Thursday, 20 August 2009

Thursday 20th August 2009

What a strange day .This morning was overcast with sunny intervals , very windy , but very humid too . The middle of the day was overcast , cooler and less humid . Late afternoon , the sun came back out , bringing back the wind and the humidity .
I had to go to the Council tip/recycling centre , so I combined it with a visit to South Norwood Country Park . I wondered on arrival at the Country Park if it was a good decision , as a bank of thicker cloud was heading my way . This cloud bank also increased the wind speed , and any chance of seeing any birds was slight . So it proved , with small flocks of Finches , a mobile family group of Blackcaps , keeping well hidden in the vegetation , and keeping in contact with each other with their 'knocking two stones together' call . Wood Pigeons were already feeding on the Elder Berries , and on a large field that had been recently cut , there were large numbers of them together with equal numbers of Carrion Crows , and a large flock , estimated at 200/300 , which took to the air en mass , when a dog walker entered the field . The only shot that I managed was that of a juvenile female House Sparrow , who together with her other siblings , were being buffeted by the wind , which could almost be described as a gale by now . The most numerous thing in the air was the seed heads of Creeping Thistle , at times , looking like a blizzard , so there will be lots more of them around next year . There were also lots of Beaked Hawksbeard around . I have mentioned before that the Hawksbeard /Hawkbit / Hawkweed / Sowthistle species is a real headache to identify , but this is one of the exceptions , with the outer florets coloured orange underneath , very similar to the Mouse-ear Hawkweed , but much larger in size , some seen today were 1.5 mtrs. high . Also found was what is classed as a 'garden escape' , as the true wild plant has single flowers , and this has double . It is Double Flowered Soapwort-Saponaria officinalis . Along the edges of many of the paths , Dovesfoot Cranesbill , a member of the Geranium family is still flowering strongly . I couldn't help but mention the A word today , as one of the flowers of Autumn , Michaelmas Daisies were found in great swathes across the Park . Found feeding on them was a Hoverfly that I mistakenly Id'd and was corrected by Dean a while back , but I still had to check back to make sure it was right this time , Myathropa florea . On the next flower head was another Hoverfly , and I thought at first it was a different species because of it's size and colour . But when I got home and checked , this species is very variable in size and colour . When I reached the lake , there was very little to excite , just a large number of Canada Geese , a couple of Cormorants , a few dodgy looking Mallards , half a dozen Black Headed Gulls and a female Tufted Duck , with two youngsters in tow . My book says one brood April-June , but these look too young for that , perhaps a second brood ? In the wetter areas , large swathes of Redshank , a member of the Dock family is flowering and although nothing special , it is one of those plants that is easy to recognise , as it's leaves are usually dark spotted . Leaving the lake , another dark bank of cloud was approaching , this time , with spots of rain carried before it on the wind .
Time for the car , home and a cup of tea .


Warren Baker said...

Yep - it was a strange old day weatherwise. The wind really has been a feature this year, I hate it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on the Beaked Hawksbeard there, Greenie - from a section of the flora where I get confused.
A cup-of-tea ending: perfect.

ShySongbird said...

That is a lovely photo of the Beaked Hawksbeard Greenie, even on the days when you perhaps don't see as much as you would like to your posts are so interesting and informative. I really struggle with identification by sound but have just googled the Blackcap and yes it really does sound like two pebbles 'knocked together'!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with both you & Warren, regards the days weather. It was the same up here. Nevertheless, you appear to have done better than me.

Kingsdowner said...

South Norwood has a country park?

We're going to Palace tomorrow, so I might call in there.