Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Soup Dragons

Yesterday afternoon when I arrived at Charnwood Lodge, it was looking decidedly dodgy on the weather front. We'd had constant rain on Saturday so it was always going to be wet underfoot, and there was light drizzle when I left home so I expected to get properly wet.

As it happened, I ended up having a nice long walk across the moorland, around the small Colony Reservoir and around the base of Timberland Hill with no rain at all.

Timberland Hill is the area where Leicestershire's one and only Cream Coloured Courser was shot on 15th October 1827 - the fourth British record and well documented at the time, the specimen is still in the local museum. As you can see it is prime CCC habitat, with the moss and heather and bilberry and oak. There was no sign of the second for VC55 whilst I was there ....

As I wondered around these areas I collected leaves, bags of moss and poked my phone camera at a few fungi. I then headed into the wooded area known as Gisborne's Gorse and almost like flicking a switch the sun started to come out.

More leaves bagged, and I stopped around the old house where I found loads of the Rhododendron Leafhoppers featured yesterday.

The stroll back to the car was very pleasant, and I was thankful that I'd left a flask of hot coffee in the car. During the whole time wandering around I saw one person - Margaret McLoughlin as she departed just as I arrived. I also managed to avoid the free-roaming longhorn bovines which is always a bonus.

I've had a brief play with the microscope, squeezing some peaty water out from mosses. I have no idea what I'm looking at - it really is another world. Sadly I've not found anything that looks remotely like a Desmid as yet, but lots of 'testate' amoeba type things and possibly a 'naked' ameoba. Also some nematode type things wiggling about and lots of even smaller round green blobs zipping through the field of view. It is absolutely like looking back to the beginnings of life. It is a start, I've got a lot of practice before anything properly presentable comes out of it but here's a few early snaps and and vid-clip ....

A testate ameoba

A tiny banana

Another testate ameoba

Perhaps a 'naked' ameoba?

Same beast as above, except slightly out of focus ....


Gibster said...

THIS is the blogpost I've been most looking forward to reading, and you even bunged in an awesome bit of tunage too! Your naked amoeba is a rotifer - big clue being the equivalent to a set of jaws halfway down the 'neck', you can see them at work in your vid clip. Google trophi and mastax and you'll see what I mean. Nice work, look forward to seeing the desmids once you do find them!

PS I've only ever seen two CCCs, one in Fuerteventura and one on Scilly. Both were amongst big rocks, so you're definitely in the right habitat ;)

Skev said...

Ah, that makes sense. I’ll keep looking for Desmids, I’ll probably need to try some different areas and/or collecting techniques. it’s all good fun - watching rotifers in the swamp rather than the rotters from the swamp on the news.