Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

General Subjects => Blogs and Diaries => Topic started by: ian mcdonald on March 13, 2015, 08:23:34 PM

Title: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 13, 2015, 08:23:34 PM
The company I keep while botanising.

Edit by maggi - making a new thread for Ian McDonald's photos of the flora and fauna around his local "patch"  - which he describes  HERE  (http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=14812.msg365354#msg365354)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 14, 2015, 08:21:57 AM
The company I keep while botanising.
Definitely one of the pluses Ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2015, 09:49:28 AM
This one is a bit worse for wear.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2015, 09:54:00 AM
Different from previous grasshopper?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2015, 10:16:37 AM
A couple for the birders. The parakeet was in the back garden.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: johnstephen29 on March 14, 2015, 10:30:48 AM
Great shots of the parakeet and the cranes Ian, are there wild populations of both near you?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 15, 2015, 10:54:39 AM
Who,s this sneaking about.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 15, 2015, 11:45:43 AM
Large Heath. Aerial ballet. Lucky picture.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 16, 2015, 02:55:36 PM
It,s nearly Easter so here is a picture of Pasque flower, pulsatilla vulgaris. Apologies for poor quality, img 123. Osprey img 134. Albino hedgehog img 133. Dryads saddle, img 130.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 16, 2015, 03:25:58 PM
Stoats play fighting img 129. Purple coltsfoot, Homogyne alpina img 131. Blue heath, phyllodoce caerulea, img 135.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 18, 2015, 06:39:24 PM
Scottish primrose, Primula scotica img 0689. Rannoch rush, Scheuchzeria palustris, img 0617. Dotterel, img 0051.  Gold ringed dragonfly, Cordulegaster boltonii img 0016. 
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 18, 2015, 07:22:02 PM
Wheatear, img 0831. Dipper, img 1164. Sea eagle img 1106, sorry about poor image. Woodlark, img 041.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 18, 2015, 07:47:12 PM
I went bird watching one day and there was a sea fret. I heard a sound like steam escaping from a pipe. The sound got louder and then these appeared. There were four altogether, killer whales, img 00058. Red deer eating bracken, img 00030. Arctic skua, img 00072. Nicrophorus vespilloides, a burying beetle and passengers, img 00019.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 19, 2015, 12:22:52 PM
Osprey and heron join salmon war img 00081. Black throated diver family exercise img 00010. Kingfisher and lunch img 0142. Red necked grebe seeks mate img 0453.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 19, 2015, 08:00:04 PM
Yellowhammer "giving it laldy" img 00057. Reed warbler keeping quiet img 003. Whoopers lift off img 2725. aaaaah img 1965.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 19, 2015, 08:24:36 PM
Scotch argus img 019. Brown argus checks survey, img 0144. Brimstone img 1638. Grayling img 3471.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 19, 2015, 08:40:05 PM
Too much haste, img 3471 is an unknown beetle (longhorn?) Grayling is img 020.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 20, 2015, 12:48:28 AM
Interesting stool the Scotch argus is sitting on.  ;D
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Natalia on March 20, 2015, 12:02:44 PM
Spring spider

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 20, 2015, 12:54:45 PM
Hello Anthony, it was left by a sheep, not me.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 20, 2015, 07:40:04 PM
Could someone ID these dragons? img 1899, hawker? img. 1935, partner of the previous? img. 0182, chaser? img. 0180 ?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 21, 2015, 08:07:14 AM
First one may be a male Aeshna cyanea and the second a female A. mixta and the last one a male A. mixta? Not sure about the third one. Either Pantala flavescens or Sympetrum flaveolum, which has yellow patches near the base of its wings.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 21, 2015, 09:50:24 AM
Thanks Anthony, here are some caterpillars. img 3175, northern eggar? img 2820?    img 004, on hemlock water dropwort.   img 3973 on mullein.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 21, 2015, 10:19:50 AM
Any answers to these? img 2814. img 2785. img 2861. img 001, slime mould?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 21, 2015, 10:49:22 AM
Garden spider, Araneus diadematus, img 3320. Araneus quadratus? img 1480. Spider in pine wood, img 1057. Someones home img 1483.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 21, 2015, 08:23:55 PM
Sunbathing snake img 00038. Inflated toad tries to swallow snake img 0052. Sober newt img 3301. We wondered why its mother only walked a few steps away and stopped, then we nearly stepped on the fawn. Dogs are allowed on this National Nature Reserve, img 039.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 22, 2015, 12:07:03 AM
Garden spider, Araneus diadematus, img 3320. Araneus quadratus? img 1480. Spider in pine wood, img 1057. Someones home img 1483.
The home looks like an emperor moth cocoon.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on March 22, 2015, 07:33:53 AM
Hi Ian

Yes to Northern Eggar
2820 - Dot Moth
Can't see enough detail on 004
3973 - Most likely Satyr Pug although other Pug larvae are similar.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on March 22, 2015, 07:58:54 AM
Ian - When taking fungi it's helpful to included details of habitat and substrate.

2814 - Most likely is Meadow Coral (Clavulinopsis corniculata) although there are similar members of the Clavariaceae
2785 - Most likely  Redlead Roundhead (Leratiomyces ceres) (a shot of the stipe (stem) would be useful).
2861 - Ascocoryne cylichnium or Ascocoryne sarcoides. Needs microscopy to determine but tree species may help.
001 - Charmingly called Dog Sick Slime Mould - (Mucilago crustacea). The plasmodium stage which starts off white and turns yellow with age.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Matt T on March 22, 2015, 09:37:02 AM
Garden spider, Araneus diadematus, img 3320. Araneus quadratus? img 1480. Spider in pine wood, img 1057. Someones home img 1483.

Hi Ian,
Unlike your familiar A. diadematus and A. quadratus, most spiders are quite difficult to identify to species level unless you can examine a sexually mature specimen under a microscope. However, I'll stick my neck out here and suggest that your spider in pine wood is the nursery web spider, Pisaura mirabilis.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Matt T on March 22, 2015, 10:29:58 AM
You can still see a similar pattern in the maps on the Spider Recording Scheme. Most of the records in the Outer Hebrides relate to a holiday taken by one arachnologist! Hopefully I can add a few more.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 23, 2015, 08:35:18 PM
Osprey img 2241. Ptarmigan img 2191. The description of this flower in Clapham, Tutin and Warburg is very long, but what is it? Male flower to follow. img 0420.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 24, 2015, 01:41:18 PM
Right Matt. Here is the male flower. Very conspicuous in April. img. 0360. Also a couple of pale? tussocks. img 0006 and 3389.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 24, 2015, 02:28:46 PM
When I found this tiny plant it was thought to be the first record outside Cornwall and the new forest. Apologies for poor photography. As my teachers got tired of saying, tries hard but could do better. img 190.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 25, 2015, 07:07:26 PM
Mosses and lichens are worth a closer look. img 3271 Sphagnum magellanicum. img 3168 Bryum sp.  img 3475 Cladonia floerkeana?  img 3926 Cladonia sp.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 25, 2015, 07:14:02 PM
A couple of ferns. Img 2716, scaly male fern, Dryopteris affinis. Img 036, royal fern, Osmunda regalis.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 26, 2015, 01:46:02 PM
Some more pictures for ID please. Does anyone know what this woodlice is? img 011. What is this? img 2621. It is not a moss or lichen. A close up of which species? img 2678. Can you ID this to species? img 3537.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on March 26, 2015, 02:12:42 PM
Ian, the last two look like bog orchid Hammarbya paludosa and yellow-rattle Rhinanthus minor, but I've no idea about the others.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 26, 2015, 06:30:05 PM
Hello Ashley, you are right about the bog orchid.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: brianw on March 26, 2015, 10:12:17 PM
Hello Ashley, you are right about the bog orchid.
Got wet feet a few times trying to photograph this in the new Forest, in the old days using a 35mm camera with a close-up lens attachment. Not easy when it is only a few cms tall and you had to wait a week for the film to come back from the processors, only to find it was not in focus.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 27, 2015, 04:41:49 AM
Not sure that is a woodlouse.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 27, 2015, 12:10:48 PM
That was just a guess by me, Anthony. It was on a peat moorland.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 28, 2015, 09:58:34 AM
Could be the larva of a beetle of some sort.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 28, 2015, 10:34:38 AM
Hello Anthony, I don,t think it is beetle. Perhaps Maggi could enlarge it?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: annew on March 29, 2015, 01:30:30 PM
Some more pictures for ID please. Does anyone know what this woodlice is? img 011. What is this? img 2621. It is not a moss or lichen. A close up of which species? img 2678. Can you ID this to species? img 3537.
2621 is a filmy fern, probably Hymenophyllum tunbridgense.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 29, 2015, 02:28:32 PM
Close enough Anne. It is Hymenophyllum wilsonii, wilsons filmy-fern.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 09, 2015, 07:21:56 PM
Purple bordered gold on the local patch. Has anyone else noticed the lack of ladybirds? Perhaps it is the cold spring that caused this.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 25, 2015, 03:02:23 PM
A couple of big fish.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 25, 2015, 03:12:30 PM
Back garden visitor in Yorks.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 25, 2015, 03:30:16 PM
Waxwings in silhouette.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 14, 2015, 04:54:20 PM
A new species of moorland bird? img 087.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 27, 2015, 01:09:48 PM
Any ideas regarding this "slime"? Also note the "blackberry" like mounds next to it. Found on moorland. Img. 1000808. The black "droppings" look like un-digested seeds.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 07, 2015, 10:41:39 PM
img.1000795 juvenile gannet red throated diver  . img 1000623 any ideas? img 1000831 a close encounter of the bird kind.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 07, 2015, 10:45:23 PM
sorry 1000795 is red throated diver.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on November 08, 2015, 01:20:06 PM
img 1000623 any ideas?

