WFV, Strensall Common, 25th June 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Mon, 1st Jul 2019, 10:12am

Nine hardy souls braved the dire weather forecast and journeyed via the M62-A64 to Strensall Common, a site several miles to the north of York. We sort of got away with it as during our 4 hour stay we experienced no periods of the heavy stuff, just light rain for the most part and even some dry spells; alas that yellow orb in the sky was totally absent.

Our lunch was taken underneath pine trees at a crossroad of paths with plenty of evidence of the numerous sheep on the common all around! We were pleased to hear at least 2 cuckoos and we also had good views of a singing Tree Pipit and later a Stonechat.

The day was too dull,cool and wet for any butterflies or dragonflies.  That didn't deter us from peering into the numerous metal cages to see if we could spot any of the nationally rare Dark-bordered Beauty Moths at its only English site. The foodplant 'Creeping Willow' appeared to be thriving in its protected environment. We did though occasionally disturb a few moths. The only one to be ID'd was a male Common Heath.

Surprisingly, for the time of year fungi were plentiful and a good variety too; Brown Birch Boletes, Ganodermas, Tawny Grisette (Amanita fulva), Fairy Ring Champignons (Marasmius oreades), various Russulas of differing hues including the Yellow Stump Brittlegill (Russula claroflava) and Charcoal Burner (this had an olive coloured cap and had crowded white flexible gills). The Charcoal Burner is one of the very few russulas with flexible gills. Most have brittlegills hence their English names of brittlegill or crumblecap. The one most seen was The Blusher (Amanita rubescens). Also lots of smaller toadstools on the heath, probably Psathyrellas and Mottlegills.

Alice recorded about 60 species in flower plus a variety of rushes. The most notable plants were Marsh Pennywort and Water Purslane.

Julia did all the driving and successfully navigated the many roundabouts on the York ringroad plus getting in and out of the service area near Askham Bryan.

John Gavaghan

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