Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sunday 21st.September 2008

Had a walk this morning from Leaves Green car park to Jewels Wood , the other side of the valley from Biggin Hill Airport . Apart from everything being very wet underfoot from the early morning mist , things were very quiet indeed . Whilst passing the London Wildlife Trust site at Salt Box Hill , the dampness showed off dozens of spider's webs , spun , not on the vertical , but on the horizontal , like hammocks , I don't know what they expect to catch in them . I had a close look at several , but none of the residents were at home .The only other point of interest on the outward journey was another Buzzard sighting . Whilst in Jewel's Wood , I heard a Buzzard call , and by the time I got to the edge , once again it was just about to drift out of sight . A rushed , bad shot of it exiting , stage left , was all I could manage . It had come from the direction where I know they have nested in the past . I heard another call before leaving the wood , but did not see that bird .

Butterflies seen on the walk were few , but included Comma (1) , Meadow Brown (1) , Speckled Wood (1) , Small Heath (1) , Brown Argus (1) , Green Veined White (2) and Small White (2) . On the way back to the car , I found these fungi , on the stump of a tree . Cannot identify them for sure , but am working on it . They were amongst only a handful of fungi found today , the dry spell having shut down the supply after that great start to the month .

On the way home , I called in on the farm lake , and noticed that the field across the lane has already been turned over , ready for another crop . On the lake , just the two Coots and four Moorhens , but a few more dragon/damselflies around today . I recorded 1 Brown Hawker , 5 Migrant Hawker , 15+ Common Darter ( including mating and ovipositing ) , 2 Ruddy Darter and 25+ Common Blue Damselfly .The only butterflies recorded were a very fresh looking female Meadow Brown , and a couple of Common Blues , one really tatty and well washed out , and thisone that was still in reasonable condition .

After lunch , I had a quick look in at Keston Ponds , but it seemed that everyone else had the same idea . The ice cream seller had a ten strong queue when I arrived , and I think it was even longer when I left . I just had a look for the Manderin on the lower lake , which was fortunately quiet . I got a few shots before they retired to their corner under the overhanging trees . The colours on the males are incredible , and am posting another couple of shots .

Talking of the lack of fungi at the moment , I was thinking about the most unusual fungi that I have photographed . I think it has to be Clathrus archeri-Devil's fingers .

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to photograph this fungi in deepest Kent , about this time of year , three years ago . It is a native of Australia and New Zealand , but can be found in Southern Europe and the South East of England . The story I've heard is that it could have been transported here in timber packing cases from the Antipodies , when supplies were sent during the last war . Timber being in short supply , people used the broken down packing cases to make chicken coops and the like . The spores carried on the timber , entered the soil , and the Devil's Fingers are the result .

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