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Archive for September, 2012

Sunday mornings in Abney are perfect at the moment. The later sunrise allows a walk through as the early light picks more shallow angles through the woodland, softly filtering through the canopy leaves, highlighting different sections of the lower plants. Stoke Newington’s general morning quiet seems intensified by hearing the slight stirrings in the canopy. It does break down a bit when the parakeets screech overhead, but there seems little that can be done about them.

Some of the autumn fungi are beginning to stir. The dampness from the recent rain is encouraging their emergence, but it is early days yet for the hoped for full autumn fruiting. This year has been a problem for many fungi in Abney. There is a hard layer not far down through the soil levels which is penetrated by the tree roots of the older trees, but is impervious to water. As a result this top layer was swamped by the record rain towards the beginning of the year, possibly drowning the underground hair like growth (hyphae). As they were recovering there has been a dry spell of weather and the ground become rock hard. I am hopeful that there will be more growth soon now it has rained. The species that seem to be doing best are the wood recyclers, (eg the inkcaps), the nationally very rare Pluteus aurantiorugosus, other woodchip lovers (eg Agrocybe rivulosa).

Until the fungus gets growing, the birds are worth a look. A small flock of goldcrests and some firecrests are circulating, along with blue tits, great tits, coal tits and long-tailed tits. A smattering of migrating birds has been passing through from much earlier in the year due to the strange weather conditions, and continues to throw up unusual birds, fly catchers, wagtails etc. The usual residents are still there. Along with this there is a melanistic rat near the front. Rats in Abney are part of the ecology and absolutely fine, but this black rat is not another species, but simply a brown rat, (Rattus norvegicus) with rather smart black fur. There is also a grey squirrel with an especially red coat. There is a range of colours the grey squirrel can be, and this is right on the edge of this range. I have tried getting photos of both without success.

Link to photos of Abney Park Cemetery September 2012

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In June this year some white, hard lumps appeared on some old wood. They can only be described as lumpy, which is apt as the bracket has a common name of Lumpy Bracket, though it usually refers to the upper surface texture. As the months went on the bracket emerged. When the lumpy origins were on the top of the fallen trunk the sideways growth from the lump formed the bracket.

Link to photos of Fungi and Slime molds 2012.

Link to Species notes.

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There are definitely autumn leaves turning up on the trees. Having not been paying attention to what is going on for a couple of a weeks (trying to sort out objections to the Wilmer Place development with its final date to get them in tomorrow), it suddenly looks like autumn. It is deceptive. Many of the most changed trees are the Horse Chestnuts, with their insect damage. I had great hopes that they would retain some chlorophyll area and not have it eaten by the Horse chestnut leaf miner – Cameraria ohridella. The wet beginning to the year slowed progress, but the warm drier weather that followed has allowed the damage to almost catch up on other years. There are some other leaves beginning to show autumn colours. Maybe it will be a brilliant autumn.

Link to September 201 photos of Abney Park Cemetery.

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I don’t usually comment on the history or graves in Abney, but the change to the area around this grave is so noticeable I felt I should say something.

Betsi Calwaladr was a Welsh nurse who travelled to the Crimea during the war made famous by Florence Nightingale, but who suffered from an anti-Welsh propaganda that made Ms Nightingale reject her as a nurse. So being of a wholesome, thrusting personality, she did it on her own, going to the front line and working to care for wounded. She died a scant few years after returning. More information can be found here.

She was buried in a pauper’s grave, but not forgotten. A Welsh University Health Board has been named after her. And now her grave has been properly marked with a stone and a memorial bench, hand carved by Joseph Bloor, has been set in the near by dappled shade.

Link to photos of Abney Park Cemetery August 2012.

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