First for Fineshade
Some of the species that have been recorded in Fineshade Wood for the first time during the last year
We send all species records to the relevant Northants County Recorder and/or to the Northamptonshire Biological Records Centre.
They are also sent regularly to Forestry England's ecological team and the local beat forester.
Read more about Biological Recording in Fineshade Wood here.
Many of the species below were found during the lockdown period when Fineshade residents were able to exercise in the wood - and had plenty of time to work on identification!
Please note: Validation of some records by national experts can take an inordinate amount of time! Not all species records shown here have yet received validation.
Tony Vials has been taking photographs of fungi in Fineshade for several years and in December he sent us records of another 19 species that he has been able to reliably identify from photographs. Some of these are real rarities, for example this is one of the parasols, Leucoagaricus nympharum and, as far as we can tell ,there have been no previous records in the whole of Northamptonshire. More about Fineshade's fungi here.
During the second half of the year, Ron Follows was able to resume his regular moth trapping in the southern part of Fineshade (Westhay Wood). When all his records were summarised we found that he had recorded another 19 new moth species. As well as several nationally scarce species was this Double Line (Mythimna turca). It is a notable record and thought to be last seen in Northants in 1951. More about Fineshade's moths here
When we found these tiny blobs we thought that it must be a fungus. But research back at home showed that in fact it's a slime-mould. Amazingly, it's commonly called Wolf's Milk (Lycogala terrestre) which immediately made us wonder how long ago there were wolves wandering in Rockingham Forest. It was growing in the hollow part of the trunk of the Cathedral Tree.
These are White Webcaps, Leucocortinarius bulbiger, and are really rare fungi. It seems there are only 28 previous UK records, most of them in the Cairngorms of Scotland. Tony Vials found them in one of the conifer plantations in each of the last three years but has only just managed to confidently identify them. We took a spore print and found that it had white spores, a key feature to help in its identification.
Yes, a fish in the wood! This is a young Bullhead, Cottus gobio, recorded while monitoring water quality in the Fineshade Brook. It is the second fish species to be recorded there - a Stone Loach was also found in 2018.
This fungus is the well-named Slimy Spike, or Gomphidius glutinosus. The species is rare in the south of the UK and there are very few records in the East Midlands. It fruits at the base of trees in conifer-dominated woodland and that is where several were found by Tony Vials on 7 September 2020.
This Lesser Stag Beetle was recorded on 12 August 2020 when, along with 111 moths and various other beetles and bugs, it was attracted to a moth trap set overnight at Top Lodge. The beetle is widespread but local in the southern half of Britain.
A White-legged Damselfly recorded by Jamie Wildman on 26th May. Also seen then was the Hairy Dragonfly (another FFF) and several of the locally rare Scarce Chasers. These are scarce in Britain and consequently listed under category 3 in the British Red Data Book on Insects.
Skullcap is a water-loving plant and it was found growing in the Fineshade Brook near the Abbey. You can see it from the bridge that takes the Jurassic Way long-distance path over the stream.
This tiny moth is the Liquorice Piercer, (Grapholita compositella) found by Jamie Wildman and Susannah O'Riordan on 2nd June. It is classed as rare and is a UK BAP Priority Species. For three years Susannah had been looking out for this species on Fineshade's Wild Liquorice plants. Persistence rewarded!
Night flying moths have ben very well recorded in Fineshade but some day-time flyers have previously been missed. This is the fairly common but exquisite Green Longhorn (Adela reaumurella). There were swarms of them, flaunting their long white antennae on 1st May Barrie Galpin thought they were flies but was soon corrected by fly recorder John Showers.
Many of these black bees were found visiting Comfrey flowers outside Top Lodge on 9th May. It needed the help of bee recorder Ryan Clarke to identify them: they were not bumblebees but Hairy-Footed Flower Bees, Anthphora plumipes. They often nest in the soft mortar and exposed cob of old walls - plenty of that in the vicinity
This is the ichneumon wasp, Ophion scutellaris. Relatively easy to identify, it came to a moth trap on 5 April. There are only a scattering of records of this species across the UK. Ichneumon wasps are all parasitoids and most lay their eggs inside the caterpillars of butterflies and moths.
Another visitor to the moth trap on the 8 April was this caddisfly which has been confirmed as Stenophylax permistus. The species is widespread and fairly frequently recorded in Britain, but not here before.
Another fairly common species but nonetheless a FFF was found on 2nd May feeding on Wintercress near one of the ponds. This is the Crucifer Shieldbug, Eurydema oleracea. It is described as infrequent but well distributed in southern and central England. It comes in two separate forms, some with red spots and some with white.
For years we've enjoyed the sight of white violets on the green at Top Lodge in early spring. But only this year have we looked at them carefully enough to realise that these are not simply a white form of the common Dog Violet but are in fact Sweet Violets, Viola odorata. Sweet violets are scented and apparently are becoming less common though still widespread. So another new flower record for Fineshade.
In May, as the Meadowsweet leaves began to grow in Fineshade, we became aware that some had these bright orange swellings. We'd seen these galls in previous years but never researched what causes it before. It turns out to be Meadowsweet Rust Fungus, Triphragmium ulmariae and is common and widespread wherever Meadowsweet grows in England
This common fungus is Purplepore Bracket, Trichaptum abietinum, and it very surprising that it had not been recorded previously . It typically grows on dead conifers, as here in Fineshade. Recorded in early April.
Another plant-specific fungus was found in early April. Many emerging leaves of the Lords and Ladies plant had black spots on them. We may easily be wrong but this could be Melanustilospora ari. It seems to be very rarely recorded indeed across the country. (Only 53 records on the NBN Atlas, none in this part of the country).
We are still awaiting confirmation of this ID.
Yet another common fungus that only seems to grow on one type of plant, this we think is the well-named Spring Hazelcup, Encoelia furfuracea. This was found in late February in Long Spinney, at the Duddington end of Fineshade Wood
This is in fact a slime mould rather than a fungus as we first thought. It turns out to be Enteridium lycoperdon, with the appropriate common name of False Puffball. It was growing on deadwood beside one the cycle tracks in early April.