We’ve been having big sky weather – the forecast has been showing a black cloud with blue tears dropping from it and a spiky yellow sun poking out from behind – this has translated as large rolling clouds, white from a distance but black beneath, heavy showers, sometimes of hail, but also bright sunny spells. Proper April weather in fact.
This afternoon I proffered a late afternoon invitation for a walk and A accepted. She suggested the Pepper Pot and I asked if she minded if we dropped down on the Arnside Knott side afterwards…
…which gave us another chance to take a look at the…
We also found a wonderful patch starred with wood anemones…
But the real star of the show was the blob I spotted on a birch log on my last visit.
This is what it looked like then…
…pure white, smooth, shiny and slightly uncanny.
I wondered whether it might be fungi, but couldn’t find anything like it in any of my mushroom field guides. Phil suggested that it might be a slime mould, Enteridium lycoperdon, and naturally he’s quite right.
Here’s how it looked today.
A gentle touch sent small puffs of brown spores floating in the breeze.
Slime mould’s were once considered to be fungi, but they are far more weird and wonderful than that. They move. Like amoeba. Then they enter a sporangial phase, as above.
Further reading: (yes, yes, I pilfered this idea from Alen. Steal from the best, that’s my motto)
Here’s a link to four fascinating posts of Phil’s about various slime moulds. Well worth a read.
This is the wikipedia entry on this particular type:
And here is an excellent article from the Grauniad online, about experiments involving slime moulds and their apparent ability to solve problems without the aid of a nervous system.