Monday, 30 November 2009

Monday 30th.November 2009

After driving to and from Peterborough yesterday in the foulest conditions imaginable , and everyone and his mate on the roads , I was hoping to get out for some fresh air this morning , but yet again , the heavens opened for most of the morning , before brightening , very slightly around lunchtime . That was enough to head off to Down House , to do the Bird Survey , and with any luck , find some of the beautiful Wax Caps on the lawns at the back of the house . Starting off around the grounds , which were absolutely saturated , and in some parts , looking like marshland , the cold Northerly wind was bracing , to say the least .
Birdwise , the gardens around the house were quiet , with just 9 species being recorded here , the only species exceeding a single was the Starling , with a flock of about 25+ flying off as I approached them . I had hoped that the fruit trees in the orchard where I photographed a small flock of Ring Necked Parakeets on my last visit , might hold either Fieldfares or Redwings , but it wasn't to be . Close to that tree though , I did find Clavulina rugosa-Wrinkled Cub , growing

amongst the short grass . The large meadow only contained , Carrion Crow , Magpie , Green Woodpecker , RRParakeet and Woodpigeon , once again , lacking the Winter Thrushes that often are found on the Holly trees around the perimeter . Eventually , I did find a small flock of Redwing in the small woodland between the three meadows , and whilst watching them feed on Holly berries , I noticed a movement lower down at ground level . When I finally managed to get the binoculars on the scene , all I got was the white back end of a minimum of 5 Deer , one a positive stag . They disappeared into the woodland , and I came across a stand of Clitocybe nebularis-Clouded Agaric , darker than usual in the conditions in which they were growing . I recorded Blue , Long Tailed and Great Tit in the woodland , before crossing into the cricket field . As I did so , I disturbed three of the Deer herd , who had taken sanctuary in the field . Two immediately bolted away from me to the far corner , and I could see , now they were out in the open , that they were Roe Deer , all three female . The third went in the other direction , and tried to get back into the woodland , but couldn't initially find the gap in the stockfencing . She did eventually find the gap , without getting too fretful , and disappeared from view . The Cricket field , unusually , was almost devoid of Wax Caps , just a few Meadow , Snowy and an odd Parrot species , broke up the green grass . A small flock of 13 Jackdaws lifted from their perches around the hedgeline , but nothing else was recorded . By the time I got back to the gardens , a dismal 17 species was all that had been recorded , but the lawn behind the house , was sporting a colourful array of Wax Caps , but , not the rare pink species , Hygrocybe calyptraeformis , which I had hoped to find . Unlike the Cricket field , the lawn had good numbers of Hygrocybe coccinea-Scarlet Hood , a real blood red specimen . One specific specimen looked absolutely perfect , and I had to photograph it on it's own . Also amongst the short grass , I found Clavulinopsis corniculata , looking similar to the Golden Spindles that I posted previously .
Leaving Downe , I had to almost pass Keston Ponds , so stopped for a look as the light once again deteriorated . Almost straight away , I found the female Grey Wagtail , and she seemed to be accepting me now , as she came really close , before being frightened off by a passing car . Checking the Mandarin , I counted 7 at the usual roost on the bottom pond and 3 on the middle pond . one out in the middle , and a pair , unusually , out on the bank , but they entered the water and swam to the middle as soon as I got this shot , and I was still a good distance from them . The Mallard type numbers have increased again , and the only other things of interest were , what looked like a family group of 4/5 Bullfinches alongside the middle pond , and a Grey Heron , fishing on the far side of the bottom pond .
Tomorrow it's back to hedgelaying back up on the Greensand Ridge . You never know what might turn up , or not !


Warren Baker said...

Another dire day indeed greenie. At least you got out and saw some good stuff, I like that red fungi! Looks like a reasonable day for your hedgelaying tomorrow though.

Anonymous said...

That Scarlet Hood is one belter of a fungi. Thanks for sharing that one with us, Greenie.

ShySongbird said...

That Scarlet Hood is beautiful, another one I had never seen or heard of!

Great to see the Grey Wagtail and the Roe Deer and also those exotic looking Mandarins again. A good afternoon I think!