I resolutely ignored the blasting coldness and headed out to find some more goodies. Still no sign of those muddied female wrestlers but I did find the next best thing, kinda - Procumbent Pearlwort in amongst paving slabs. Coolness, lol. The only other new plant was the liverwort Calypogeia fissa in amongst mosses on an earthen bank.
I remembered being puzzled by tiny pink blobs on lichen-clad aspen branches so had done a bit of research and narrowed it down to a few suspects. Heading back to the aspens I was delighted to find more pink blobs with some different orangey-pink blobs nearby. Turns out to be two species of fungus which parasitise Physcia (and sometimesXanthoria) lichens - namely Marchandiomyces aurantiacus and Illosporiopsis christiansenii. And they've done some serious damage to the poor old Physcia in places!
Sticking with small stuff I noticed some swollen, partly open Hazel buds on a few bushes. Taking a few home I found them to be full of the mite Phytoptus avellanae, pretty darn swanky wee things under the microscope. With enough squinting and perseverence I managed to see them with my naked eye, so they're properly on my list now! There's a second mite in hazel buds a little later in the year so I'll be watching out for that one too.
I've got the Centipede Key but have been strangely reluctant to use it so far. That changed today, apart from the usual Variegated Centipede I added Strigamia acuminata, Geophilus flavus and Cryptops hortensis too which doubled my centipede list just like that!
Finally, for today at least, a harvestman beneath a log had me puzzled since it already seemed to be fully grown. More looking through a key led me quite directly to Platybunus triangularis, unusual in maturing in the early spring rather than summertime.
So that's a pleasing jump of nine species in near-subarctic conditions.
Today's additions are:
347 - Procumbent Pearlwort - commonplace in paving cracks
348 - Marchandiomyces aurantiacus - Webbs Folly aspen patch, Epsom Common
349 - Illosporiopsis christiansenii - Webbs Folly aspen patch, Epsom Common
350 - Hazel Big-Bud Mite Phytoptus avellanae - on young hazel near Highest Point
351 - Strigamia acuminata - centipede under a log, Epsom Common
352 - Geophilus flavus - centipede under a log, Epsom Common
353 - Cryptops hortensis - centipede under a log, Epsom Common
354 - Platybunus triangularis - harvestman under a log, Epsom Common
355 - Common Pouchwort Calypogeia fissa - growing on mossy earth, Epsom Common
That's me done for a few more days though - back to work again, boooooo.