With all this lovely wet weather about it seems that this autumn the local fungi are emerging in profusion around the reserve and on some of our other sites around the estuary. Now I'm certainly no expert in the identification of fungi but I do really enjoy seeing all the amazing shapes, colours and textures in what is one of the highlights of natures wonderful calendar, and rather than always worrying about its name I often just appreciate seeing it, have a look around the reserve when you visit and see what you can see and enjoy.
Scarlet waxcap - lovely! Waxcaps favour unimproved grassland
These stunning viscid scarlet waxcap were in one of the old sheep folds next to the reserve (where drovers taking their livestock to market on foot used to put them overnight), most of the field has been agriculturally 'improved' but the old track along the side still has the remnants of what was once the local flora, and this is where the waxcaps had found sanctuary. Amazing how nature survives. Maybe one day the field can be turned back into a decent flower meadow.......
Anyway a few more fungi later! Bird wise its been a typical mid October mix-up of birds with winter birds arriving and the last summer migrants drifting south all alongside thousands of ducks, geese and waders which are feeding on the reserve and surrounding land.
The end of last week and into the weekend saw the arrival of a nice immature scaup on Ousefleet lagoon, never a common bird on the reserve we often only get a couple of records a year.
In fact with us being quite wet there has been good numbers of dabbling duck using site with 760 teal, 138 gadwall and 60 shoveler while a massive 7000 pinkfeet have been flying over the reserve in the mornings and evenings. Also interesting to have quite a few little grebes around site and during the week a bit of diving duck movement west with 15 tufted duck and 32 pochard seen.
Large skeins of pinks over the reserve (enlarge photo to see better)
Also of interest was this Mallard x gadwall cross - or has it got some other ducks in it? Its bill almost looks like pintail?
Little grebe on Marshland
Waders now gone into winter mode with lapwings and golden plover making up the majority of birds but there are still curlews, a few ruff, redshank, snipe, dunlin and on the tide the other day three spotted redshank. Still the occasional little egret but many have gone out to feed on the local arable ditches which are high in water, while kingfisher can be seen often feeding along the lagoon feeder ditch.
Most bird of prey activity is centred around the marsh harriers but there is also buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks.
Visible migration has been fairly entertaining with on some mornings flocks of redwings, siskin, and skylark moving over and yesterday the first fieldfare of the year. In the bushes there has been quite a few goldcrests and a handful of chiffchaffs.
Good to see the first bullfinch too with this female the other day, while other finches particularly goldfinch and linnet move south and a few greenfinch, a bird that has just crashed in numbers and very noticeable the other day at Spurn that we only saw two greenfinch while other finches and tree sparrows were passing in number - how times change.
The goldfinch do like the marsh sow thistle, one of our rarer plants
The robins are in fine plumage and giving out their winter songs
There are still a few swallows moving south, most with short tails indicating that they are young birds, also keep an eye out for water pipits around the edges of the lagoons or flying over. While the bearded tits are still erupting in numbers as per the picture below
For those who helped out with the plug planting in Horseshoe meadow its good to report that they are doing very well helped by perfect growing conditions. In a couple of years it will be full of betony, great burnet and meadow saxifrage, I'm really looking forward to it!
One of the Betony plugs doing very well indeed.
And the rain is tempting out the odd toad
And now back to the fungi - here's just a selection of what I've seen in the last couple of days. I hope you enjoy Rainman!
Mike had hen harrier, barn owl and short-eared owl yesterday evening at the marsh harrier rooost from Singleton and I had merlin this morning - so things 'hotting up' at the roost now
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