Friday, July 30, 2021

Takes an ocean of trust in the kingdom of rust

Reading Seth's exploits from Skye and (sometimes) beyond is always interesting, informative and time well spent. However, it often highlights my own lack of a) knowledge and b) real interest in many aspects of natural history.

His recent post on smuts, rusts and micro fungi is a good case in point. I know absolutely nothing about these groups of organisms but the posts made them sound quite appealing and in many cases there seems to often be a bit of detective work to do in order to get an identification, which I find kind of appealing. It might also be an excuse to buy more books and I hardly ever need much of an excuse for that.

After reading the post, I was emboldened to suggest in the comments that I would make it a summer challenge to find and ID one of these beauties. I wrote that, and then promptly forgot about my declaration until, whilst out last week on another fruitless look for Musk Beetles, I spotted this.

Spots on a larger, lower leaf of some Hedge Bindweed growing up a willow next to the river Cam. Turning the leaf over revealed some raised bumps in a couple of concentric circles.

A bit of a google back at home and I think this is Bindweed Rust Puccinia convolvuli. First identified in the UK in Dorset in 2009, it seems to have quickly spread with records now from northern England.
So I appear to have completed my summer challenge quite easily (cue message to say it might not be, and that's fine too!).

I shall definitely keep an eye out for more of these whilst out hunting beetles.

The post link is this beauty from Doves. It would definitely feature on my Desert Island Discs. It builds brilliantly and at 2m12s it just kicks off in the most sublime way. Enjoy...

1 comment:

  1. Cheers for the plug, Martin (I'll bung you that fiver later...) and I'm happy you've successfully found and IDed your own rust off the back of my blog. But did you really have to start with such a cripplingly good one? One that I've never seen for myself?? Haha, way to go buddy. Maybe I'll find it up here on Skye one day :)

    PS - I really liked the track and the video is awesome. I didn't see the ending coming at all, I almost choked up!