Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Wednesday 7th.October 2009

In between this morning's constant drizzle and the heavier rain after lunch , I managed to get out for a short while up to Keston Ponds . Two things struck me on my arrival , the first , the almost total absence of water birds . I looked straight away for the Mandarins , but none were seen , just three Moorhen down on the bottom pond . Nothing at all on the middle pond and just one female Mallard and two Moorhen on the top pond . The only explanation that I could see , was that a large Oak tree , that leaned over the footpath below the bottom pond , had had severe surgery applied to it . All that was left of it was a trunk , about 4 mtrs. high , so the remainder being brought down and processed , probably frightened everthing away . I just hope they return , especially the Mandarins . The only other bird seen , was a Grey Wagtail , that would not let me get within a decent lens distance , before flying off to the other end of the pond . In fact , in the second shot , one foot is already in the air ready to go . The second thing , was a floating plant , in full flower , when everything else is dying off . I have fried to identify this in previous years , and failed , and have come to the conclusion that it is some alien species that has invaded the top pond . With very little else found , I headed off looking for fungi , under ever more threatening skies . The rain and cooler temperatures are bringing more fungi out , but it seems to be a very slow process . It didn't need rain to make the cap shiny of the first species found , Suillus luteus , that shine giving it's common name Slippery Jack , a member of the Boletus family , all of which have pores , not gills , on the underside of the cap , from which the spores are released . Having found one on my last visit , I found 8/10 of the next species , Amanita muscaria-Fly agaric . All today's specimens were like this one , just having emerged . The white pyramidal warts covering the red cap can be washed off by the rain , leaving the cap smooth . This is one of the poisonous Amanitas . Deeper in the woodland , around a large Oak tree , were several specimens of Blackish-purple Russula-Russula atropurpurea . The Russula family is large and some are very common , but even those common members are few and far between so far this year . The last species found was Root Fomes-Heterobasidionb annosum , one of the bracket form of fungi . This particular fungi causes serious economical losses in conifer plantations .


Warren Baker said...

Hi Greenie,
good to see you out and about again. There's always a gap in the bird life this time of year -summer birds have mostly gone, and winter birds have yet to arrive. The fungi pop up just in time! Have a good trip to NZ.

Orchids and Nature said...

THe floating plant you photographed this morning in the pond is called Aponogeton Distacyos more commonly known as the Water Hawthorn.It's a South African aquatic plant and it is sold in water garden centres as an ornimental floating pond plant.It flowers from late spring unpredictably until late Autumn when the frost generally finishes it off because it's a fairly tender plant. I hope this imfo. has been some help to you.

ShySongbird said...

Oh blow it, Greenie! I just came over triumphantly to tell you the same as I see Orchids and Nature has. I may as well include my link anyway.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Cheers .

Orchids and Nature ,
Thanks for the ID , that will save me another sleepless night .

ShySongbird ,
Another great bit of sleuthing , only to be pipped by O&N . Thanks very much for the effort , again .