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 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 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.
Insects 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.
Green 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 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 galls and a common spangle gall
Smooth spangle gall
We also found a gall that we had not seen before, a pea gall caused by Cynips divisa Hartig.
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 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 visitors
Dennis Fullwood with young visitors
Young 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 Conservators
Encourage your children to join the Wimbledon Common Nature Club
Touching a lizard or a snake with Reptile Events
Watch birds of prey from The Hawking Centre
John Deere farm machinery
Listen to the Wandle Concert Band
Bouncy castle and Candy Crush
Fun for children
The Butcher & Grill
Report and photographs by Alan Wood