Fifteen Field Club members assembled at the east end of Whitstable on the 13th May to investigate this open site of grassland, brackish water bodies and coastal shingle beach. The forecast for sun was not proven true until after lunch which, combined with the fresh onshore breeze, kept most of the invertebrates in cover for the morning, despite the abundance of flowering plants.

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Daphne Mills, well known to most members of the Club, sadly died during the night of March 28th. Daphne had suffered an aggressive form of cancer and for the last few weeks of her life had been cared for at the British Legion hospice at Allington. Daphne was a stalwart of the Club for decades and took an interest in all aspects of natural history, from birds to plants, to wasp galls, fungi and marine life. Daphne had a very sharp eye for species in the field and preferred to be there rather than inside. She was a lovely bright and friendly colleague and will be missed. A full obituary will be prepared for the new 'Kent Naturalist'.

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Field meeting for fungi at Roundshill Wood, Sissinghurst on Saturday 30th October 2021. Led by David Newman

11 members, 2 prospective members and the National Trust’s ranger for the site, Peter Dear met at 10:30 as torrential rain fizzled out and the day brightened into sunshine and the temperature rose to 14 degrees. We are very grateful to Peter for making the arrangements for our visit and to the National Trust for the free use of their car park. Boletus luridiformis now past its best, Lepiota cristata and Tricholoma argyracium were noted just down the path from the car park, and Phil Ambler and Sue noted Abortiporus biennis on some logs close to the garden entrance. The old meadow between the garden and the park was rather under-grazed, and very few fungi were present; Joyce knew this in the past as a good site for waxcaps but only a few Hygrocybe conica, and H. ceracea were found and only Joyce saw Entoloma sericellum. Mario Tortelli found likely Tricholoma quercetorum which is almost identical to T. ustale and with T. ustaloides form a triad which are genetically distinct, probably host specific and he has sent off to Kew for DNA analysis to check if “Host Specific” is a reliable method of distinguishing them in the field. Under this large oak Phil found a Peziza from which David took a small piece for microscopy; macroscopically and microscopically it fitted with P. saccodoanna but on discussion with Joyce it cannot be confirmed with certainty.

We entered the wood well after an hour into the meeting, and the next hour was rather subdued as we passed through woodland with much bramble and other phanerogam cover. After an hour of low productivity, the woodland floor became more open and we found some fallen trees which provided seats for our lunch. This year has been an odd one; the May rain produced a flush of summer fungi which petered out with prolonged drought, and the short periods of rain from September onwards have not produced a great flush, so despite some good fungus meetings, we have had to work hard this autumn. It was after lunch in this older woodland that the interesting species began to be found; Daphne Mills and Mario found the first troop of Cortinarius puniceus - recorded previously as C. sanguineus in the days before DNA analysis showed that that species is only with conifers and C. punieus is with broad-leaved (there ae subtle macroscopic distinctions). Daphne went on to find Sinocybe sumptuosa one of the “piggy-back” fungi on Russula nigricans. This autumn has been notable by the dearth of Russulaceae in Kent, but today fourteen species were found including three species which have variable cap colourings but all had a green cap – R.cyanoxanthera, R.parazurea and R. heterophylla. Nine Lactarius including L. blennius with beech, Lactarius chrysorrheus with bright yellow milk under oak, L. serifluus (= L.subumbonatus), L. tabidus with birch and L. turpis which Mario demonstrated went purple with a drop of ammonia. Seven Amanitas with A. fulva, A. citrina, A. excelsa var spiza, A. muscaria which Phil found the only specimen, A. rubescens, and as the afternoon wore on and we slowly worked our way up the hillside, Joyce found a somewhat tatty but distinctive specimen of A.vaginea. It was here that we added to the Cortinarius numbers with plenty more C. puniceus and C. anthracinus, a nice cluster that Mario later determined as C. falsosus, and a few C. delibutus, C. flexipes and C. mucifluoides to give a total of nine species for the day.

The sun was getting low, the autumn colours were glowing as we came to a small group of mature old beech where we added to our Russula collection with R. mairei, and admired a good group of Oudemansiella mucida. The path ahead was very much steeper and more slippery, it was time to retrace our steps back to the car park, when Judith Shorter trying to find a bird spotted two good clumps of Lion’s Mane, Hericium erinaceus high in one of the beeches. We searched the others but this appeared to be the only tree. In our communications with Peter Dear, he told us it had been known to the Trust for the past 6 years. It was an exciting end to a day that just kept improving.  

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Total monthly rainfall:  0.5 millimetres. Maximum daily rainfall 0.5 millimetres on 26th July. There was one day when measurable rain fell, and 9 days when cloud-cover was 100% for at least part of the day.

Maximum temperature on the warmest day was 38C on July 19th, and on the coldest day was 16C on July 1st. The strongest wind was July 1st, when it reached force 5.

There were 5 new wildflower species to add to the 53 already seen. On July 2nd woody nightshade was discovered growing in a drainage ditch, while on the 9th knapweed began flowering in large numbers. On July 12th water mint started flowering around the lake, and in the woodland foxgloves bloomed on July 16th. Finally teasel bloomed in the ride on July 30th.

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Kent Botanical Recording Group (KBRG) are urgently trying to raise awareness of a proposed major development within Betteshanger Country Park near Deal in East Kent.  It would be located on top of Britain’s second largest population of Lizard Orchids and will have many other adverse effects on the flora and other wildlife, including Fiery Clearwings, bats and Turtle Doves.  The deadlines for the two planning applications involved are 28th and 31st October.


See the attached document for more details.

docxKBRG Planning application at Betteshanger details

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