August 2012 - Wet Weather

Bee Orchid - photo taken by Lin, meadowland UEA 4th July 2012

I am writing this on another wet afternoon in 'summer' thinking just how lucky we were with the weather on the Fete and Duck Race Day; another very successful 'fun' day.

This weather continues to affect our wildlife. Helen Yemm of Thorny Problems (Saturday Telegraph) commented on a number of questions being sent to her on red ant infestations of lawns; one of these could have been from me. Ant hills are pushing up all over the lawn, only to be flattened when mown over on those rare sunny days. Slugs are having a field day! Even I have resorted to slug traps - these are filled with beer - so in theory the slugs die happy - although I'm not sure that my husband agrees with buying beer 'for the slugs!' As for the plant life - well have you ever seen so many weeds! Grass is growing as if it is still spring, and the hedges are now becoming trees!

Jew's ear fungus - photo taken by Lin, woodland UEA April 2012

But there is an upside to all this bad weather. I have seen more orchids growing wild this year. I can identify the bee orchid and the common spotted orchid, but the third I am not sure of - maybe a marsh orchid? (see photo gallery). There has also been a wealth of fungi. We have more tiny toadstools in our lawn than I have ever seen before, and the jelly fungus (Jew's ear fungus)  growing on dead and living trees has been magnificent (apparently this is an edible fungus particularly liked by the Chinese but not popular in the west). I have always wondered why the name Jew's ear has been kept (thinking of political correctness) so did a bit of research and found that its name in the 16th century was Judas's ear fungus but was abbreviated to Jew's ear in the late 19th century. It is said that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an elder tree, a favourite food of the fungus, after the betrayal of Christ. The fungus depicts the returned spirit of Judas Iscariot in the form of his ear and acts as a reminder of his suicide.

Jenny Press told me that a kingfisher may have returned to Bawburgh - please let me know if there are any further viewings.

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