Broom Moth larva.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 25, 2016, 02:32:21 PM
I have just seen a peacock butterfly in the garden. I think this is the earliest record for my garden. The weather is cool and quite windy. Has anyone else seen butterflies this year in the UK.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 07, 2016, 03:05:31 PM
Little egret seen in our area as well.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2016, 02:46:14 PM
The mild weather brought out a peacock butterfly on saturday.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 26, 2016, 05:18:36 PM
As it is Easter I thought a picture of pasque flower would be appropriate, photographed in the wild img. 265. Fasciated stem of a sowthistle, Sonchus sp. img. 266. Mimulus at St. Cyrus, img. 267. A local species, Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis img. 268.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 26, 2016, 05:36:37 PM
Yellow star of bethlehem, Gagea lutea, img.269. Oyster plant, Mertensia maritima, img.271. Meadow saxifrage, S. granulata, img.272. Excuse poor quality, scanned from old slides.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 26, 2016, 05:50:29 PM
Marbled whites img.273. Albino hedgehog img 274. Osprey img.275. Field maple, Acer campestre, galled with the mite Aceria myriadeum img. 276.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 02, 2016, 12:31:42 PM
Bog bush cricket, Metrioptera brachyptera img.09 213. Chocks away, whooper swans img.2725. Emperor moth img. 09 143.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 02, 2016, 12:45:26 PM
I don,t usually take "plant portraits" as I like to see the flowers in their habitat but here are two exceptions. Ragged robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi img. 09-405. Bog bean, Menyanthes trifoliata img. 09 397.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 04, 2016, 09:50:07 PM
Scotch argus img. 289.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 04, 2016, 09:58:01 PM
A thing of the past? Marsh orchids Lincolnshire coast img. 292. Broad leaved pea, Lathyrus latifolius img. 293. Coral necklace, Illecebrum verticillatum, discovered by me and destroyed by the local authority img. 295. Sticky catchfly, Lychnis viscaria img.294.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 05, 2016, 08:47:44 PM
Five ptarmigan looking like rocks img. 1000819. A close up img. 1000831. Corn marigold img. 1000014, there ought to be more fields with this beautiful flower. Cranberry, V. oxycoccos looking like a cyclamen img. 1000501.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 11:57:44 AM
Great pictures Ashley. Here is a rather poor one of a Dotterel img. 0051.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 12:00:46 PM
Does anyone know the name of this flower, it is quite common img. 2994.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on April 09, 2016, 12:19:29 PM
Does anyone know the name of this flower, it is quite common img. 2994.

Yes. quite common- but how many people ever notice them?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 04:19:42 PM
Four birds to identify, it should be easy. A img. 0142. B img. 0476. C img. 0055. D img. 1164.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 04:23:54 PM
Four similar but different flowers. Which are which? A img. 0099. B img. 09 285. C img. 2508. D img. 1000762.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 04:42:52 PM
Three more to identify A is img. 1291. B is img. 09 185. C is img. 2597.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on April 09, 2016, 06:31:01 PM
Yes. quite common- but how many people ever notice them?

Just don't eat the berries!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on April 09, 2016, 06:33:58 PM
Four birds to identify, it should be easy. A img. 0142. B img. 0476. C img. 0055. D img. 1164.

A is a kingfisher, though quite a dark one. B is a common crane. C is a waxwing. D is a dipper.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on April 09, 2016, 06:35:15 PM
Four similar but different flowers. Which are which? A img. 0099. B img. 09 285. C img. 2508. D img. 1000762.

A. Gentiana verna; B. G. pneumonanthe. C and D are Gentianellas but I don't know this genus too well I'm afraid.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on April 09, 2016, 06:45:01 PM
Three more to identify A is img. 1291. B is img. 09 185. C is img. 2597.

A is tricky Ian. Reminds me of a Sparganium but I'm not sure.

B: one of the tiger beetles.

C: Utricularia vulgaris or australis. Either way a nice plant for a garden pond, or even an aquarium.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 08:15:08 PM
Three birds, what is img. 041. I,m sure you should have hatched, we are waiting img. 040. An avocet img. 3152.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 09, 2016, 08:27:33 PM
If you don,t like spiders look away now. Garden spider, Araneus diadematus img. 3320. A. quadratus img. 09 127. Apologies if I have posted these before.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Steve Garvie on April 09, 2016, 08:34:26 PM
Image 041 looks like a Woodlark, not that I see any in my neck of the woods.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 10, 2016, 05:13:22 PM
Correct Steve.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 10, 2016, 05:16:35 PM
Tristan, right with the birds. The flowers are C, Gentianella campestris and D, G. amarella.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 10, 2016, 05:18:53 PM
Green Tiger beetles and U. vulgaris. The plant is rather rare and only found in Scotland in the UK.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on April 10, 2016, 06:26:04 PM
Green Tiger beetles and U. vulgaris. The plant is rather rare and only found in Scotland in the UK.


Re Utricularia I didn't know that  Ian, though certainly true for the U. intermedia complex.

Found this great guide on separating vulgaris and australis, and in fact I did think the flowers in your photo had rather narrow 'skirts'http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=33122]
[url]http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=33122 (http://[url)[/url]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 11, 2016, 03:20:11 PM
Hello Tristan, the rare plant in Scotland I referred to is image 1291. It used to be more common throughout the UK but has been lost in English sites due to drainage. Last published record from the local patch was in 1870.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 13, 2016, 09:46:37 PM
Among wildlife seen on the local patch today were Wheatears img. 1010198. 20 adders img. 1010202 and img. 1010205. one common lizard img. 1010207.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on April 14, 2016, 12:07:11 AM
First two adders coming up for a moult. Second pic shows the result. 8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 14, 2016, 04:48:52 PM
Right Anthony, of the 20 about a third were about to moult. Two skins were also found.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 20, 2016, 09:35:53 PM
Among the birds seen today were blackcap img. chiffchaff img. 1010224. Also a sedge warbler, whitethroat, redshank and a short eared owl.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 27, 2016, 09:56:46 PM
On the local patch were found a teals nest with 6 eggs img.1010278. Also a mallards nest with 8 eggs img. 1010279.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 28, 2016, 05:18:19 PM
Among the birds seen today were these three marsh harrier. Two male and one female. One of the males is about to pass food to the female img. 1010289.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 28, 2016, 08:03:24 PM
A reed bunting img.1010281 and a willow tit img. 1010286 on the local patch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 12, 2016, 09:28:20 PM
Among the birds on the local patch today were quite a few hobby img. 1010350 and a red footed falcon. It was about a mile away.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 14, 2016, 10:51:49 AM
Hare today......img. 1010339.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 14, 2016, 08:59:41 PM
Starlings, blue tits, robins and blackbirds all feeding young. The blackbirds are building their second nest while still feeding the first young. The female is doing the collecting as usual.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 05, 2016, 01:55:09 PM
A new one for me, great northern diver img. 1010754. A close shave, arctic tern protecting chick img. 1010701. A tiny fern, moonwort, botrychium lunaria, img. 1010581. Purple oxytropis, O. halleri img. 1010587.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 06, 2016, 05:56:37 AM
I love the photo of the Great Northern Diver. Where did you take it Ian? It takes me way back to the wonderful heady days when I spent many happy hours with (with the books of) Arthur Ransome. Marvellous books every one. :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 17, 2016, 12:03:07 PM
Three different colours of bluebell img.1010491. A male orange tip img.1010501. Mouse-ear hawkweed img.1010561. Oyster catcher eggs img.1010721.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 17, 2016, 12:07:45 PM
Two "beetles" for Anthony to look at img.1010749 and img.1010751. A butterfly in the garden with hardly any markings, meadow brown? img.1010806. A grass snake img.1010801.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 17, 2016, 12:27:59 PM
Lousewort, Pedicularis sylvatica img.1010531. Sea milkwort, Glaux maritima img.1010584. A mimulus img. 1010603. Wood vetch, Vicia sylvatica img.1010718.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on July 17, 2016, 06:16:31 PM
1010751 looks like a click beetle Ian. The butterfly is a ringlet - tends to come out a little earlier than meadow brown and the larvae favour damper, longer grass.

Tristan
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: scatigaz on July 18, 2016, 08:00:31 PM
Certainly looks like Ringlet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on July 19, 2016, 02:21:14 AM
The other beetle looks like a nettle weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus) or P. maculicornis. The former is around 10cm, and the latter, being the lesser of two weevils, is just a tad smaller.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 19, 2016, 12:22:36 PM
Thanks all. I don,t usually see ringlet in the garden and the poor markings threw me.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 19, 2016, 11:00:00 PM
Ground beetle, Carabus coriaceus? img.1010688. Sedge warbler img.1010605. Fish supper img.1010753. Ripple marks in flagstone img 1010666.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 21, 2016, 02:23:56 PM
Water avens and seed img.1010750. Puffins img.1010511. Moss campion img.1010784. A special plant on the local patch, greater yellow rattle, Rhinanthus angustfolius. img.1010812.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 25, 2016, 12:31:43 PM
Among the plants seen during the wildlife survey of a local site on Saturday were Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium img. 1010813. Vipers bugloss, Echium vulgare img.1010819. Also several tall Mullein which looked like V. pyramidatum img.1010814.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 14, 2016, 09:15:14 PM
A bug on yellow figwort, any idea of name? img 1010469. A flying roe deer, practising for Christmas? img 1010838. Pyrausta aurata in the garden today, img 1010862.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Anthony Darby on August 15, 2016, 01:27:59 PM
The bug on the figwort is the figwort weevil Cionus scophulariae. 8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 15, 2016, 08:51:02 PM
Thanks Anthony, I thought you might know it.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 25, 2016, 12:45:25 PM
Garden visitors include Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus img 1010887 and Speckled Wood, Parage aegeria img 1010885. Seen on the local patch are Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni img 1010877 on Fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica and female common blue, Polyommatus icarus img 1010896.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 25, 2016, 01:01:58 PM
Also on the local patch yesterday (hot and sunny) were Black Darter, Sympetrum danae img 1010893. Common Darter, Sympetrum striolata img 1010894. and Emerald Damselfly? Lestes sponsa img 1010897. Apologies if I have mis-identified any, inverts are not my favourite things. There were quite a few other dragons and damsels there. Birds seen included Kestrel, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard and Jay.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on August 25, 2016, 07:14:47 PM
Looks right to me Ian. We had a teneral female common hawker on the wall of the house yesterday. Hopefully we'll see her back again in the garden once she has coloured up.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 31, 2016, 10:19:10 PM
Seen on the local patch today included a wheatear (through the car windscreen) img 1010961. Purple loosestrife img 1010963. Hemp agrimony img 1010966. Greylag geese img 1010967. Also seen were snipe, greenshank, common sandpiper, ruff, marsh harrier, hobby and peregrine.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 21, 2016, 08:01:40 PM
Autumn has arrived at the local patch. Four fungi at a woodland edge on peat. img 1010976. img 1010987. img 1010988. and img 1010990.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 21, 2016, 08:09:03 PM
Hover-flies dining on a dandelion img. 1010977. More guests img. 1010980. A roe deer with young img. 1010984. Clearing birch scrub on a part of the bog img. 1010978.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 28, 2016, 08:06:45 PM
Some more autumnal pics. from the local patch. img. 102012 shows bog rosemary still in flower. img.102014 shows cross leaved heath still in flower. img. 1102016 is cranberry, nice and sweet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 01, 2016, 01:04:57 PM
I,m not sure which category these pictures of the local patch should be in. img 3457. Green belt scrape. img. 060 cotton-grass. img 3254 Northern canals. img. 3459 North of blackwater dyke. img. 003a Southern canals. Apologies if I have posted them before.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 05, 2016, 08:03:48 PM
Fairly quiet on the local patch today, apart from the wind and the chainsaws. Few birds seen but include kestrel, snipe, marsh harrier, pink footed geese, teal and a peregrine sitting on a log about 200 yards away. img. 1020023 shows part of the site with hares tail cotton-grass in the wetter parts and bracken on the dryer baulks, looking East. img. 1020024 is the same area looking West. img. 1020025 is the taller royal fern. I also found 18 tiny juveniles regenerating not far away. img. 1020026 is a Yellow swamp russula, Russula claroflava.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 05, 2016, 08:11:12 PM
Small rhodos. are in flower img. 1020027. View looking East img. 1020032. Big skies due to flat ground img. 1020033. Peregrine sat on a log about 200 yards away, left of centre img. 1020034.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on October 10, 2016, 06:16:44 PM
I've made a new thread for Ian McDonald's photos of the flora and fauna around his local "patch"  :)

