Friday, 17 October 2008

Friday 17th.October 2008

Didn't know where I was going today , even when I was in the car driving there . Fortunately , before I reached the M25 , I had made my decision , tresspass again , without asking for a second time , sorry Steve , at Leybourne Lakes , Larkfield .Not a place to visit at weekends , as I found out last time , but the 'traffic' around the Country Park was quite light , even given that an old boat arrived on the back of a lorry , was lifted off into the water , and I'm pretty sure , sunk a little way out in the lake , I think to let the divers know what a wreck would look like .
There was also a mechanical shovel clearing the main ditch of Flag Irises and other vegetation , along with large amounts of silt , and probably large numbers of larvae , and dumping it on the side . An old chap told me he had been talking to the Environment Agency chap , and was told that quite a few eels were being brought up in the shovel as well .
It was pretty obvious from the first couple of lakes that there was no sign of any winter visitors yet . So I thought I would have a good look around the scrub areas .
On the way , I couldn't just pass by the Water Voles , and with that warm sun on my back , it was very pleasant , waiting , watching and listening , to see if they would put in an appearance .
After a few fleeting glimpses , and a few 'plops' , one started to feed on the bank about 15 metres away . It seemed quite nervous , perhaps because the vegetation that gave them cover earlier in the year , is less dense now , due to them eating it and it naturally dying off . As long as you stood still , everything was OK , but one movement and 'plop' it was gone .Whilst watching , I definitely saw two , with a possible third . I know why Steve can't stop photographing them . I would have loved to have got some shots of them swimming , but with their speed of movement and the vegetation in the waterway , it is not easy . Perhaps next time .

During the three hours or so that I was there , I only saw five Dragonflies , three Common Darters and two Migrant Hawkers . They were all in the Water Vole area . I think the cooler nights are taking their toll now .
Just a single Red Admiral was seen .
Birdwise , thing were pretty quiet . In total 28 species were recorded , with the pick being :-
Kingfisher , Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Bullfinch . Lots of Robins were perched on top of trees all trying to outsing their neighbour . On the scrub area , I could hear one singing in front of me , and as I approached , he didn't flinch . He carried on singing as I passed under his tree , and even when I got past him and pointed the camera at him , he just carried on .
The scrub area was also very good for fungi . Almost immediately , under some Hawthorn scrub , I found Lepista nuda-Wood Blewit .
Looking more like an orchid coming out of the ground was Coprinus comatus-Shaggy Ink Cap
or Lawyer's Wig .
The best finds were two of the Wax Cap family . The first was Hygrocybe virginea-Snowy Wax Cap . The second was one of my favourite Wax Caps , Hygrocybe psittacina-Parrot Wax Cap .
As I made my way back to the car , I noticed that a pair of Great Crested Grebes were still feeding their offspring . It was amazing watching them , how often the adults came up from their dives with a small fish . The young themselves still look very downy . Also , on top of one of the rubbish bins , was this dead crab . I don't know anything about crabs , but my first impression was that it was a Mitten Crab , an alien species from China . I have Googled the species , and one article stated that if you find a crab in fresh water , it is almost certainly a Mitten Crab . Has anyone else got any ideas ?

All in all , my visit was very enjoyable , I just hope the resident surveyor/blogger doesn't get upset with my tresspass .


Steve said...

At this rate Fred you'll be going there more often than me! Really enjoyed your account. The fungi are excellent.

NW Nature Nut said...

That last mushroom is incredible. Looks like it is dripping with poisonous goo!