The sight of sunshine this morning had me heading out , knowing that the better weather would be short lived . I headed for Bough Beech first , and arrived to be welcomed by a stiff cool wind , blowing from straight down the reservoir . The water level was as high as I have ever seen it , and the waves were breaking on the concrete apron of the causeway . A look over the small North Lake produced little apart from a mixed flock of Pochard and Tufted Duck ( I suppose it's alright to mention the species now that they have graced the lake at Pittswood ) , but not much else . As I passed them , I had a word with two birders searching amongst the flooded trees for some Mandarins that had been seen earlier . Between us we couldn't find any sign of them , but there were obviously a lot more ducks further in , as the constant whistling of Teal could be heard . I didn't realise it at the time , but these two birders turned out to be Phil of Phil and Mandy's Wildlife Blog and his friend Denis , and still wouldn't be any the wiser if Phil hadn't posted a shot of Denis in the exact spot where we had spoken , on his blog today . Perhaps we'll recognise each other next time Phil .
The feeders in the orchard can be good for the odd species other than the constant Blue and Great Tits , but today , bird ringers had their nets close to the feeders and consequently were backwards and forewards checking them , so apart from a very quick visit from a Nuthatch , the usual suspects , Pheasants doing the housekeeping under the feeders , and some very smart looking Great Tits were all that posed for a shot .
On the way back , I stopped off on the Greensand Ridge to look for one of my favourite fungi , the Scarlet Elf Cup-Sarcoscypha coccinea , but my long walk was in vain , as I did not find a single specimen of this fungi which appears early winter to early spring . I did however come across some nice specimens of Velvet Shank-Flammulina velutipes , and also some Maze-gill-
Daedalea quercina , and as it's name suggests , was found on some dead Oak .
My last stop was at Keston Church to see how the Winter Heliotrope-Petasites fragrans was getting on . The milder weather has really brought it on from the first petals just having opened when I last looked , to some of the flower heads almost fully opened now .
I also found a few Primroses in leaf up on the Ridge , dare we mention the word again ?
By the time I got home , the odd spit of drizzle was in the wind .
7 hours ago