 
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 11, 2016, 03:20:46 AM
Ian,

I did not know this this thread existed and I am glad that I found it. What a fascinating place. Very  8)

I look forward to more.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 11, 2016, 03:25:25 PM
A short history of the local patch may be of interest. After the last ice age an area of low lying land approximately 2000 square km. in size evolved into fen and bog. Remains from decaying plants accumulated to form peat of various depths. In the Middle Ages this peat started to be removed by hand for fuel. The area became a royal deer hunting chace in the middle ages, covering an area of about 270 square miles. In the mid 1600s a Dutchman named Cornelius Vermuyden drained much of the area and the land was divided between the King, Vermuyden and locals. Most of the area was turned over to agriculture. Attempts to Warp the remaining wetland were only partly successful, although the Eastern part of the local patch was warped. This area remained too wet for the growing of crops. Peat extraction continued for use as horse bedding. The removal of peat for horticulture was the next phase of destruction. This was carried out by hand by Dutch and English workers. Mechanised peat extraction began in 1963 and continued until the 1980s, when peat milling began. A campaign was started by a local Naturalist to preserve the moors in the 1950s. This campaign was both legally founded and physically backed. The campaign to save this Internationally important site gathered pace until the Government of the day bought out the mineral extraction permissions and peat removal ceased in 2004. The site is now classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest,(the largest inland SSSI), a Special Protection Area for breeding Nightjars and a Special Area of Conservation for raised bog. It is the country,s largest area of lowland raised bog. Due to the human interference of the site in extracting peat there are abandoned narrow gauge railway tracks and many drainage ditches, creating a mosaic of habitats. This in turn provides a home to a very large range of wildlife. This year sees the third year of major management works to restore the area to a living bog. Scrub clearance of introduced Rhododendron and native birch as well as water management to reduce water run-off is taking place. It will be interesting to see which species of wildlife have survived the destruction of many years of human interference. Already, species of plants have been recorded, in cleared areas, which have not been seen for a long time.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 11, 2016, 04:23:42 PM
Ian,

Thank you very much for the short history of this site. It is amazing how nature can repair itself when given a chance and some help on our part.

I look forward to your continued reports from this area and I am keen to learn more. Very  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 12, 2016, 07:57:35 PM
Contractors removing Rhododendron with a mulcher img. 1020044. A peacock suns itself img. 1020057. Tansy still in flower img. 1020059. Fly agaric img. 102060. Water chickweed, Myosoton aquaticum img. 1020063.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 12, 2016, 08:10:08 PM
An alien plant, Narrow leaved ragwort, Senecio inaequidens img. 1020066. One of the warping drains img. 1020068. A female marsh harrier fly past img. 1020069. Purple moor grass, Molinia caerulea, in Autumn colour img. 1020072. About 1000 Pink footed Geese dropped in img. 1020076.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 13, 2016, 04:21:39 AM
Ian,

I joyed the photographs, especially the Peacock Butterfly.

I have been successful in attracting a few butterflies into our Sacramento garden. Mostly Fiery Skippers, however there have been a few others. Unfortunately I do not know their names yet. At least we have a good identification book at our public library that I can check out.

Our Sacramento home is located very close to the Sacramento River. I can easily ride my bicycle to the river and across a bridge to the Dick Fazio Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located on the Yolo Bypass, part of the Sacramento River flood control system. Migratory water fowl visit this refuge every winter. I must go check it out. Thank you for the inspiration.

By the way, what is the elevation of your local wildlife patch? How far from the ocean?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 13, 2016, 11:52:13 AM
Hello Robert, according to a satellite image the elevation varies between 3 feet and 20 feet above sea level. The site is about 40 miles from the North Sea. Some areas around the site are at sea level. This means that drainage water has to be pumped towards the sea by a series of electric pumps. In former times these pumps were powered by wind.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: fredg on October 15, 2016, 08:54:09 PM
Great to see these as a Blog Ian. keep up the good work ;D
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 19, 2016, 09:48:29 PM
A large ancient oak in the heather img. 1020077. Common comfrey still in flower img. 1020080. Mature white willow, S. alba, in Carr woodland img. 1020083. Heathland in Autumn img. 1020084.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 19, 2016, 09:52:16 PM
A witches broom on birch img. 1020085. Bramble leaves in autumn img. 1020086. Bracken shows its better colour img. 1020087.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 19, 2016, 09:56:57 PM
Among the birds seen or heard today were marsh harrier, hen harrier, peregrine, kestrel, buzzard, sparrow hawk, jays, redwings, fieldfares, water rail, pink foot and grey lag geese, shoveler, red deer and roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on October 20, 2016, 06:48:30 PM
Among the birds seen or heard today were marsh harrier, hen harrier, peregrine, kestrel, buzzard, sparrow hawk, jays, redwings, fieldfares, water rail, pink foot and grey lag geese, shoveler, red deer and roe deer.
Quite the list! Who wouldn't be pleased to see all these?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 24, 2016, 04:46:56 PM
Water rail img. 0565. Antitrichia curtipendula img. 3615. Neolithic trackway found by a colleague img. 007.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 24, 2016, 04:51:25 PM
After the cessation of peatland destruction for the horticulture industry time was given to remove stockpiles, img. 0131. Going img. 0202. Gone img. 0204.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 24, 2016, 07:33:46 PM
Two juvenile long eared owls having a rest img. srgc file. Spot the birdie, nightjar img. srgc file 1. Nightjar eggs in scrape, a separate "nest" from previous, which was not disturbed img. srgc file 2.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 25, 2016, 03:57:37 PM
Ian,

How do you take such photographs of the wildlife? Do you use a special lens on your camera? Are there blinds where you can wait for the wildlife to pass by? Maybe you a good at tracking animals?

Anyway I liked the owls.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 25, 2016, 04:14:08 PM
Hello Robert, it is not skill on my part and I don,t usually spend time waiting for wildlife to turn up. The camera is not special although there is a zoom feature on the fixed lens. The owls were first seen by someone from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (rspb) when we were looking at a site. I approached them by walking at an angle to the tree and looking at the ground.They did not seem concerned by my approach so I stopped and took the picture. The nightjar was seen by luck. I acted as though I had not seen the bird, took the picture and left. Most other pictures of wildlife are just a matter of luck.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 26, 2016, 09:08:08 PM
Fairly quiet today, among the birds seen were lapwings, marsh harriers, fieldfares, redwings, redpoll (about 60), kestrel, great spotted woodpecker, goosander and a red deer img. 1020110.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 02, 2016, 09:43:23 PM
Another quiet cool day, windfarms to the left and windfarms to the right. I suppose they are better than radio-active pollution img 1020115 and 1020116. Autumn scenes img. 1020114, 1020118, 1020119.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 02, 2016, 09:52:51 PM
Among the wildlife seen were marsh harriers, fieldfares, grey lag and pink foot geese, stonechats img. 1020120 and roe deer does img. 1020121 and an inquisitive buck img. 1020126. Whooper swans have arrived img. 1020117.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on November 03, 2016, 04:57:04 PM
Some of the young Whoopers still looking quite immature - how long till they are in full  adult feathers ?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 04, 2016, 07:42:43 PM
Maggi, according to birddatabase.com immatures keep some grey feathers until their second winter.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on November 04, 2016, 07:44:41 PM
Thanks Ian - that's longer than I thought.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 06, 2016, 02:58:29 PM
Ian,

Your "local patch" must be a good stopover point for migratory birds. The Sacramento Valley of California is major stopover for migratory birds on the west coast of North America. I have not seen the Sandhill Cranes yet, however they should be showing up soon. The October rains have turned much of the northern Sacramento Valley into a giant wetlands. Great for the migratory waterfowl. Are the migratory birds coming through in your area? or have already moved on to the south?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 07, 2016, 09:31:36 PM
Hello Robert, summer visitors such as swallow, swift, martins and hobbys have left for southern europe and africa. Winter visitors including redwing, fieldfare, pink footed goose and whooper swans are arriving from northern areas. We don,t usually get large numbers of winter visitors in our area, perhaps because we are inland. There are a small number of un-common water-fowl (in our area) passing through such as common scoter, pintail, red breasted merganser, goldeneye and bean goose.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 09, 2016, 09:41:44 PM
A cold, dull, rainy day today making photography poor. The wildlife was better than expected, with the first bird seen being a male hen harrier. A visit was paid to the site of a new water pump being prepared, then a walk to a small lake. Birds seen here included whooper swans, goosanders, shovellers, mallards goldeneye and teal. A flock of about 100 mixed redpoll and bramblings were feeding in birch trees. Goldcrests were feeding in low bushes. Pink foot geese and fieldfares were flying over and a water rail was heard calling. Two small flocks of goldfinch were busy feeding on old thistle heads. Three female marsh harriers were sat in a bush. A small mammal, possibly a water shrew ran over the track. Four roe deer were by a track as I left. The sun came out in time to set. There is no shelter on the site to enjoy wildlife while sipping a hot drink. This means you have to look if you want to see. The site of the new pump img. 1020127. Whoopers in line img. 1020130. A whooper with goosanders behind. A goldcrest hiding behind a leaf.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 09, 2016, 09:45:16 PM
Three female marsh harriers in a bush img. 1020137. At last, the sky cleared img. 1020136. Darkness falls img. 1020139.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 10, 2016, 02:37:12 AM
Ian,

It seems like it must have been a nice day to be out rain or shine.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 10, 2016, 02:23:23 PM
Robert, the wildlife rarely disappoints whatever the weather or time of year. I prefer spring and summer though.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 16, 2016, 08:45:59 PM
A dull, windy day. Photography of birds poor. Among those seen were marsh harrier, grey lag geese, reed buntings, kestrel, redpolls, goosanders, snipe and goldcrest. 2 red deer and a roe deer were also seen. img. 1020152 shows one of the paths. img. 1020156 is of grey lag geese and a canada goose.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 17, 2016, 03:05:24 PM
Ian,

The first photograph is quite nice. I would not mind taking a hike in such a place.  :)  In one of your past postings it appears that there is still some construction taking place. It must be taking many years to reclaim the land. It also appears that there has been considerable success.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 18, 2016, 09:43:57 PM
Hello Robert, the site contains a variety of habitats, from bog to woods and fen. The work is set to finish at the end of winter, with possible extension for spraying of cleared rhododendron which is sprouting new growth from the stumps. I have been told that it may take three years of treatment to get rid of them. Plastic dams are being installed in strategic drains to raise water levels. We have not had much rainfall this year and some areas were beginning to dry out on the surface. The last few days have been wet and there has been fairly quick recovery already. The project to remove scrub and raise water levels is a three year one, this being the final season. Work stops at the end of March until October, so as not to interfere with the bird nesting season.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 23, 2016, 08:05:37 PM
A cold clear morning with good views img. 1020169. One of the old canals used to move peat from the site img. 1020170. Common cotton-grass in winter colour img. 1020177. Male Hen Harrier, left of centre img. 1020179. Among the birds seen were Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Pink Footed and Greylag Geese, Gadwall, Goosander, Shoveler, Woodcock, Snipe, Redpoll and Reed Bunting.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on November 23, 2016, 10:18:39 PM
Quote
A cold clear morning with good views img. 1020169

 Super view - great clouds -  a crisp and lovely day!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 24, 2016, 07:40:19 AM
Ian,

I too enjoyed the photographs, especially the first view.

