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Archive for April, 2012

A walk round Abney Park Cemetery at the moment is an activity requiring stout footwear. The drains outside the cemetery are having periodic trouble clearing the standing water, and in Abney, without the drainage, the water must sink through the stratas of soil, unused to such things. So it takes time. On the surface the churning of the paths has led to them occasionally looking like farm tracks. The flat mud in places is exceedingly slippery, all the fine silt having been washed to the shallows where it lurks almost like a trap to steal balance from the unwary. And yet the washed clean feel, with all the subtle spring colours fresh and clear, is exhilarating. A few minutes of sun has the birds singing out dire warnings to their fellows and come hither messages to any passing females, but sounding like a celebration, a party. This morning a green woodpecker was hopefully calling for a mate, having found a nesting hole free of the parakeets. I hope he succeeds.

Link to phtos of Abney Park Cemetery April 2012.

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I’ve just seem my first one of the year, with glowing orange-tips to the wings, pristine condition, wonderful.

 

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The freshness of spring in the rain is a huge treat. Everything looks washed clean and the plants are growing at an astonishing rate. It will soon be the cow parsley season, all the buds are growing up to the required height and a couple are bursting.

Link to photos of Abney Park Cemetery, April 2012.

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I was looking through some old photos of Abney Park Cemetery and came across a couple of snaps of the Japanese Knotweed patch before it was over-planted. The dead stems were still standing. The new growth hadn’t yet got underway, but the other photos in the packets showed spring growth, so it can’t have been more than a couple of weeks adrift from the spring progress of today. I have taken a couple of snaps of the same area now. All the effort of digging up the knotweed was really worthwhile!

And then there is…

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On a walk round Clissold Park this morning in the rain, after a blustery night, some of the Horse chestnut tree flowers had been snapped off and lay wilting on the grass below. In Abney Park Cemetery, (a short walk down the other end of Church Street) the Horse Chestnut trees aren’t flowering yet. This happens each year. Clissold is always ahead of Abney. It can only be because of the conditions the trees are growing in. In Clissold the trees are in a much more open environment, they often can spread their branches unimpeded by other close trees. When it is sunny they are in sun all the time. In Abney Park the trees are densely crowded. The smaller, mid-level trees are in leaf early and have a cooling effect on their surroundings. Maybe this is enough to make the difference.

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This is a first for Abney Park. I am indebted to Dr. Martyn Ainsworth from Kew for identifying it and for the considerable effort he took. It grew last November (2011) and it is tricky. It looks like P. conopilus when it is young with a leathy brown cap, but it expands to a different shape. The end colour of the cap is buff with a reddish brown center. The microscopic details are given in my notes.

Link to fungus growth 2011

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Eagle owls are not present in Abney Park Cemetery, but they are now pretty much accepted as breeding in parts of Scotland, so have returned to these shores, their ancestral range being restored. This short video clip does show owl feet at the final approach to collecting food. Having included a photo of the dead owlets feet, this is what they should have been aspiring to, but on a larger bird. The video clip is on http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/

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While walking about in this grey, unpromising day, with the odd scrap of drizzle occasionally attempting to fall, this chap sang so wonderfully to me it made my walk a joy. I have found a site featuring bird song, including a London robin, so if you wnat to hear the song.. http://www.soundsurvey.org.uk/index.php/survey/wildlife/land_birds/124/607/

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Having found a possibly rare Coprinells recently, these are the others in micacei, the small group with round veil cells growing from narrow linking cells. The C. micaceus is a bit old and dark, but was much fresher when I saw it yesterday (and failed to get an in focus photo). The spores are are obviously micaceus though, 5 sided when flat on, with a slightly off center tail (up or down from the flat plane), and oval in profile. They are growing under a bracket of Ganoderma applanatum.

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Link to Coprinellus micaceus notes.

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The other Coprinellus is truncorum. It only seems to grow in one place in Abney, or I have only found it there, and it here is in a huge cluster below the wood I usually find it on, although the dead wood, as a tree stump, will also be below ground. It’s spores are much more oval.

 

Link to Coprinellus truncorum notes.

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It just looks wonderful at the moment. It just looks wonderful at the moment….

Link to photos of Abney Park Cemetery April 2012.

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