Monday, 6 October 2008

Monday 65th.October 2008

After a 'weather lockdown' yesterday , it was nice to get out and about this morning , especially as there was much more sunshine than was forecast . I set off for High Elms Country Park , but made a quick detour to Keston Ponds en route . The bottom pond revealed that the Mandarin 'are' good at hiding , as there were 5 males and 2 females showing today . They really are nervous birds , and as so , very difficult to get close to . Just before I left them , three of the males were perched on a waterside handrail , but a jogger appeared and the photo opportunity was gone .
On the middle pond , the fallen acorns in the bottom corner , were still attracting attention , but this time it was the Canada Geese , and with that long neck , diving was not necessary .
Pulled out on the concrete apron , was the female Mallard , still with her five youngsters . As I said before they are nearly as big as her now , and three of them were huddled together in that morning sunshine .
The sunshine was still with me when I arrived at High Elms , and the first noticable thing was that the Conservation Field and two other small meadow areas have been cut and cleared , just like Hayes Common . I had asked that long strips of the meadows be left uncut every other year , to benefit the Common Blue butterfly , amongst others , but an almost full cut , apart from a small area at the Cuckoo Wood end , a small amount around the tree islands , and a narrow strip where it meets the woods . The resident Goldfinch flock were having to make do with these small areas of uncut seed heads . Two Green Woodpeckers were feeding on the flattened anthills , another minus to the tractor and cutter management . As I passed the Rose Ringed Parakeet nesting tree , there were at least ten birds present , and I saw/heard many more on the way round . On Burnt Gorse , out of the breeze , it was like summer again . The autumnal colours are starting , and on some was one of two Commas found here .
The second was nectaring on a Hawkweed .
From Burnt Gorse , I went to check on the 'Plums and Custard' fungi . Not a sign of it , not even a chewed stem , the whole thing gone . I hope to find another one soon . Also gone , but 'gone over' were most of the Magpie Fungus I posted a few days ago . The only one still standing was the 'Gerkin' specimen , which is now fully grown . The white stems of the others were laying on the leaf litter , with a pool of black sludge where the cap was . I did find 3 more just emerging , but there seems to be fewer than last year . Close by was a relation , Coprinus micaceus-Glistening Ink Cap . Skirting the golf course , I spent a nice five minutes watching a family of 5/6 Goldcrests , busily feeding and communicating amongst the trees . On the course itself , a large tree stump produced a fungi that I had problems identifying a couple of years ago . It is Schizophyllum commune-Split-gill , and it does what it's name says .
The dipping pond was still in sun when I passed , and recorded 2 male Southern Hawker and 15+ Common Darter , some in the ring and some ovipositing . The hand rail of the dipping platform makes a good look-out post for this male . One thing did make me smile whilst there . A bird must have been preening above , and a small feather was floating down , when a male Common Darter grabbed it , took it over to a Buddleia , and tried to git it into the ring .He was still trying when I left .

A quick stop at the farm lake , confirmed the 'status quo' of the residents . I did disturb a Grey Heron , the first I've seen there for a while . No sign of the Goldfinches , but a small flock of Linnets flew up from th seed heads on the bank . One Southern and one Migrant Hawker were recorded , along with 10+ Common Darter , some in the ring . Just to prove that they know how to do it properly here ,

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Hi Greenie,
Maybe the sticky buds attract insects, which then get stuck, and ingested into the tree!!!!
RRP is a scarce visitor here in pittswood. I get one or two a year, but our paths have to cross!