|Violet Coral; Clavaria zollingeri|
|Parrot Waxcap; Hygrocybe psittacina|
|Scarlet Waxcap; Hygrocybe coccinea|
|Blackening Waxcap; Hygrocybe conica|
Most of the trees lining the Avenue are oaks and at this time of year the ground beneath them is strewn with thousands of acorns which provide a plentiful bounty for a variety of wildlife. Birds such as the brightly coloured Jay take advantage of such a feast and they will also spend many hours caching the surplus in case of leaner times ahead in the winter months. Squirrels are also regular visitors and like the Jays they also spend much time 'hiding' the surplus. Although we still have Red Squirrels here and in the past I used to see them on the Avenue, sadly I only ever see greys these days. Roe deer also eat acorns and on this particular morning a family of three were present which amused me for a while muncing on them with small pieces spitting and falling from the sides of their mouths.
|Family of Roe Deer feeding on Avenue bank|
There is another uncommon species of fungi I usually look for here at this time of the year. Called Cordyceps militaris or Scarlet catterpillarclub, this is another grassland species which I have usually found in areas arond the Chapel. It grows as a tiny finger-like spindle, up to about five centimetres tall in a bright shade of orange-red. It is however the life cycle of this fungi which is fascinating if not a little macabre. It is a parasitic species which attacks and grows within it's hosts body, an underground living catterpillar, eventually killing it before growing and sending up above ground a new fruiting body. Being so small these can be difficult to locate especially amongst fallen leaves but with a little patience I managed to find several of them.
|Scarlet Catterpillarclub; Cordyceps militaris|
|Fruitbody emerging from pupa|