Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Liking them lichens!

I’d really been looking to Sunday's excursion to Whipsnade Zoo with Alan Outen and our two County lichenologists, Martin Butler & Mark Powell and knew that it was a great opportunity to find some very special species. The day got off to a great start when Alan showed me some locally-found Crowned Earthstar (Geastrum coronatum), and the Woodlouse, Cylisticus convexus, that he had found under a stone in Kent.

At first glance, this species looks like an Armadillidium of some kind as it tries to roll into a ball, but it’s not quite as neat and convincing.

Alan, Martin and I arrived at the Zoo car park to pick up Mark and found him next to one of the surrounding trees where he had already located a new County record, Melanohalea laciniatula with its tiny, deep-green lobes (not a great photo, I'm afraid).

We had an amazing day and I was really inspired by Martin & Mark as they pointed out various lichens on all kinds of substrate. It was only later in the day, when I looked up from examining a fence rail and suddenly noticed two Sea-lions swimming around a pool right in front of me, that I realised that I had hardly noticed the ‘big stuff’ all around me!

Mark found another new County species, too: Leptoraphis atomaria, which was located on what we think was an aspen trunk.

Through the day I picked up over 40 new species of Lichen, together with a determination to continue to get to know this difficult, but fascinating group.

Here are a few more photographs from the day:

Peltigera didactyla on a sandstone block:

Punctelia jeckeri:

And the moth bagworm, Luffia ferchaultella, a dozen or so of which were located underneath a hawthorn branch by the Hippo Pools:


  1. Welcome back! Have you returned to live in Bedfordshire?

    I find Lichens so interesting but my retention of their names is almost non-existent nowadays.

  2. Hi there, again - it's just like old times!
    Yes, we're now back in Bedfordshire. The home we're living in is in Buckinghamshire, to be honest, though we walk out of our front door into Bedfordshire so I reckon it's close enough!
    I'm trying to really get to grips with lichens...it's hard work, but worth the effort!
    Great to hear from you.

  3. I live in Buckinghamshire too, not far from Wolverton, in MK. I look forward to heariing more about the Lichens you spot.