Friday, 10 October 2008

Friday 10th.October 2008

After some domestic chores this morning , I took myself off to Fackenden Down , for what will probably be the last visit of the year recording reptiles . The sunshine was a bit more watery today , and the breeze took the edge off the 17C. temperature showing on the car thermometer . Straight away it was noticable that further grazing cattle had been added to the original ten . In fact the number has almost doubled , with four new adults and four of this year's youngsters . The reason it was so noticable , was the youngsters were creating vocally . Another addition was this little chap , who , a passer by told me , was only born about 10/14 days ago to one of the resident animals . I didn't know that cattle had young at this time of year , thinking they had their young like sheep in the Spring . Perhaps a 'country blogger' could put me straight .

Well , I didn't expect too much in the way of reptiles , and I wasn't disappointed . Most numerous as usual were the Slow Worms , with 14 being recorded under the 21 pairs of refugia . No Grass Snakes were found , nor any adult Adders . Two young Adders were found , the first a

female , was probably 2/3 years old , so would be classed as a . The good thing is that she was under a refugia towards the top of the slope , a place that I have only found the odd Slow Worm in the past . The 'main hot spot' produced absolutely nothing , so the reptiles found there , have probably aleady gone underground to hibernate , regardless of this fine spell of weather . The second young Adder found , was under a refugia , right at the bottom of the bank , and I am pretty sure that I recorded this female as a juvenile - 1st. year , earlier this year , but now that this year's young are about , she will be recorded as an immature - 2nd.year . With her under the felt were 5 of the 14 Slow Worms recorded .

Very little flower colour remains on the bank , but bucking the trend is the Yellow Wort , which , having produced a head of yellow flowers during the Summer , is now producing a second flush of flowers at the leaf joints , the leaves themselves looking pretty dead .
Only three butterflies were recorded , 2 Meadow Browns and a Small Tortoishell/Red Admiral , the last flying off so quickly it was impossible for a definite ID .
Only other thing of interest , was a sighting of a large , pointed winged , bird of prey , high up , attacking a smaller , pointed winged bird , which looked initially like a Swift . The problem being , they have gone , and at one point I made out some form of markings on this much smaller bird .
The whole thing was too high to get an ID , even with binoculars , but the larger bird 'stooped' in a way that a Peregrine would , but when the two birds came together , the larger was at least twice the size of the smaller . The fact that Fackenden Down is so close to Eagle Heights doesn't help , as strange sightings are not uncommon .
On the way home , I stopped at the Orange Peel Fungus , or bit of plastic , as some people thought it was . The original posted specimen has lost a lot of it's vibrance , but 3/4 smaller specimens are showing around the original , so I will post another picture if/when they get bigger .

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Your small pointy-winged, Swift like bird was probably a HOBBY Greenie.