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 .
6 hours ago