It appears that the land is still healing in a few locations.

It is great to hear that there are so many bird species to see. We finally heard some migrating Sandhill Cranes today.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 24, 2016, 11:21:32 AM
Hello Robert, the vegetation cover is almost complete but it will be some years before a living bog is restored to previous areas. It is a long term project but at least it now has the opportunity to re-grow, where the past prospect was destruction.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 25, 2016, 12:23:20 PM
Ian,

Surprise of surprises! It turns out that my wife and I have a book on birds of the U.K. in our personal library. It is not complete, however I can follow along with your sightings fairly well.

Right now there is not much bird activity in our Sacramento garden. I saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet the other day and a Shrub Jay was poking around in the garden as I worked. Tough to photograph such birds! They are pleasant to watch.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 25, 2016, 07:03:42 PM
Robert, I hardly ever get close to birds on the site as there is little cover. The hen harrier was by the road as I left but by the time I had the camera ready it was away. I don,t think we have as big a variety of birds as you have but sometimes we get an unusual visitor. Short eared owls are usually on the site during winter but I have not seen one yet, although there have been sightings by bird watchers. My own garden is fairly quiet during winter.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on November 26, 2016, 08:37:08 AM
Robert the RSPB website (http://ww2.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/) has very good species ID pages for all British birds.

Best, Tristan
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 26, 2016, 02:06:22 PM
Robert the RSPB website ([url]http://ww2.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/[/url]) has very good species ID pages for all British birds.

Best, Tristan


Tristan,

This is great!  8)  This will help fill in the gaps.

Thank you so much.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 30, 2016, 07:09:59 PM
A clear and frosty day with birds keeping mainly to trees and bushes. A new dam goes in img. 1020181. Black headed gull demonstrates skating skills img. 1020187. Bee orchid rosettes ready for next year img. 1020191. A pheasant in a hawthorn bush, maybe after the berries img. 1020192. Goldcrest img. 1020195.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 30, 2016, 07:21:29 PM
Chaffinch poses for picture img. 1020197. A small broad leaved wood img. 1020198. One of a small flock of long tailed tits img. 1020201. A female reed bunting. img. 1020202. The trees are bare now img. 1020204.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 30, 2016, 07:28:50 PM
A path through the reeds img. 1020205. Sunset lights up the scene img. 1020206. Other birds seen include peregrine, water rail, teal, fieldfares, stonechats, wrens, robins and crows.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 01, 2016, 04:59:10 AM
Ian,

It seems odd behavior to see a Pheasant in a tree? When I was a teenager I hunted Ring-neck Pheasants.  :-X  From my understanding they are native to China. Maybe there are different Pheasants in the U.K.?

The female Reed Bunting looks somewhat similar to our Lincoln's Sparrow (juvenile) or our Song Sparrow. You take excellent photographs of those tiny birds! I have been tempted to get a photograph or two of our birds. No luck yet. Today I saw White-crowned Sparrows, Oregon Juncos, Ruffus-sided Towhees, and Brown (California) Towhees. Cooper's Hawks nest in the trees at the farm. They hunt smaller birds, so I was was extremely surprised and startled today when a Red-tailed Hawk came out of the sky to grab a Sparrow. No time for a camera on that one.

Thank you for sharing.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 01, 2016, 08:00:27 PM
Robert, the pheasant was introduced to the UK from Asia. Breeding has produced several colour varieties including the "ring neck" so called due to the white collar. There are also dark varieties, named melanistic, and light varieties called leucistic. Sometimes a green variety is seen and they are referred to as japanese pheasants.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 15, 2016, 02:25:55 PM
A dull start and then the sun came out to lighten the scene. img 1020231 shows the reed path from the other direction. There were several stonechats along one track img. 1020225. One of the many pools img. 1020216. Winter colours are everywhere now img. 1020232.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 15, 2016, 02:37:11 PM
Another pool, closed for the winter img. 1020233. Goosanders and tufted duck on one of the "scrapes" img. 1020241. A larger "mulcher" has been brought in to deal with the scrub clearance img. 1020234. The mulcher has to be towed out of a "bog hole" img. 1020235, the site is getting wetter.Other birds seen include marsh harrier, kestrel, jay,goldcrest, moorhen, pied wagtail and many pink footed geese flying in, also a roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 15, 2016, 04:51:20 PM
Ian,

It is commendable that much time and energy is being committed to restoring habitat. From your diary it appears the animals are thriving in the restored environment. How are the plants fairing? In California restoration of plant communities is too often very difficult. Invasive species can be noxious and extremely difficult to eradicate. In some cases it is unknown how the original plant communities appeared. This is true of some grassland communities in California. In may cases it is only a guess what the grassland communities were like in the past. Maybe there are similar challenges in your local patch?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 16, 2016, 09:09:00 PM
Robert, the Rhododendrons spread from an area used by a local nurseryman to grow ericaceous plants many years ago. He introduced different kinds of Rhodos. which may have been grown on R. ponticum stock. They reverted to the ponticum type and spread throughout the site. The machines used to clear dense areas cut many of them down to ground level last year. There is a lot of regrowth this year which will need to be sprayed for several years. It is too soon to say how the native flora and fauna will respond to the scrub clearance and water management throughout the site, although there is an Entomologist carrying out insect surveys. He re-found a rare plume moth this year which specializes on sundew and has not been recorded in this area since 1891. Some species of invertebrate have not been recorded elsewhere in the UK.  Also, nightjar ( an uncommon bird of heathlands) monitoring is taking place during late spring to autumn to determine their numbers and feeding range. As for the plants, the site is too large and diverse to cover in one season. I have recorded several species in areas they were not seen in, several years ago. In one cleared area I found a large sedge, C. elata, which I had not seen there before. It grows to about 3 feet in height and would have remained un-recorded there had the scrub not been cleared. Who knows what other plants remain to be found. Possibly the rarest plant on the site is Deer Grass, a common plant of moorland but only one plant has been found at this site. I expect there will be losses and gains. Another common moorland plant, hard fern (Blechnum spicant), is also a rare plant on the site. Only four plants have been found. Other plants which are rare in this area, have appeared and spread well. One species is Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella). When this was first found there were 89 flowering spikes. Last year a friend and myself counted 1300. Dune helleborine (Epipactis dunensis) was first recorded on the site in 2010. This year they increased to 44. Past records from the site are a bit sketchy from the plant point of view. This was due to the site being less accessible and the visits being one day in only a decade or so. Even so, it was recognized that the site was of International importance for its Flora and Fauna. It was only when the site was threatened with destruction (apart from peat removal and drainage) that recording began in earnest in the late 1960s. Access to the area was "discouraged" by the peat companies. The site has several International designations for the importance of the wildlife that live there. I know that more will be found as time goes on. An excellent professional local naturalist said (when talking of the site) "loss of evidence is not evidence of loss." Taking into account the size and diversity of the area I can appreciate that, as the re-finding of the plume moth demonstrates.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 17, 2016, 10:57:53 PM
Ian,

This is a very encouraging report.  8)  I appreciate all of the information. I will be very curious about any new findings in the coming year and the progression as the land moves into the winter, then the spring season.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 19, 2016, 09:19:41 PM
Robert, I have heard that there are great pressures on the Government agency responsible for protecting our rare habitats. I hope that the protection given by previous governments are not interferred with by the present government. We need to look after our important wildlife sites for ever instead of using the excuse that the present economic climate means our "leaders" can do as they wish with our heritage.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 21, 2016, 09:44:16 PM
A dull cold start to the day. Birds were hiding from the wind but those seen or heard include marsh harrier, moorhen, goldcrest, great spotted woodpecker, bullfinch, reed bunting and stonechat. Inside one of the wet woodlands img. 1020248. A track through the wood img. 1020249. The sun came out in the afternoon img. 1020250.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 16, 2017, 08:50:54 PM
I have been away from the local patch for a few Months. It was a mild day today so I went for a walk there. The new water pump was installed today, see image 1020260. Next week a small tower with a wind generator (bird friendly not the usual blades) will be installed. A couple of early flowers seen were coltsfoot (tusilago farfara) and sweet violet (V. odorata). Among the birds seen or heard were marsh harrier, kestrel, lapwing, cettis warbler, redshank, shelduck, tufted duck, teal, crane, stonechat, reed buntings and grey lag geese.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on March 16, 2017, 08:59:46 PM
Welcome "home"  Ian
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 17, 2017, 11:52:11 AM
Ian,

It looks like some of the early spring wildflowers are blooming at "your patch".
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 21, 2017, 12:10:07 PM
Went to the local patch in the rain. Control equipment for the "pump" arrived. The pump is an archimedes screw inside a large pipe. When the screw turns, water is raised inside the pipe and is then moved via another pipe into an adjacent large drain and away from the site. The rain cleared later and among the wildlife seen were red deer, stoat, marsh harriers, kestrel, sparrow hawk, shelduck, chiff chaff (a summer visitor), tree creeper, bullfinchs, buzzard and grey- lag geese. Img. 1020270 equipment arrives for the pump. Img. 1020276 a tree creeper. Img. 1020277 a bullfich looking for food.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 31, 2017, 04:17:47 PM
Yesterday started dull then improved with a sunny and mild afternoon. I saw an area where dense birch scrub clearance had started, then found an area where large scale clearance had taken place. img. 1020295 shows partial clearance and img. 1020301 shows major clearance. Bog myrtle is easy to see at this time of the year when the male plants have catkins img. 1020303. A close up of a male bog myrtle flower with a spider which looks like a garden spider, Araneus diadematus, although the markings seem to vary, img. 1020310.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 31, 2017, 04:38:07 PM
One of the water level data loggers, img. 1020311. Several Redpoll were seen on the small birches img. 1020299. A pair of Tufted duck were on a pool img. 1020315. Other wildlife seen included two roe deer, a kestrel, a male marsh harrier, buzzard, water rail, common snipe, jack snipe, wheatear, stonechat, shoveler, teal, mallard, song thrush, many black-headed gulls on the pools, lapwing, gadwall, chiff chaffs, wren, reed buntings and meadow pipits.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 01, 2017, 03:14:36 PM
Ian,

Why are the birch being cleared away? Are they weedy?

