Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday 15th.November 2009

What a difference a day makes . Mind you , in that awful wind and rain yesterday , about ten of us turned out , spending six hours , to finish laying a hedge , just off the A31. Hogsback , near Farnham in Surrey . It just goes to show , that we are not all locked up yet .
This morning was calm , and after overnight rain , the sun was shining , could have done with that yesterday . Showers were forcasted , so I made an early start for a look around Keston Ponds and Common .
I was expecting to find quite a lot of branches and trees down , given the strength of yesterday's wind , but this was the only fallen tree found , and it was quite small . My first stop as usual , was to look for the Mandarins , this time , armed with bread . They were in their usual place , and their number has increased to 13 , 7 males and 6 females . I threw in some bread , and they didn't move a muscle . The bread did attract the Canada Geese , which have increased to 4 since my last visit , the Mallard types and the Moorhens , and was soon gone , and the Mandarins stayed where they were . I headed off looking for fungi , and pretty soon , came to the conclusion that the French 'hoover' had already made a visit before my arrival . I did manage to find one small Penny Bun/Cep-Boletus edulus , but I don't think even the 'hoover' would have been interested in this one , as it was only about 5 cms. high . Also found , in the sunshine this time , was a nice stand of Laccaria amethystea-Amethyst Deciever . There was a lot of small debris on the ground , and several small branches that had been displaced , had nice specimens of Lichen attached to them , looking striking in the morning sunshine . I walked down to Keston Bog , an area where Charles Darwin did a lot of research and experimenting , before coming up with his book that would shake the world , 'On The Origin of Species' . The Bog had become very overgrown by trees and shrubs , and LB Bromley , who manage the whole area , have been opening it up again , by removing the encroaching trees and vegetation .
Plenty of fungi species were found , but the Buttercap , as mentioned in a previous post , still remains the most numerous . I made my way back up towards the top pond , but apart from several Nuthatches , a couple of mixed Tit flocks , and several noisy Jays , all working hard collecting Acorns for their Winter larder , nothing more exciting . Heading back towards the car along the middle pond , I met up again with the female Grey Wagtail . When I first saw her , she was fossicking away in the leaf litter on the bank and at times walking on the floating leaf litter , seemingly finding quite a few tasty morsels . I watched her for some time , then she started to move out of sight , so I made my way in front of her , hoping she would reappear . As I waited for her to reappear along the bank , she flew up onto a log about 3 mtrs. out in the water and after a short while , started preening . I managed about 10 shots of her , before she called and flew off in between frames .
The most surprising sighting of the morning though , must go to a positive 1 , probable 2 , male Common Darters , in the sunshine , in the bottom corner of the middle pond . This is by far the latest I have ever recorded the species here .
Before getting in the car , I thought I would have one last look at the bottom pond . When I got down there , a young family were busy feeding the ducks , and a few of the Mandarins were on the outside edges of the feeders . Out came the camera , and a few shots were managed , before they moved away to their roosting site . Given that it is so late in the year , the males still seem to be in breeding plumage , showing off those beautiful orange sails over their wings . The , by comparison , drab females stayed very close to the males , and followed them back to the roost . Once there , a lot of 'whistling' and 'snorting' went on , as if a few grudges were being sorted out .
What I can't work out is , what was wrong with my bread ? , it was brown , with seeds . Perhaps next time I should take plain white , like the young family had .

5 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Nothing wrong with your bread Greenie - it's gotta be the way you throw it!!

Wilma said...

Glad you got your shot of the mandarins; I have never seen one before -- even in a picture!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Nice Fungi and Lichen photo's.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos here Greenie. I have never seen a Mandarin Duck apart from in photos but if I find any it won't be any good offering them our bread as it is the same type as yours!

I'm glad the 'hoover' at least left something for you to photograph!

As often happens with your posts you have had me looking things up, in this case the Darwin connection and very interesting it is too.

Very nice to see the Grey Wagtail too.

I'm amazed you saw the Common Darter so late in the year!

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