Thursday, 4 August 2016

August Diary 2016

31st August - Well that's the end of August, the sun is still shinning here in the south of the country, in fact the countryside is looking like it needs a good soaking, Meadows are being cut now, berries are covering the trees, Butterfly sightings have not been that good considering the good weather, just a few Speckled Woods being seen, a few Green Woodpeckers have been disturbed from the glades.

In the woodlands " Chicken of the Wood" fungi appears to be breaking out on a lot of the old fallen trees. with a few Beef Steak Fungi also breaking through.

24th August - 

Blue skies over  the glades

Heatwave continues, summer is definitely not over yet, not much to be seen this morning, a few Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood. one Migrant Hawker.

In the Woodlands, birds are still conspicuous by their absence, very quiet. Bracket Fungi appearing all around the woodland which seems very early.

This bracket Polypore, which is possibly " Glossy ganoderma or shiny Polyporus" looks very fresh, if it is this type of fungi it's also known as Lingzhi mushroom used in chinese medicines. we will have to wait and see how this develops over the next few days.

Well after a few days, looks like ordinary polypore, the shiny glaze has disappeared and now resembles the usual polypore seen around the woodlands

Also quite a few Puffballs starting to appear in the woodlands.

23rd August -  The warm weather has returned, plenty of Butterflies out today, I checked out the Buddleia tree by the air raid shelters, although plenty of Red Admirals, Small White, Comma, and Small tortoiseshell there was no sign of the Painted Lady unfortunately. Around the glades Meadow Brown and a single Common Blue, no sign of any Gatekeepers now.

There seems to be a lot of bracket Fungi suddenly appearing around the woodlands at the moment, these caught my eye today.

Chicken of the Woods

Beefsteak fungus

possibly Dryad's saddle 

Dragonflies confined to one female Common Darter and several Migrant Hawkers

20th August - Strong wind blowing this morning, making it difficult to find any Butterflies, just five Meadow Browns and one Small heath seen.

Bird sightings still very quite, a small flock of six Ring Necked Parakeets flying over the glades, Blackbird, a few Wood Pigeons and Carrion Crows, a Nuthatch heard calling from the woodland.

17th August -Slight chill in the air in the shady areas of the woodland and eerily quiet at the moment with very little bird song or calls even.

As I came out of the woodland and into the sunny glades, the chilly night had left a heavy dew highlighting the webs of the Orb spiders, always amazes me as to the number of webs that cover the wildflowers and undergrowth, usally unnoticed.

As I walked through the glades I was thinking how different a day can be, nine species seen the day before, today just one Meadow Brown.

That was to change, as I approached the old air raid shelter I thought I would check out the Buddleia growing at the back of it, it's in full flower at the moment, almost the first butterfly seen was a fine looking Painted lady, but as usual the wrong lens with me, so I had to settle for a distant shot heavily cropped.

Painted Lady
15th August -  Beautiful morning with the sun still shinning, Checked out some Buddleia growing near the old air raid shelters, Red Admiral. Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and a Small White all flitting around the flowers, some nice flowers of Old mans beard or Traveller's joy on show amongst the Buddleia.
Old Man's Beard
The grey fungi seen a few days ago has fallen allowing a look at the underside, not that it's helped anyway, I believe this may be a fungi known as Powdery Brittlegill.

Powdery Brittlegill ?
Butterflies were prominent this morning, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Gatekeepers still around in good numbers, finally started to see a few Common Blue's and today at least three Small Heath, that's nine species today,
Common Blue

Small Heath
Plenty of Migrant Hawkers around, patrolling along the footpath vegetation, just two Common Darters seen today.

Migrant Hawker
13th August - Dry warm weather continues although a stiff breeze kept the Butterflies down, with just a couple of Small Whites being seen and the usual Gatekeeper horde. I noticed this blue wildflower in a shady area of the woods giving a noticeable splash of colour , I believe there called Nettle-leaved bellflower Campanula trachelium

Nettle-leaved bellflower Campanula trachelium
Another unidentified Fungi has appeared on a fallen log, even with my new field guide I am still struggling to identify. It doesn't look very appetizing though.

Wayfarer Berries

Wayfarer berries are ripening to an  shiny red, eventually to turn black, attractive to the birds and small mammals not so good for humans, causes vomiting and diarrhea.