It is very promising to hear about the long list of birds sighted. Here in California our wild bird populations have declined dramatically since the 1970's, especially migratory song birds. Some species are rarely or never seen now.

The good news is that we sighted a Copper's Hawk in our backyard a few days ago.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 01, 2017, 10:20:50 PM
Two local plants related to Christmas rose, H. Foetidus, stinking hellebore img. 002 and H. viridis, Green hellebore img. 001. Robert, the birch are dense and are taking water from the bog by evapo-transpiration. They have become dominant due to the peat producers draining large areas of the bog. This ceased in 2004. Work is in progress to remove large areas of dense scrub, such as birch and Rhododendron. Also, when the birch are in leaf the shade prohibits bog plants from growing/re-colonising the peat. This is the third year of scrub clearance and drain blocking. It is proposed to keep the water level within 10cm of the peat surface for the regeneration of peat producing plants. A LIDAR survey was carried out to assertain the topography of the site in order to place dams in strategic places. The site is Internationally important for the huge variety of wildlife it supports, many of which are regarded as rare.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 01, 2017, 10:50:30 PM
Ian,

Thank you for all of the information. It sounds like they are doing some fantastic work restoring the habitat at "your patch".
Very  8)  I look forward to more interesting reports from this area.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 02, 2017, 10:56:28 AM
Robert, I have just checked the bird species recorded in 2016 for the site. The total for the year was 170. I am just a casual observer rather than a bird watcher.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 02, 2017, 03:10:06 PM
Ian,

170 species is a very impressive total!  8)  Around 1 January the local birders do a bird count. I have not come across a recent report, however I do know that numbers are declining locally.

Sadly it is like "Silent Spring" around here. Last year there were no honey bees and pollination was terrible or did not happen at all. I have made a huge effort to grow a year round nectar supply for the honey bees in our yard. One of many reasons I like to grow annuals in our garden. Yesterday, I was out working around Salvia 'Bee's Bliss' (it is blooming now). The name is very appropriate. There were at least a few honey bees working the flowers. This is progress! Now I hope that the 'sleeper bees' will return and have a home in our garden.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 03, 2017, 02:44:38 PM
Robert, the bees and other invertebrates are declining here as well. This is probably due to farming practises and the use of more insecticides. As a result, the wildlife that feeds on invertebrates are also declining. "Progress," but which way?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 05, 2017, 08:47:46 PM
A mild day with a cold wind later. When I got to the site I was told that vandals had broken into an on-site building and caused a lot of damage. This will no doubt have to be paid for by the public. Along the track there was a wheatear img. 1020340. Many black headed gulls have set up their nesting territory, among them were several coot img. 1020344. Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara are flowering img. 1020346. A green tiger beetle was hunting img. 1020351. The new wind turbine has been installed img. 1020353.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 05, 2017, 09:05:54 PM
A male marsh harrier collecting sticks img. 1020355. On a track there was a goose egg img. 1020357. Red deer were browsing not knowing I was there img. 1020359. Looks like I,ve been spotted img. 1020370. Other wildlife seen were roe deer, and a rabbit. Birds seen or heard today were redshank, common snipe, lapwing, greylag geese, teal, mallard, shoveler, gadwall, moorhen, pheasant, buzzard, kestrel, blue tit, chiff chaff, willow warbler (my first for this year), blackcap (my first for this year), wren, robin, stonechat, song thrush, blackbird, skylark, linnet, goldfinch, chaffinch, dunnock, reed bunting and crow.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 07, 2017, 04:30:08 AM
Ian,

Were some of the bird's seen on your last outing migratory? Many of the Warblers we see in California are migrants that pass though from South America to points north of California and back again. Back in the 1970's I would see Western Tanagers every spring on there way north. Now I never see them. The same is true for Bullock's Orioles, except I do see one or two in the spring. Never in the numbers as in the past.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 07, 2017, 07:21:12 PM
Robert, chiff chaff, willow warbler and blackcap are summer visitors here.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 12, 2017, 08:28:45 PM
A cold dull windy day. The new pump has been tried and moves the water from the site very well img. 1020393. A deer skull was seen along one of the tracks img. 1020426. Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) is flowering early img. 1020442. Pussy willow S. caprea is full of flower and is being fed on by bees img. 1020444. Likewise, the flowers of crack willow (S. fragilis) are out img. 1020446.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 12, 2017, 08:48:31 PM
There were quite a number of shoveler today img. 1020448. Following a tip off I saw a pair of  Pintail, a first for me, img. 1020420. Other birds seen or heard were black headed gull, bittern, greylag goose, teal, mallard, moorhen, coot, pheasant, marsh harrier, woodpigeon, collared dove, many sand martin (new record for this year) feeding up on passage, swallow(new record for this year) , house martin (new record for this year), great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, chiff chaff, willow warbler, blackcap, wren, robin, blackbird ,pied wagtail, chaffinch, reed bunting, crow, magpie. Please note.....the first records are for me, not other more serious bird watchers.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Steve Garvie on April 12, 2017, 11:40:03 PM
Ian, you have an impressive range of birds on your local patch.

Img. 1020420 is of a drake Pintail, not a Long-tailed Duck. Long-tailed Ducks (known locally here as Calloo and in North America as Oldsquaw) are essentially sea ducks. Here is an image taken of a drake in the Firth of Forth:

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2885/34002603025_c6f68e2be1_z_d.jpg)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 13, 2017, 11:20:30 AM
Thanks Steve, I,ve just noticed the error and changed it. It shows I,m not a serious birder.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 13, 2017, 02:34:21 PM
Steve, I have just checked the local records as long tailed duck sounded familiar. There are records of this sea bird in our area, although they are not common. Sooner or later many species of wildlife occur here. There was once, not too long ago, a porpoise in the local river. We are about 50 miles from the sea.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 16, 2017, 04:13:09 PM
Three large birds on the site img. 1010821.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on April 18, 2017, 04:34:00 PM
That's a nice find, Ian - Common Crane (Grus grus).
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 19, 2017, 08:14:53 PM
A fairly dull but warm day today. I was surprised to find a large area , not seen for some time, had been cleared of birch scrub. The difference between this area to the East of a track and the area to the West of the track, is remarkable. Cleared area img. 1020478. Vegetated area img. 1020480. Jay through the windscreen img. 1020483. Other birds seen or heard were Heron, skylark, kestrel, chiff chaff, blackcap, robin, willow warbler, wheatear, greylag geese, mallard, teal, shoveler, song thrush, linnet, rooks, crows, marsh harrier, black headed gulls (noisy nesting colony), pheasant, jack snipe, lapwing, common snipe, long tailed tit, reed bunting, meadow pipit, wren, jay, wood pigeon, great tit, blue tit, whitethroat (first record for me this year), sedge warbler (another first record this year), tufted duck, chaffinch, swallow, moorhen, goldfinch, canada goose, house martin, gadwall, redshank, buzzard. Also water vole and roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 26, 2017, 08:53:20 PM
There has been a large fire on the site since last week. The weather here is cold so it may have been deliberate. Much of the vegetation has been burnt, including Sphagnum, so the heat must have been intense. img 1020496 shows a small part of the burning. In another area moss has been "scorched" by the cold winds we have had recently img. 1020495. A roe deer having a scratch img. 1020492. Other wildlife seen were, kestrel, marsh harrier, common snipe, redshank, moorhen, coot, mallard, teal, shoveler, gadwall, reed bunting, chiff chaff, willow warbler, whitethroat, black headed gull, wren, linnet, crow, lapwing, greylag goose, pheasant, wood pigeon, swallow, house martin, wheatear, great spotted woodpecker, blackcap, sedge warbler, robin, blackbird, meadow pipit, chaffinch, magpie, roe deer and red deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 30, 2017, 05:09:18 PM
Ian,

Is fire a natural part of the ecosystem in this area or has it been strictly introduced by humans?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 30, 2017, 05:22:01 PM
Robert, there have been quite a few fires on the site over the years. I think the more recent (last 50 years or so) have been human interference. The vegetation recovers although it may not have the same composition as before. Now that the water levels across the area have been raised the fire was not deep seated in the peat. It will be interesting to see how quickly the burnt area re-vegetates and with which species. The peat has been removed, small scale at first, since medieval times. Later the peat producers removed peat by mechanical means for horticulture, grow bags etc.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 03, 2017, 10:17:59 PM
Sunny and mild at first, then cold and windy. I re-found three patches of cranberry a long way from the usual area. Birds were quite a mixed bunch today, with more summer visitors. Among the few flowers seen were climbing corydalis (C. claviculata). This can be a dominant weed in suitable areas img. 1020505. Just coming into flower were germander/birds-eye speedwell (v. chamaedrys) img. 1020509. Greylag geese were browsing in a field, img. 1020504. While sitting down trying to photograph a cettis warbler I noticed something moving to my left, it turned and ran. I just managed to get a photo. of the fox before it disappeared, img. 1020507. The birds seen or heard today were chiff chaff, blackbird, wren, black headed gull, mallard, coot, willow warbler, crow, buzzard, marsh harrier, linnet, meadow pipit, cettis warbler, blackcap, whitethroat, shoveler, reed bunting, pied wagtail, long tailed tit, chaffinch, teal, gadwall, garden warbler, greylag geese, wood pigeon, pheasant, cuckoo (first this year), swallow, robin, moorhen, house martin, dunnock, sedge warbler, goldcrest, mute swan, swifts (first this year), snipe, crane, lapwing, grasshopper warbler (first this year). Also seen was a small bird of prey I could not identify, as I was leaving two bird watchers came and asked if I had seen the red footed falcon. This may have been the bird I saw. Butterflies were orange tip, brimstone and peacock. Dragonflies and damsel flies were on the wing.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 18, 2017, 08:39:02 PM
The burnt area is already recovering img. 1020545. Part of the black headed gull colony and nests img. 1020562. A willow warbler, its nest was on the ground under a clump of grass img. 1020555.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 18, 2017, 08:45:59 PM
Water violet, Hottonia palustris img. 1020543. There were several lapwings on an open area, the colours of the wings shimmer in the sun img. 1020547. A sad end to the day was the sight of a dead Hobby on a track. These beautiful acrobatic hunters catch and eat dragonflies on the wing. They are summer visitors and are fascinating to watch with their aerial displays, every bit as good as peregrines, img. 1020560.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on May 19, 2017, 01:55:04 PM
Ian,

In the U.S.A. my understanding is that the survival rate for young/juvenile raptors is somewhat low. For me it has not been clear if this is "normal" or there are other un-natural difficulties encountered.

