Firecrests (Regulus ignicapilla) have got to be one of the most beautiful birds you can find in Britain! Absolute stunners!!! They’re not very common and this adds to the excitement when you see one. Their scientific name Regulus ignicapilla means: a king with fiery hair – a wonderful description.
I am lucky to spend time at a couple of sites where I can see Firecrests on a regular basis. However this weekend I stumbled across one as I helped a neighbour do some gardening! Superb!!
Sunday, I was leading a bird walk at the Sevenoaks Kent Wildlife Trust reserve, one of favourite reserves. It was -3 degrees centigrade on the car dashboard, and the reserve was encrusted with ice, after a very hard frost overnight. A great selection of birds were seen including an American White Ibis – a first for me – but is it a truly wild bird (?) – we will have to await the verdict of the ‘experts’! It was a great day to see Kingfisher, with 4 different views in total!
Today, on an old Elder (Sambucus nigra) along the river, I noticed some Jelly Ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) growing. This is a fungus that grows in the winter and into the spring. Elder is the most common host of this species of Basidiomycete, but they may occasionally found on some hardwoods like Beech.
The Jelly Ear is also one of our most edible fungi that you can find in Britain, with a similar and closely related species found in China being used regularly in cooking.