Category Archives: Tawny owls

Phallus impudicus

A restless night. A tawny owl ke-wicking somewhere in the garden in the small hours. A stifled-sneeze-induced splitting headache mid-morning. Time for a walk down Burlees Lane to clear my head.

It's at this point that my natural history journal loses its U-certificate rating. Look what I found in the woods:

Stinkhorn.

The aptly named stinkhorn (with the equally apt Linnean classification Phallus impudicus): a fungus which, when it spores, emits a smell similar to rotting flesh. The smell attracts flies (as shown), which then fly away, bearing fungal spores to new locations.

My hero, Charles Darwin, was fascinated by plant dispersal mechanisms. I'm sure the stinkhorn fungus's spore-dispersal trick would have delighted him.

(And yes, it stinks to high-heaven!)

More photos from my walk »

Back-endish

Hurricane tail-ends, a tawny owl ke-wicking somewhere in our garden as I lay in bed last night, and, this morning, dewy lawns and a rather spectacular cloud-sea in the valley below:

Cloud-sea
Cloud-sea.

It's all starting to feel a bit back-endish.