I see what appears to be grass (Poaceae) coming into growth after the fire. In California, invasive grasses have completely altered the grassland ecological niche. Species such as Medusa Head, Elymus caput-medusae, and a host of Bromus species are among the many invasive Poaceae that continue to spread and alter our ecosystems. I have read about attempts to control Goat Grass, Aegilops sp. by hand pulling at specific sites. Poa bulbosa was, relatively recently, introduced onto our farm on the cleats of golf shoes. Now I live with this pest. From my observations fire appears to ameliorate our invasive grass issues but does not eliminate them. In addition, the beneficial effects of fire are only temporary. Are invasive grasses an issue at your "local patch"?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 19, 2017, 08:21:04 PM
Robert, there are no alien grasses on the site. The re-generation looks to be our native moorland grass, Molinia caerulea.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 25, 2017, 12:14:05 PM
It was hot and sunny yesterday. Birds seemed fewer, perhaps choosing to rest during the mid-day. Southern marsh orchids are coming into flower, some with inverted flowers img. 1020568. and img. 1020565. The tiny marsh arrowgrass is spreading due to mowing img.1020579. Grey clubrush are rare on the site in one ditch img.1020583.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 25, 2017, 12:41:00 PM
Sedges are not as popular as they could be in gardens but they are a diverse group of plants. White sedge (C. curta) is common on the site in wet ditches img. 1020580. Pendulous sedge (C. pendula) is rare on the site img. 1020581. Common yellow sedge (C. demissa) is fairly common on wet paths img. 1020584. False fox sedge is found on wet paths and fenny areas img. 1020586. Among the birds seen or heard were marsh harrier, hobby, kestrel, crane, cettis warbler, chiff chaff, willow warbler, blackcap, garden warbler, crow, black headed gull, great spotted woodpecker, coot, moorhen, mallard, teal, a stonechat family, wren, robin, shoveler, lapwing, greylag goose, pheasant, cuckoo, swift, sedge warbler, meadow pipit, linnet, chaffinch, reed bunting.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on May 25, 2017, 02:55:49 PM
Ian,

The concept of using plants in the Genus Carex as a garden ornamental is interesting. Like the UK, in California they are not a popular garden species. I have been cautiously experimenting with some of our California native Carex species in our Sacramento garden. In California a number of native Carex species are pioneer species, reclaiming disturbed sites such as road cuts, etc. Some compete quite well, even with highly aggressive and invasive species such as Sheep Sorrel, Rumex acetosella. In some situations, I have observed, given time, our native Carex species can crowd out and replace Sheep Sorrel. Based on what I have observed in the wild, I have limited my experiments to the cespitose species. I am keeping a careful eye out for aggressive seeding. So far, so good! The cespitose species I have planted are staying put. Some, such as Carex multicaulis, are quite ornamental, at least in my mind, and well worth planting in the correct setting.

If I understand correctly, invasive plant species are not a major issue at "your site"? In California they are such a problem. New noxious species seem to find there way into our ecosystems all the time. In our Sacramento garden we a remodeling the yard and hoping to reestablish an ecological balance incorporating many life forms within the frame work of human contrivance. In time, we would like to expand this concept on the El Dorado County farm.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 25, 2017, 10:18:25 PM
Robert, the most invasive aliens are Rhododendron ponticum, these have mostly been cut down using a mulching machine. There will need to be a follow-up of spraying. This is already taking place. New Zealand pigmy weed ( Crassula helmsii) is in some of the water bodies. This species does not like cold winters here and this is the only safe way to exterminate the plant. Where long term drying of the site, due to drainage for peat extraction has taken place, bracken (pteridium aquilinum) and our two native birches (B. pendula and B. pubescens) can be dominant. Impatiens glandulifera is spreading in some of the wet woodland around the edge of the site but this does not seem high on the list of priorities. The raising of the water level on the site is intended to promote growth of bog species, such as Sphagnum sp. and reduce non bog species. I like the Carex species and would grow more if I had the space. Carex paniculata is an uncommon species and grows locally. It likes to grow in ditches with water. There are also small species suitable for a rockery, such as C. digitata and C. caryophyllea.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 01, 2017, 12:13:44 PM
Another hot and sunny day with dragons and tigers (dragonflies and green tiger beetles). There were several common blue butterflies img. 1020609. Also seen were three Large Heath butterflies, a rare species in this area, img. 1020610. A drinker? moth caterpillar on cocks foot grass img. 1020597. One of the many pools on site img. 1020598.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 01, 2017, 12:36:58 PM
Another of the pools, cottongrass is now in seed img. 1020620. Marsh cinquefoil is in flower in ditches img. 1020611. Four additional royal ferns have been uncovered by the fire img. 1020604. A royal fern with spores img. 1020616. Among the birds seen or heard were, marsh harrier, hobby, jay, cuckoo, crow, pheasant, mallard, teal, greylag goose, coot, willow warbler, sedge warbler, garden warbler, chiff chaff, whitethroat, chaffinch, blackbird, goldfinch, black headed gull, lapwing, shoveler, gadwall, little grebe, wood pigeon, swift, blackcap, wren, robin, stonechat, pied wagtail, linnet, reed bunting, yellowhammer and a rabbit. In one area I counted 74 rosettes of bee orchid not yet in flower.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 07, 2017, 08:48:49 PM
Very windy but sunny today. Oval sedge (C. ovalis) img 1020623. Dog rose (R. canina) img 1020624. Yellow iris (I. pseudacorus) img 1020625. A common flower, but which one img 1020626.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 07, 2017, 08:54:19 PM
Northern marsh orchids are putting on a good display img 1020627. A male marsh harrier flew past img 1020628. The bee orchids are starting to flower img 1020631. The insects were active in sheltered areas large skipper img 1020635. A four spot chaser img 1020636.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 07, 2017, 09:09:57 PM
Hairy dragonfly img 1020637. Strangalia img 1020639. Another common flower img 1020642. Small tortoishell img 1020641. Birds seen or heard were greylag goose, mallard, teal, gadwall with young, black headed gull, redshank, lapwing, crane, coot, marsh harrier, hobby, kestrel, wood pigeon, cuckoo, swift, house martin, blue tit, chiff chaff, blackcap, willow warbler, whitethroat, wren, song thrush, chaffinch, linnet, reed bunting, crow, magpie. Also seen was a fox carrying something dark and rabbit sized. When it saw me it disappeared into woodland.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 09, 2017, 12:39:49 PM
Can anyone identify the common flowers?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on June 09, 2017, 02:26:44 PM
They look like elder & creeping thistle to me Ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 09, 2017, 07:10:29 PM
Ashley, img. 1020642 is elder.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 11, 2017, 11:31:25 AM
Any answers to img. 1020626? It is a very common flower.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on June 11, 2017, 04:19:31 PM
Any answers to img. 1020626? It is a very common flower.

Sweet Cicely, Myrrhis odorata ?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on June 11, 2017, 05:45:54 PM
Ah, then you weren't referring to the next picture with the small tortoiseshell ;)
I agree with Maggi that img 1020626 looks like an umbellifer, maybe Angelica sylvestris?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 11, 2017, 08:50:04 PM
Nope and nope.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: GordonT on June 12, 2017, 12:04:55 PM
I'm wondering if 1020626 might be Daucus carota?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 12, 2017, 12:34:34 PM
Sorry, no.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on June 12, 2017, 01:05:43 PM
hemlock, Conium maculatum?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 12, 2017, 09:25:11 PM
Not quite Maggi.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on June 13, 2017, 10:23:49 AM
I'm stuck, Ian!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 13, 2017, 01:50:07 PM
Hello Maggi, I thought a few close up photos. of common flowers might encourage people to look at our own wild flowers in more detail. We tend to ignore common flowers and concentrate on the rare or "beautiful."  Image 1020626 is Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). I may post some more close ups later.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 13, 2017, 02:12:55 PM
Tomorrow I am to take a Cecidologist round part of the local patch. I have known him for many years but did not know what this branch of natural history is called. He studies plant galls.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on June 13, 2017, 02:20:33 PM
Hello Maggi, I thought a few close up photos. of common flowers might encourage people to look at our own wild flowers in more detail. We tend to ignore common flowers and concentrate on the rare or "beautiful."  Image 1020626 is Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). I may post some more close ups later.

Well done, beat us on that one!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on June 13, 2017, 02:21:07 PM

Well done, beat us on that one!

Quote
Cecidologist
  Well, I never knew that either!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 14, 2017, 08:56:55 PM
An interesting day, hot and sunny. We did not find many galls but Toms friend, a photographer enjoyed himself taking pictures of beetles, dragonflies and butterflies. Among the flowers seen were pyramidal orchid img.1020654. Common bladderwort img. 1020663. Greater hay rattle img. 1020665. A small caterpillar on trembling grass (Briza media) img. 1020670. Among the birds were mallard, coot, black headed gull, lesser black backed gull, crow, jay, kestrel. marsh harrier, lapwing, tufted duck, pheasant, wood pigeon, 3 turtle doves (no partridge), cuckoo, chiff chaff, willow warbler, sedge warbler, reed warbler, reed bunting, whitethroat, wren, blackcap, robin, song thrush, meadow pipit, linnet, chaffinch and a roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2017, 02:53:44 PM
It was the longest day yesterday and heavy rain was forecast. We did not get any. The wildlife on the site is increasing now that summer is here. I went to look at an area that had recently been cleared of Rhodos. and birch scrub. It is too soon to tell which plants will re-colonise the area. I did flush two Peregrines that were perched on a tree though. A jay flew passed and disappeared into a thicket. Also seen were a family of stonechats close to the path. Walking back along the main track I saw a small group of fragrant orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea). A pair of marsh harriers were hunting low over the ground. Ringlet butterflies were everywhere and a few large heath and large skippers in smaller numbers. I went to look for bog bush crickets but a darkening sky threatened the rain. Moving to another area I went to count the dune helleborines but the vegetation had grown since last time and I only saw 26, (34 last count). I took a few flower photos. and include them as a quiz, name the plant. Most are not too difficult for those of you who are interested in our native plants, with a couple of "puzzlers." See how you do.   img. 1020715 is a plant often seen by roadsides and paths. img. 1020725 is a thistle but which one. img. 1020730 is seen in a variety of habitats. img. 1020735 is a common plant often found in short grass. img. 1020736 is a tiny plant often overlooked. There are many varieties.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2017, 03:05:18 PM
Image 1020757 is a bedstraw but which one. Img. 1020783 should be easy. Img. 1020787 has tiny pink flowers and grows in rough grassland. Img. 1020790 is a Reseda found on disturbed and arable land. Img. 1020792 is a plant of the Gentian family.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2017, 03:12:33 PM
Img. 1020793 is a very common plant of bare ground. If it is crushed the name describes it. Img. 1020794 is an umbellifer not to be trifled with. Img. 1020798 is a campanula. Img. 1020724 is a juvenile what. Name the butterfly img.1020734.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2017, 03:26:04 PM
Img. 1020737 is Aeshna grandis. Img. 1020791 is aptly named. Img. 1020796 is what. Also seen or heard were Mallard, coot, teal, black headed gull, chiff chaff, willow warbler, blackbird, cuckoo, sedge warbler, whitethroat, wren, reed bunting, wood pigeon, chaffinch, lapwing, crow, missel thrush, pheasant, blackcap, swift, goldfinch, moorhen, water rail, song thrush, dunnock, redshank, reed warbler, turtle dove and a cettis warbler. This bird flits about between different bushes and calls loudly. I have not yet managed to photograph it.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 05, 2017, 12:49:10 PM
Red bartsia img. 00102. Purple loosestrife img. 00088. Musk mallow img. 00110. Gatekeeper on ragwort img. 00113. Rest harrow img. 00139.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 05, 2017, 12:57:21 PM
Yellow toadflax img. 00119. A gall, Urophora carduii, on creeping thistle img. 00096. Teasel img.00142. Tufted hair grass D. caespitosa, img. 00145. Tansy img. 1020872.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 05, 2017, 01:01:37 PM
Common knapweed img. 1020873. Fleabane img. 1020871. The site is in full summer plumage just now, with so many plants it is difficult to choose which ones to feature.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 21, 2017, 04:09:11 PM
Hedge parsley, Torilis japonica. The buds are pink before they open img. 00112. A yellow fungi, common in grass, img. 00151. Wild angelica, A. sylvestris, img. 00163. Bladderwort, U. vulgaris, in a ditch img. 00166.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on August 22, 2017, 07:23:15 AM
Ian,

