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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wed 11th March 2015 - Afton Marsh South, Freshwater.

Carrie's Photographs.

Sue's Photographs.

The dreaded MUD....!

Although Carrie's monthly article about March claims otherwise, I am firmly convinced that the word March is just a corruption of the word MARSH. With the first two GG sessions of this month being at two marshy venues, then it has to be true..??? Yes, once again we found ourselves in ankle deep mud which can make getting around quite "interesting" and after a couple of hours work, energy sapping.
With two fire sites established, it was slash, cut and burn anything that wasn't marsh reeds - this opens up the area allowing it to return to it's natural state. As can be seen from the photographs above, the larger cut material is sawn into shorter lengths then piled up to form protective areas for an wildlife. The weather was forecasting rain showers and although it did cloud over, we all went home dry (except for the muddy clothes!) With a good turnout of GGmers, we made excellent progress clearing the designated area.

Carrie's Nature Finds.

Two finds this week, the first being spotted by Gill is Trametes Versicolor, which means several colours, and the common name of turkey tail (as you can see from the photograph), and grows in tiled layers with a rust or dark brown cap, sometimes with blackish zones.  It is a common bracket fungus which grows on the side of logs or trees, is leathery to the touch, and has a spoon or cup shape up to four inches wide.

It is very colourful, and ranges from brown, white, tan, orange, red and purple or all these colours at once.  Like other fungi, the turkey tail part you see is like the flower of the fungus, with the rest being inside the log it is growing on.  They grow from May to December, and can last for several years growing in dead or dying wood especially oaks, and are also known to grow from wounds in a tree.  It can harm a sick tree, but often helps to break down old dead logs and tree branches, allowing the nutrients to be returned to the soil and used again.

The second find was the male catkins of the pussy willow which, before they come into full flower, are covered in fine, greyish fur leading to a fancied likeness to tiny cats. The catkins appear long before the leaves, and are one of the earliest signs of spring.

Pussy willow is used as a decoration for the Chinese New Year, as the fluffy white blossoms resemble silk, giving forth to young shoots the colour of green jade.   The stalks are frequently decorated with gold and red ornaments that signify prosperity and happiness, while felt pieces of red, pink and yellow are also a common decoration in Southeast Asia.

Photographs contributed by Sue and Carrie, many thanks.

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