11th August -  A few more bird species being seen of late, four House Martins were hawking over the glades, a small flock of Stock Doves and the local Jackdaws appeared to be having a disputer over ownership of an old dead chestnut tree. the Usual Wood Pigeons and Carrion Crow seen around the glades, Green Woodpecker seeing flying towards the woodlands, Robin and a Jay heard calling unseen in the woodland.

Not many species of Butterfly seen today,but Gatekeepers around in good numbers, one Migrant Hawker passed me in the glades and a glimpse of another female Common Darter seen in the woodland.
Common Darter

8th August - Another warm sunny morning, lots of Dragonflies around the Woodland, mainly Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers but very active.

Butterflies as seen before, mainly Gatekeepers a few Meadow Browns, no more sightings of the Common Blues, seem very scarce on this site this year.

Another Fungi seen this morning, some type of Puffball.

7th August -  A pleasant walk through the woodlands revealed another fine looking " Chicken of the Woods " fungi. the only notable bird sighting was a Green Woodpecker disturbed from the long grass in the Glades. Just Two Common Darter females seen in the usual patch of bramble today, no sign of any Common Blue's today, Gatekeepers and Meadow Brown by far the commonest butterfly sighting today.

Chicken-of-the-Woods fungi
Meadow Brown ( F )
6th August -  Bird sightings still sparse at the moment although a fine looking Common Whitethroat appeared out of nowhere and promptly disappeared again. Finally caught up with the Migrant Hawkers on their favoured early morning patch, with just one female Common Darter seen.

Migrant Hawker
Gatekeepers are by far the most numerous Butterfly sightings at the moment, well over fifty plus seen this morning, a few very faded Ringlets, a single Comma, and a few Red Admirals, and for the first time this year a Common Blue was seen briefly on the a short grass in the glades.

Red Admiral

As I was looking for dragonflies I found myself being checked out by several of these Drone Flies that hovered almost motionless around me.

Drone Fly
Still lots of activity around the Ornate tailed Digger wasp site.

Ornate-Tailed Digger Wasp

4th August - Dry warm weather has returned and plenty of sightings to stir the interest, as I walked down towards Two Ponds, the small herd of young British Shorthorns were making good headway through the bracken.

The unidentified Red Fungi seen two days ago has been decimated by the wildlife, a view of the underside had initially left me bewildered as to its identity, I don't think its a Waxcap now, the gills of a waxcap are spaced relatively wide apart and nothing like the underside of this one.

I have found a photograph of a very similar looking Fungi called a Ruby Bolete, described as a small bolete of intense colour, found in deciduous woodland or open parkland usally in grass, this all seems to fit, also described as occasional to common, the underside is identical to the one in Ashenbank, colours and appearance all match, so not too unusual,  but the first one I have seen.

Ruby Bolete in Ashenbank Woods
A great spotted woodpecker was seen high up on the dead branches of a chestnut tree, Robin, Blackbird and a Jay also seen in the woodland.

A bramble patch held a good variety of Hoverflies, flies and Bumblebees, White Tailed Bumblebee, Red Tailed Bumblebee and a very small Early Bumblebee.

Red Tailed Bumblebee

White Tailed Bumblebee

Early Bumblebee

The Bramble patch that seems very attractive to a few Dragonflies held a few Male Common Darters this morning and several Migrant Hawkers, A couple of heavily cropped photographs of a Migrant Hawker.

Migrant Hawker

Butterflies seen were mainly Gatekeepers which seemed quite variable in size, some really small , deceptive until the open wing pattern is seen.

A Green Woodpecker flew fast over the glades towards the woodland and out of sight.

2nd August - A cooler, damp walk following overnight rain, Butterflies were few and far between,  a few Gatekeepers, some very small looking individuals, Meadow Brown and Ringlet

Dull conditions did not look good for the hoped for dragonfly sightings, although Common Darter female was seen on the bramble patch, no Migrant Hawkers around today.

Common Darter
Another  fungi showing today near Two ponds growing through the grass, I could not identify  in all certainty, maybe a type of Waxcap or Brittlegill the stem of this fungi was the same colour as the cap.

Reidentified as Ruby Bolete
Great Spotted Woodpecker heard calling in the woodland, over the glades a small flock of Swift hawking for insects, at least 8. a few Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeons, not much else at the moment.