The "patch" certainly seems like it is in bloom now!

For how many years have you been visiting this site?

Purple loosestrife - weedy?

In California we have Torilis arvensis a obnoxious weed. When I do fire control at the farm the burs (seed pods) get all over my overalls. It takes hours to pick them off so that the overalls can be cleaned!

Thank you for sharing the photographs and I am glad that I can keep up with your reports again, at least for awhile.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 22, 2017, 07:57:12 PM
Hello Robert, I first visited the site in 1972, to look at a Bronze Age track-way. Several more visits followed with the local natural history group between 1980 and 2000. I found out that no botanical survey had been carried out of the whole site, so I started serious recording in 2010. I am still recording the plants there. July is probably the most prolific month for plants but there is something to see at any time as the site is large and varied.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on August 22, 2017, 09:57:05 PM
Ian,

It seems like you are engaged in more than a floral survey.

It seems more like a total natural history survey. Very  8)

I definitely enjoy following along as I can. I also enjoy learning about other aspects of the natural history of the site.

I will clearly have questions from time to time, so thank you for answering my questions.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 24, 2017, 03:28:55 PM
A trifid on the site,Trifid bur-marigold, Bidens tripartita, As far as I know this is a first record for the species on the site. img. 1020880. A common fungi along a peat path img. 00251. Lesser burdock, Arctium minus. The seeds have hooked bristles which adhere to animal fur and human clothing. Known to children as sticky buds, img. 00261. Gipsywort, lycopus europaeus, fairly common in the ditches and wet places, img. 00268. While looking at a plant I noticed the leaf of a nearby plant shaking. The leaf was curled over and sealed. I gentley opened the leaf and found a larvae inside. I thought the gold spots were interesting. It seemed too small for a hawk moth. The plant was a Convolvulus, img. 1020886. I re-closed the leaf with a grass stem. Birds etc. seen were mute swan, house martins, swallows, grey lag geese, crows, pied wagtails, pheasants, rooks, jays, wood pigeons, lapwings, willow warblers, buzzards, hobbys, water rail, mallards, teal, reed buntings, magpies, sparrow hawk, and blackbirds. Also seen were a female roe deer with a juvenile, a rabbit, speckled wood butterflies and large whites. The day started with a thunderstorm (sheet lightening) but ended sunny and warm. The larvae is Red admiral.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 30, 2017, 08:02:44 PM
It was a dull day without any wind. Wildlife was slow to show itself at first. One plant flowering now reminds me that summer is almost finished, Perennial sowthistle, img. 1020892. A couple of common snipe were resting among the rushes img. 00291. A robins pin-cushion growing on a rose, img. 00297. Fungi growing on a path img.00301. I saw a fox but it disappeared into the vegetation. Later it re-appeared not far in front of me on another track img. 00304.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 30, 2017, 08:10:07 PM
A sad sight on a path was a dead mole. It looked as though it had been fighting. Note the large front feet used for digging img. 00308. The heather is in full bloom but will soon be past its best img. 00311. Common St. Johns Wort  (H. perforatum) has been in flower for weeks img. 00314. A very common grass on the site is Purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea, img. 00318.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 02, 2017, 05:12:55 PM
Ian,

It seems that there has been an overall improvement of the habitat at "your site" over the years. Much more species diversity and an increases in the populations of levels of various species. Is this true?

Thank you for the report.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 03, 2017, 11:51:52 AM
Hello Robert, the habitat is a diverse one due to mans activities in removing the peat for various uses. Since peat removal ended around 2002 (this was for horticulture) the site has been slowly improving. The peat producers accepted £17.3 million to cease peat removal. There had been a very long and bitter campaign to save the site from destruction because of its internationally important wildlife. In 2014 it was announced that £2.2 million was to be granted to help conservation management. This was mainly raising the water levels and clearing invasive scrub. The site has been visited by naturalists for at least 200 years owing to the diversity and importance of the wildlife there. It is clear that the water levels have risen since plastic dams have been introduced. This will help restore a living bog in already wet areas. There are also areas of Fen and wet woodland, with a series of tracks across the site. Although a great variety of wildlife has been recorded at the site new records are being added on a regular basis. As with any habitat, there are gains and losses due to evolution and climate. The site is very important for the entomology it contains. There is a wide range of plants due to the various habitats. Because of the size of the site it is not possible to record the entire area in one year. The wildlife I see on a one day visit is just the tip of the iceberg. Being mainly a "plant spotter" I concentrate on the botany of the site. Other local naturalists record birds, butterflies etc. I hope that future "amateur" and professional naturalists will continue recording the wildlife at this extremely important site. As I said to someone recently, a one day visit to the site is like dipping a toe in the sea of natural history. Some naturalists visit the site once and because the wildlife does not parade in front of them they think the site is not worth a second visit. As a very proficient naturalist said of the site "the wildlife is there but you have to go and look for it." Perhaps this reply seems a bit over the top but I have been involved in the campaign to save the site for many years, because I know how important it is for wildlife. Best wishes, ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 04, 2017, 02:28:27 PM
Ian,

Thank you for the detailed reply. Not over the top at all!

I can understand the need for continual observations within the site. There are sites in California that I have been visiting for over 40 years. There have been tremendous changes over the years. For me the effect of fire suppression is the most marked change in some areas. The once open forest is now choked with trees. This sets off a series of changes through the ecosystem that must have many known, as well as unknown, ramifications. I see this frequently in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 08, 2017, 08:17:26 PM
A dull day at first with a good breeze. A number of galls on jointed rush were seen. This is livia juncorum img. 1020900. Another gall, this time on sowthistle, Cystiphora sonchi? img. 1020920. A gall on grey willow, may be Rabdophaga salicis, img.00319. Fox moth caterpillar? img. 1020901.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 08, 2017, 08:26:59 PM
A new record for the site? Lucerne, Medicago sativa img. 1020904. Seedhead of goats beard, Tragopogon pratensis img. 1020916. Water plantain, a plant of fens and ditches, img. 1020918. Birds seen or heard were, teal, lapwings, crows, marsh harriers, buzzards, hobby, a sedge warbler and a cettis warbler singing from the same bush, swallows, house martins, sand martins, jack snipe, wood pigeons, magpies, blackbird, reed buntings, kestrel, mallards and pheasants.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on September 08, 2017, 08:47:22 PM
... Fox moth caterpillar? img. 1020901.

Yes I think so Ian.  A couple of weeks ago I saw several on the Great Blasket island off the Dingle peninsula.  Striking beasties.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 14, 2017, 11:43:28 AM
It was a sad day yesterday. Very windy with birds keeping out of site most of the time. I walked along a track and flushed a red deer which was sat in bracken. The deer trotted off and collided with a fence. It then continued along the track I had walked along. Later, the deer was stood in the middle of the track. As I approached the deer, it started walking in circles. When I was close to the deer it panicked and rushed round and round. I could see that the deer was blind. It was well fed and nearly full grown. I saw another walker approaching and he said it was awful to see such an event. I left them both and continued to another area. Later I thought I should go back to see where the deer was. By then the other walker had been joined by someone else. The walker told me he had reported seeing a blind deer to the managers of the site. They had sent for someone to shoot the deer. I suppose one view is "it is better to put it out of its misery." As the deer was nearly full grown and appeared otherwise healthy is this the right decision I wonder. Some think that the blindness in deer at the site is genetic, owing to in-breeding. The man who shot the deer said that there is a big enough gene pool on the site to prevent this. He also said that blindness could be caused by spraying crops with glyphosate. Among the birds seen were marsh harrier, hobby, swallow, house martin, sand martin, crow, pigeon, blue tit, reed warbler, pied wagtail, teal, mallard, kestrel and grey lag geese. Img. 1020929 and 1020931 show the red deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 14, 2017, 03:39:58 PM
Ian,

It is a little unclear to me the current situation with the deer at your local patch. Are the health issues chronic? or isolated? Are there health issues with the other wildlife?

I also have a question concerning environment issues in the U.K. California has an image of being a state where environmental issues and awareness are a high priority. How is this in the U.K. ? In California environmental awareness may have become nothing more than an image or perception. Recently, I have been repeatedly confronted with "don't ask"! Sometimes in very strong terms. Those that have facts sometimes seem very reluctant to share information on general trends, especially if the data suggest that there are problems that need to be address. It is a very strange situation that has me very concerned.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 14, 2017, 07:29:42 PM
Robert, the problems  with deer are fairly isolated as far as sight is concerned. The general issue with wildlife in the UK is, it is not a priority. Our past prime minister, Thatcher, said she wanted the UK to be like america. It is. Profit before everything else. Perhaps we are progressing in the wrong direction? We should all be concerned that the people dictating policy are those who care little about people?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 15, 2017, 05:58:20 AM
Ian,

Certainly, some worrisome trends.

It is interesting that some believe the down turn in the U.S.A. started with Reagan.

