Friday, 7 February 2014

07/02/14: Scarlet Elf Cup.

It was nice to see a bit of sunshine today and there was the bonus of a light breeze making it feel very springlike. Mistle Thrushes were in fine voice when I took the dog for a walk through Orrell Water Park this afternoon and a Kingfisher positively glowed as it darted over the upper lake. The Chiffchaff was still in its usual spot and easier to locate as it was calling more than it has been; it was clearly making the most of the weather with frequent flycatching forays.

Anyway I was on my way back home when I came across a small display of colour in the form of some Scarlet Elf Cups. Not a lot else you can say about them really, they are the colour of red found on the face of the finest Goldfinches, quite small hence elf in the name and cup shaped. Sarcoscypha coccinea is the scientific name but does not slip off the tongue quite as easily and basically means flesh red or something like that. They are reputed as being more or less edible depending on what you read but I am not in a hurry to try them. If you have the urge to eat some you can read more here.

The fruiting bodies are 2 to 5cm in diameter if you don't know and this one is about 4cm in diameter. It was the biggest I came across today. A Nikon battery pack was all I had for comparison.
Fungal foray over I checked out the Black-headed Gulls by the car park. They were a bit flighty but the regular German ringed bird put in an appearance. He or she is getting a bit more colour in the head now. I didn't record this bird in February last year so it will be interesting to see if it stays much longer given it is so mild compared to last year.

DEH IA141745 (Hiddensee, Germany)
DEH IA141745 (Hiddensee, Germany)
Neck bulging with bread, DEH IA141745 (Hiddensee, Germany)
My next post should be about sexing Goldfinches or not as the case may be. My post on ageing Goldfinches has attracted above average views so I suspect one on sexing will attract even more. Most ringers have problems with sexing Goldfinches whether they wish to admit it or not. If you are interested in my thoughts on sexing Goldfinches come back soon.

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