Friday, 2 October 2015

October Diary

26th October - No coat required today, back to some warm sunshine, the woodlands looking very good at the moment, especially with the sun shining on the gold and brown leaves.
There appears to be a good crop of Sweet Chestnuts and acorns.

Walked down to Henhurst lake for a change today, as we walked through the glades we could see some corvids mobbing a raptor quite high in the sky slowly circling over Jeskyns country park, I took a few photographs but very distant. A second bird appeared which was much lighter in plumage a probable juvenile Buzzard.

Juvenile Buzzard.
A distant Green Woodpecker on the telegraph pole was seen, seeing plenty of these around the country park at the moment, always distant though.

Green Woodpecker
A few Skylarks could be seen in the fields as we approached the lake, small bird flew up on to the barbed wire fence turned out to be a female Reed Bunting, the first I have seen at this site this year.
not a very good photograph but you can make out the features of a Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting
Around the lake a few Coot could be seen with a lone Moorhen, two Pied Wagtails flew in,

Moorhen on Henhurst Pond
On the board walk around the lake a very late male Ruddy Darter was taking in the autumn sunshine.

Ruddy Darter
24th October - Overcast weather this morning, there seems to be a lot of undergrowth clearance and cutting back going on around the woodland, not sure if this is leading to a lack of bird sightings, still a few Wren, Robin,Jackdaws and Wood Pigeons around, Jays are still quite prominent, two Green Woodpeckers disturbed from the glades.
My first Fly Agaric Fungi for this year has appeared near Two ponds, quite scarce in this woodland.

Fly Agaric

20th October - Some late summer sunshine this morning, although the forecasters say that rain is on the way, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows  on the dead trees near two ponds, a few Wood Pigeons flying over, a Green Woodpecker  flushed from the cut grass meadows a Kestrel on the Telegraph wires looking intently at the grass below, a couple of Great Tits and a Chaffinch flew from one of the new plantations closely followed by a pair of Nuthatches, never seen them this far from the woodland. back in the woodland, a brief view of a Wren, a male Blackbird flew across the path in front of me and a Magpie seen near the car park. ( eleven species today )

19th October - Dry cold morning with a little more avian interest today, two Goldcrests were making there way along a hedgeline, Robin, Wren, &  Blackbird seen around the woodlands, Great spotted Woodpecker seen at the top of an old dead tree, two Ring Necked Parakeets flew over, Wood Pigeon and Jackdaw seen by two Ponds, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie & Jackdaws all feeding around the cattle opposite car parking area in good numbers. No sign of the Little Owl.

17th October - The temperature dropping fast now in the early mornings, bird sightings mainly revolve around Wren, Robin and the occasional Blackbird, where have they all gone ? Jays on the other hand are much more prominent now, gathering in the fallen acorns and hiding them away, three seen together this morning.
A Green Woodpecker was seen briefly on a fence post  in the glades , and that was all today, no sign of the Little Owl.

13th October - Bright sunny and cold for today's walk, Brief view of a Wren near Two ponds, and the first of Four Jays seen around the Woodland.
Most mornings I always give a second look at the  Little Owl haunt, which I have not seen for several months now, well today a surprise, a Little Owl could just be seen sheltering on the old tree in its usual position. A distant shot with the standard lens on the camera to record its return.

A few Jackdaws and Carrion Crows around the glades, A Woodpecker could be heard calling unseen in the woodland.

11th October -  The spell of good weather continues although there is a noticeable drop in temperature on my early morning walks, time to get the fleece out.
Bird sightings  remain the same  with the occasional sightings of Wrens and Robins.  Jays appear to be more prominent at the moment, Green Woodpeckers still quite common around the glades.

I noticed amongst the Rose Hips three 'Rose Bedequar Galls' or Robin's Pincushion, these are caused by the Gall Wasp laying eggs into an unopened leaf or terminal bud usually on Field or Dog roses, this apparently causes a chemical distortion in the bud which turns into the pinkish moss of the pincushion.
Its inside this pincushion gall that small chambers containing the larvae of the gall wasp are developing, to appear the following spring around May.

I must admit I haven't a clue what these Gall Wasps look like, some research required I feel, and careful look next year for them.

Robin's Pincushion
 Always on the lookout for different Fungi that seems to be appearing at the moment, the large Fungi I photographed the other day appears to have had most of the heads removed, maybe someone knows that they are edible, what ever they are.

I came across some nice Fungi which I believe is Common Funnel Clitocybe gibba

Common Funnel
Another nice fungi caught my attention, but very small to photograph, I think it needs some sort of macro lens to do it justice.  Xylaria hypoxylon, Candlesnuff Fungus, I think this is also referred to as Stag horn Fungus but I am not entirely sure on this one either.

Candlesnuff Fungi
Not sure whether this is a Fungi or Lichen, it was growing on an old dead Hornbeam branch laying on the ground, the closest species I could match it to is possible a fungi called  'Rosy Crust'  Peniophora incarnata, It looks like Orange peel but I am sure that the Orange peel fungi is very similar in appearance to the scarlet Elfcups so I know its not that.

9th October -  Bright sunny morning, with a heavy dew on the grass, not much birdwise to talk about just a Green Woodpecker over the glades and few Wren in the new clearings near Two Ponds.

woodland management - opening up the wood
Another closer look at the fungi seen yesterday has still left me mystified as to what species it is, but still very spectacular.

At the bottom of the glades the heavy dew had coated hundreds of spider webs in the set aside knapweed alongside the woodland. The sun shinning through the Webs gave some interesting effects as the sunlight made a rainbow effect on the beads of dew.

White cross or garden Spider in Orb web.

8th October - Fine sunny morning for our walk today, I noticed three or four Wren in the cleared areas near Two Ponds today,  Two Robins in the Woodlands, Around the glades one Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over, and a single Yellowhammer seen, the first for a few weeks now.
One Speckled Wood Butterfly seen in one of the sunnier glades in the woods.

This spectacular Fungi was growing around the base of a standing dead tree, must have been at least two metres in length and half a metre in height, not sure what it is at the moment.

6th October-  A day of scattered showers, which we managed to dodge today, Jackdaws and Carrion Crow in the dead tree near Two Ponds, Wood Pigeon and a few Robin calling unseen from the undergrowth. Not much else seen in the woodland, Around the Glades a large flock of House Martins were feeding over the Poplar trees at the top of the glades,
Just one fine specimen of a Four-Spotted Orb Weaver Spider

2nd October - Fine weather continues into October, butterfly sightings are now few and far between, with only a single Speckled Wood observed today in one of the sunnier glades.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers were more prominent today with two seen flying over the Woodland, with one heard drumming distantly in the woodland.
 One Green Woodpecker seen flying over the glades. Jackdaws, Wood Pigeons and Carrion Crows all seen today. A female Kestrel seen on the wires above the glades looking for a meal.

The woodland management team have been thinning out  areas of woodland, with sycamore removal, to open up the woodland in their words, slightly worrying is the fact that the area they have opened up was a particularly good area for Scarlet Elfcups, lets hope this does not affect their development this year.

Still more Fungi species appearing, lots of Dead man's Fingers on moss covered deadwood on the woodland floor.
Dead man's Fingers Xylaria polymorpha
Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus
Shaggy Parasol  Chlorophyllum rhacodes


  1. I've seen pictures of dead man's fingers on other blogs. THe zombies must be awaking everywhere

    1. Hopefully not in your dreams. :-)