwing, Synanthedon tipuliformis, Female, 26.6.2015

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Laetiporus sulphureus, 17.5.2015

Laetiporus sulphureus, 17.5.2015

Growing on willow wood blocks which were imported into Abney creating a log pile and new habitat, these gorgeous orange/sulphur yellow brackets positively glow. The colour contrast with the lush green environment makes them unmistakable and unmissable once in the vicinity, and I missed it completely. Russell Miller found it. It is the first time this species has grown in Abney.

Species Notes are here.

Fungi and Slime Molds so far found in 2015 are here.

Psathyrella cernua

There is a tiny mushroom swarming over a very decayed stump away from the pathways. It is beige but dries paler. Up to around 1.7cms high. This is not an inspiring mushroom, and it dried rapidly when I picked it, so I had a limited time to get it to my microscope. This makes it only identifyable if access to a microscope is within about a half hour from collecting. The caps I took home had immature spores that matured after it was picked, and this leads often to smaller than normal spores when measured. The other features in the key gives the identification as being Psathyrella cernua. The only hitch in this is the given spore size for this species is a bit bigger – but I was thinking my spores might be smaller so….. Psathyrella cernua.

Psathyrella cernua, 13.5.2015

And it is really rare. I wonder why? It could well be that the difficulty in getting an ID and it being a little brown cap make it overlooked.

Link to species notes

A brief walk round today showed a variety of inkcaps. Although they are not in perfect condition they are identifiable. Mainly on the woodchips they are enjoying the damp conditions. Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus) is also around.

Parasola curicoma 11.5.2015

Coprinopsis lagopus, 11.5.2015

Coprinopsis cinerea, 11.5.2015

Blackcaps and Mallards

After not going round Abney for a while, and missing it, I have had a couple of magic moments, almost as a welcome back. A hoverfly in my path was giving me the once over. I put my arm out and he landed on me. Unfortunately I put my right arm out so could get a photo, next time I will put my left arm out. I have done this many times and not had anything actually land on me, so this felt special. To be trusted by a creature that small, even as far as that, is a rare thing.

Then today two blackcaps were having a territorial dispute in a bush about 4 foot away from me. They were so focused on what they were doing that they carried on as if I wasn’t there. They had a sing-off for over 5 minutes, with one eventually being intimidated and flying away, pursued by the other one. The music was jaw dropping. Wonderful. Again no photo, too many leaves in the way.

The only photos of birds I have got are of a robin on a regularly used observation post, and a mallard displaced from the local park in this breeding season. He stood on the path as if he was simply another Abney user.

Mallard male 22.04.2015

“Robin 23.4.2015

Spring in Abney

Lesser Celandine, Spanish Bluebells and Japaneese Knotweed, 20.4.2015

Lesser Celandine, Spanish Bluebells and Japaneese Knotweed, 20.4.2015

I know it is a little late, but the spring in Abney is up and buzzing. The early insects were really early after the very mild spring. In my garden, a stones throw from Abney, the slugs and snails have been up and about all winter so their numbers are going to be huge this year. There have been some bees and spiders about all winter, more than usual. Invertebrate numbers this year could be massive.

Osmia bicornis or rufa, Red Mason Bee, 20.4.2015

Osmia bicornis or rufa, Red Mason Bee, 20.4.2015

As the invertebrates have been around, the birds that eat them have also had a good winter. The breeding season is showing promise. Parakeets are definately going through their breeding rituals, and the dawn chorus is noisy with territorial holding well underway.

Flowers and Bracts of Handkerchief Tree, 20.4.2015

Flowers and Bracts of Handkerchief Tree, 20.4.2015

I have great hopes for this year.

Next Saturday is an open afternoon at Abney, 2pm to 5pm. All manner of information and activities are planned. There will be people there who understand the complexities of the battle against the Sainsburys and flats development in Wilmer Place. What is being fought for is the peace and quiet and retreat of Abney; the right of a nature reserve to not be overshadowed and so degraded; the wrongness of a monstrous buliding overshadowing the listed from buildings in a conservation zone; the welfare of the environment.

I know it is over the other side of Abney but this recent photo shows the quiet country feel that exists throughout Abney. This is worth fighting for.

Abney Park, London UK, 13.8.2014 (1)