Tuesday, 1 October 2019

YNU - Leeds University MSc Field Skills Training Day at St Chads, Leeds 2019: Lichens, Spiders, Seaweeds, Snails - AND FUNGI

Forty eager students arrive at Leeds for the first day of their  MSc Ecology course

. to be introduced to natural history by real live naturalists..

in St Chad's Parish Centre, Leeds - 25 Sept 2019 

(See also 2018 event and 2016 event) 
Walks in the churchyard and nearby will reveal hidden surprises

A team of members of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union, each a specialist or enthusiast in their own topic, have arrived with books,  specimens, toothbrushes and experience as necessary

- prepared to lead a group of four students out into the wilds in the near environs of Leeds and show them the secrets of their wildlife group.
This group will be looking at insects, including bees.  Last year  this group and videoed a bees nest.

This is the fourth year I have led a group looking at lichens, and I am joined by Eva, Mark, Tamsyn and Nicole.

The tree outside St Chad's provides seven species for us to find.

Today, with all the recent rain,
 the Xanthoria parietina looks green rather than yellow.  After this we will go and look in the Churchyard.

Near the foot of the tree is a circular patch of Lecanora muralis. now in the photo I also see Xanthoria ucrainica (yellow) and Phaeophyscia orbicularis

The cement blocks at the roundabout provide a variety of Caloplacas and Lecanora dispersa

On the lawn in the church grounds we find a big brownish waxcap - Any suggestions?  Hygrocybe irrigata?  It did not look orange enough for the meadow waxcap or pink enough for the ballerina (which I did find later) 

This gravestone with Porpidia tuberculosa is getting overgrown with vegetation.

Porpidia tuberculosa - Here's the same tombstone in 2016

Meanwhile Geoff Oxford is out searching for Spiders. The members of his group each have a Colgate Electric sonic toothbrush - these vibrate with the same frequency as a fly's wings.. so spiders come out expecting to catch a fly.

Inside, each group had a session with the North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre learning how natural history records can be collected and shared. Clare and Mark still gong strong!

The seaweeds group is looking at fresh seaweeds brought in from the East Coast

We finish at 4pm 

The day after next the students will go to Malham Tarn Field Centre for a couple of days. A good way to start their course.

I hope some will consider joining, or at least finding out more about, the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union.

The church has won awards for its nature conservation activities.
I call in to see the new vicar.

I am delighted when she offers to show me a Collared Earthstar. (See end of blogpost)
I have not seen one before.

We go round the churchyard. She shows me to an almost scarlet Orange Peel Fungus 

How come I had walked past it with my four students?

Perhaps it just looked like confetti sprinkled amongst the artificial flowers on the grave. 

Dancing through the grass are three Ballerinas

I find a ripe fig on the ground beside the fig tree

Bolbitius vitelliinus - The Yellow Fieldcap now known as Bolbitius titubans

Weeping Widow - Lacrymaria lacrymabunda

Weeping Widow - Lacrymaria lacrymabunda

Weeping Widow - Lacrymaria lacrymabunda

And finally -- the collared Earthstar

Why not have a look in your local churchyard?

Find out if their is a fungus group near you.
Here is the website of the Mid Yorkshire Fungus Group

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