Wimbledon Common Open Day

Sunday 13th September 2015

As a contribution to the Club’s microscopy outreach programme, Dennis Fullwood, Mary Morris, Barry Wendon and Alan Wood took their microscopes and cameras to Wimbledon Common for the annual Open Day, which originated as an opportunity to meet the Rangers and their horses but has expanded into a country and crafts fair.

Visitors to the stablesVisitors to the stables

This was our third visit to Wimbledon Common this year, after the excursion in May and the BioBlitz in June. Our first visitor of the day was the Club’s newest member, Rosie Green, who has just bought a trinocular compound microscope so that she can photograph fungi and their spores and measure the spores. She had looked on the Internet for advice on setting up Köhler illumination and using an eyepiece reticle but found the instructions incomplete and conflicting. She lives locally and so when she saw that the Club would be represented at the Open Day she took the opportunity to come and ask our advice. Dennis and Alan spent several minutes showing her how to set up a microscope and explaining the proper sequence of operations.

Dennis Fullwood and Rosie GreenDennis Fullwood and Rosie Green

Dennis Fullwood brought his Olympus SZ4045 stereomicroscope and Nikon Labophot compound, and used them to show insects in Baltic amber, insects collected from yellow pan traps, Daphnia from Queensmere and slides from his collection. One of our visitors was an artist from nearby Cannizaro Studios who was aware of diatoms, and he was thrilled to see 2 arrangements by Klaus Kemp, one made specially for the Club’s 150th anniversary and the other a copy of an illustration by Ernst Haeckel.

Dennis FullwoodDennis Fullwood

Insects in amberInsects in amber

Barry Wendon brought his Olympus CK inverted microscope and his Maplin USB microscope connected to his Dell laptop computer, and used them to show Daphnia from Queensmere, moss and lichen.

Barry WendonBarry Wendon

Green lichen on oak twigGreen lichen on oak twig

Alan Wood brought his trinocular Olympus SZ4045 stereomicroscope with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera linked via an HDMI cable to the Centre’s wall-mounted television, and used them to show pond life from Queensmere and galls on oak leaves.

Lots of DaphniaLots of Daphnia in samples from Queensmere, showing a pink tinge indicating the presence of haemoglobin

On oak leaves, we found silk button spangle galls (caused by the Cynipid wasp Neuroterus numismalis Geoffroy in Fourcroy), common spangle galls (caused by N. quercusbaccarum (L.)) and smooth spangle galls (caused by N. albipes Schenck).

Silk button spangle and common spangle gallsSilk button spangle galls and a common spangle gall

Smooth spangle gallSmooth spangle gall

We also found a gall that we had not seen before, a pea gall caused by Cynips divisa Hartig.

Pea gallPea gall

Mary and Pat Morris collected more samples from Queensmere, including lots of Daphnia, a few copepods, a flatworm and a couple of small leeches.

We had a lot of visitors throughout the day, including several families and adults who were really interested and stayed for long periods, and we frequently needed to explain what galls and waterfleas are.

Mary Morris and Barry Wendon with adult visitorsMary Morris and Barry Wendon with adult visitors

We were impressed by some Chinese children who immediately recognised Daphnia, asked if any of them had eggs (a few did) and asked if we had any Cyclops (just a few).

Young Chinese visitorsYoung Chinese visitors

Dennis Fullwood with young visitorsDennis Fullwood with young visitors

Young visitors with Barry Wendon’s displayYoung visitors with Barry Wendon’s display

Outside the Centre, there was lots to see and do, with displays of animals (including lizards, snakes, birds of prey, sheep and goats) and John Deere farm machinery, the Wandle Concert Band, stalls selling fast food, organic vegetables, handicrafts and pet supplies, and stalls from organisations including the Wimbledon Common Nature Club and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Wimbledon and Putney Commons ConservatorsWimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators

Wimbledon Common Nature ClubEncourage your children to join the Wimbledon Common Nature Club

Royal Society for the Protection of BirdsRoyal Society for the Protection of Birds

Touching a lizardTouching a lizard or a snake with Reptile Events

Watch birds of preyWatch birds of prey from The Hawking Centre

Wimbledon Beekeepers’ AssociationWimbledon Beekeepers’ Association

The Pig Issue FoundationThe Pig Issue Foundation

John Deere farm machineryJohn Deere farm machinery

The London RegimentThe London Regiment

Listen to the Wandle Concert BandListen to the Wandle Concert Band

Bouncy castle and Candy CrushBouncy castle and Candy Crush

Fun for childrenFun for children

German FoodGerman Food

The Butcher & GrillThe Butcher & Grill

Report and photographs by Alan Wood

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