My wife and I lament all that you addressed in a few sentences. We do what we can to repair the Earth, make things good and hope to leave something good for others. Maybe the whole Earth will suffer the fate of Easter Island. I think that the Christian Bible says something about a potential future being like the days of Noah, "and they took no note". There are plenty of signs that humanity is getting itself into big trouble on a global scale. It seems the sane and sensible thing to do is try to ameliorate the situation, however profit does seem to come before everything else.  :'(

Thank you for the report. I look forward to the next one.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 15, 2017, 02:45:28 PM
Robert, at least there are still some places where we can get away from people and buildings as well as noise. I find with wildlife, nothing is asked and nothing expected. To be able to enjoy meeting plants and animals is well worth the effort of going to quiet places. People who care nothing about our wildlife must have sad, empty lives. I wonder if the garden of Eden is open for those people? Those who think they are in power will only be able to improve the situation while they are here. Not afterwards. Something worth considering.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 15, 2017, 04:25:30 PM
Ian,

I forgot to list the birds I saw on my last outing to Rockbound Pass.

Clark's Nutcracker - Nucifraga columbiana
Stellar's Jay - Cyanocitta stelleri
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemaolis - I call them Oregon Juncos
Raptor - It was too far away to get an ID
Sparrow - Hiding in the chaparral. It too never appeared long enough to make an ID

I was also pleased to see a Sagebrush Lizard, Sceloporus graciosus. They look a bit like the common Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis.

An Atlantis Fritillary, Speyeria atlantis, was another good sighting.

I will be my best to post this information on my diary.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 16, 2017, 12:51:24 PM
A colourful group Robert.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 21, 2017, 11:43:31 AM
A mixed day today with the weather being neither sunny or dull. A short walk along a path and I noticed a roe deer watching me from tall grass. I knew if I reached for the camera the deer would probably run off. Instead, we looked at each other for a few seconds, which seemed longer and I spoke to the deer. The deer then turned and disappeared into the grass. Roe deer bark like a dog if alarmed, this one did not.  It seemed quiet on the site as far as birds were concerned, I think we are in the period when most summer visitors have left and the main force of winter visitors have yet to arrive. Birds seen were lapwing, teal, mallard, marsh harrier, reed bunting, kestrel, grey lag geese, jay, wren, willow warbler or chiff chaff (I can only identify these birds if they are singing), crow, linnet, house martin, pheasant and 15 pink foot geese (winter visitors). Images 00350, 00351, 00352, 00353, and 00354 show some of the many pools on site. There was a feeling that Autumn was nearly here.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 29, 2017, 03:57:02 PM
The weather forecast for yesterday was rain but it stopped after breakfast. The rest of the day was more like summer. I heard geese making a noise so went to see what it was about. They were just having a good time splashing in a pool. More geese were heard a distance away so I walked in that direction. Again, the geese were having a wash in the other pool. These two groups of geese were grey lags, plus one canada. I heard pink footed geese calling and saw a flock of about a hundred circling round from the north. These dropped down to the pool and immediately started bathing before flying off again. Two cranes started calling from a distance away. I noticed three ruff prodding the ground for food by another pool. Several stonechat were flitting about on small birch bushes. A marsh harrier was hunting low, hoping to flush her lunch. Two people were seen to be using a GPS system on a pole but they walked off before I could ask what they were doing. Many dragonflies and darters were seen, some of them mating on the wing. Fungi are more prominent now. The flowers are far fewer but some are still responding to the wet and warm weather we are having. A small patch of michaelmas daisies was seen and were providing a food source for various bees and hoverflies. As I was leaving I heard the roar of a red deer. I decided to walk towards the sound but it became apparent that the deer was in a wooded area. Not wanting to come face to face with a stag in the rutting season I retreated. Other wildlife seen were a frog and two rabbits. Birds seen were grey lag geese, teal, mallard, ruff, lapwing, marsh harrier, buzzards, pheasant, reed bunting, stonechat, wren, wood pigeon, robin, magpies, pied wagtail, pink footed geese, canada goose, crows, shoveler and three snipe.  Img. 1020936, not swan lake but goose lake. Img. 1020944, pink footed geese dropping in for a wash. Img. 1020941, Inkcap. Eddible when young but tasteless. Img. 1020934 michaelmas daisy and diner.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 29, 2017, 04:02:25 PM
Img. 00370, a ruff at the edge of one of the pools. Img. 00365 is an Aeshna juncea? Img. 1020942 shows one of the tracks across the site.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on September 29, 2017, 05:04:38 PM
As usual very interesting stuff Ian.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Norfolk and noticed on a number of sites Horse Chestnut trees had many damaged leaves- brown and crisped. Since we returned to Devon I have  noticed similar damaged trees here too, including at RHS Rosemoor. I wondered if you had noticed this at all in your part of the country?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 30, 2017, 12:54:14 PM
Hello David, I was told of the disease, bleeding canker, which affects horse chestnut, several years ago. There are two other diseases which affect conker trees. There is a site, londongardenstrust.org/features/chestnut.htm which gives some information. I have not noticed any infected trees here myself and the botanist who would know is out at present. There are no horse chestnuts on "the local patch" so I can,t check for signs of any disease. Perhaps it is spread by air-borne particles or maybe infected plants imported from other countries? Many of the plant diseases seem to travel from the south of the country northwards. There is a good case for plants to be sourced from this country in planting schemes to prevent the spread of disease. To answer your question, I have not seen any infected horse chestnut here myself but there may be some. Best wishes, ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 01, 2017, 11:21:54 AM
David, I have just spoken to a local naturalist. He is keen on all aspects of the subject. When the disease affecting the leaves of horse chestnut appeared in our area he decided to study the cause. He says the leaf problem is caused by a larvae of a micro-moth. It is a leaf miner and lives between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. It appears that a fungi also enters the leaf and between them they cause the leaf to whither. The micro-moth now has predators which are helping to control the numbers. My friend says that the moth seems to have spread from the south along main highways. Hope this is of interest.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 01, 2017, 12:21:21 PM
Ian,

Autumn-like weather has arrived to our part of California, both the high elevations and here in the Sacramento Valley. Yesterday, I saw Sandhill Cranes migrating south over our Sacramento home.

In the high country of the Sierra Nevada the weather has turned frosty at night, however there is still much activity. I saw the following birds on my Thursday outing: Clark's Nutcracker, Steller's Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, Mountain Chickadee, Common Raven, White-crowned Sparrow, Dipper, Mallard (female), Fox Sparrow, Red-shafted Flicker, and a Warbler (species unknown - a female and I did not get a long look). There were still insects active too (but fewer).

Your report was interesting - a somewhat similar situation. I will be very interested to see how things progress.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 01, 2017, 02:36:42 PM
Robert, we do not usually get extremes of weather in our area. No frosts yet and snow is now a rare event. The Autumn season seems to be about on time this year. Cottongrass is now brown and the leaves of birch are turning yellow and falling. Oak trees are still green. The daytime temperature in the greenhouse on Thursday was 80f. The Autumn rut has started with red deer roaring towards evening. I don,t know where our cranes go during winter but they are only away for about three months. I imagined California to be constant hot sunny days with people surfing all day, as in the adverts on TV? Are your ravens, mallard and dipper the same species as we have.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on October 01, 2017, 03:26:03 PM
David, I have just spoken to a local naturalist. He is keen on all aspects of the subject. When the disease affecting the leaves of horse chestnut appeared in our area he decided to study the cause. He says the leaf problem is caused by a larvae of a micro-moth. It is a leaf miner and lives between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. It appears that a fungi also enters the leaf and between them they cause the leaf to whither. The micro-moth now has predators which are helping to control the numbers. My friend says that the moth seems to have spread from the south along main highways. Hope this is of interest.

Many thanks for looking further into this Ian. It will be interesting to see if the problem re-occurs next year.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ruweiss on October 01, 2017, 08:19:07 PM
Practically all the horse chestnuts in our region are affected by these micro moths which results in brown
leaves already in summer. The communites ban the planting of these trees and ask the people to collect
the fallen leaves which get mostly burned and must not be composted. I heard, that the red flowered
horse chestnuts do not get affected by these moths but I am not quite sure about this.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on October 02, 2017, 09:21:17 AM
It seems there is much information on the Internet about this problem (one article below) which seem cast serious doubt on the future of Horse Chestnut trees.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/17/conkers-could-vanish-from-britain-within-15-years-as-horse-chest/ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/17/conkers-could-vanish-from-britain-within-15-years-as-horse-chest/)

Sorry to have 'grabbed' your diary Ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 02, 2017, 11:31:59 AM
That,s OK David, that is what it is for. I have just been to our local churchyard where we have conker trees. It is too late to see if the leaves are affected as they are falling now. There was no sign of bleeding canker. I asked the local authority who are now responsible for the churchyard maintenance, to leave a small area of grass uncut. There was a rare sedge there, and they have left it uncut. It may be too late to save the sedge as the area around the graves used to be treated with weedkiller. The LA tell me this will no longer be used. A small step forward for conservation.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 03, 2017, 04:11:09 PM
Robert, we do not usually get extremes of weather in our area. No frosts yet and snow is now a rare event. The Autumn season seems to be about on time this year. Cottongrass is now brown and the leaves of birch are turning yellow and falling. Oak trees are still green. The daytime temperature in the greenhouse on Thursday was 80f. The Autumn rut has started with red deer roaring towards evening. I don,t know where our cranes go during winter but they are only away for about three months. I imagined California to be constant hot sunny days with people surfing all day, as in the adverts on TV? Are your ravens, mallard and dipper the same species as we have.

Hi Ian,

Our Dipper is Cinclus mexicanus, Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos, and  the Common Raven - Corvus corax.

The photograph of the Dragonfly was fantastic! Very  8)

I don't know where the concept of California always being hot and sunny with young men surfing all day came from. It seems like the images from the 1950's and 1960's Disney beach movies. If so, kind of amazing such images and ideas are so long lasting and have traveled beyond the U.S.A. Needless to say, this is a fantasy, even in Southern California. Here, in the north, autumn weather is here with cool nights and warm days (what we call Indian Summer).
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2017, 09:26:08 PM
Robert, there are Ads. on TV promoting California as THE place to visit. They show young sun-tanned people engaged in all sorts of water sports. The only thing missing was the Beach-boys soundtrack. Our dipper is Cinclus cinclus. Mallard and raven are the same.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2017, 09:54:35 PM
It was a dull, cool and windy day today. When I got to the site I didn,t expect to see much due to the wind. Quite a few teal were crouching down on one of the pools as I went past. I travelled to the other end of the track I was on last week. Walking along the track I heard a disturbance in the water filled drain to the right. It was fairly poor visibility due to overhanging trees. I saw what looked like a moorhen at the far side of the drain. It was by then, quite still. I threw a pebble into the water to see if this encouraged whatever it was to move. It did not. I threw in another pebble a bit nearer. Still no reaction. I then threw in a stone a bit nearer. This time it dived under the water and disappeared. It was a moorhen and must have thought I hadn,t seen it. I was walking past a large wet woodland and could hear several red deer roaring. Not in the same place as last week. I could not see them and carried on, sheltered from the wind by the wood. The plants have mostly shut down for the winter now, although some are still in flower. I walked to the part of the track which is now flooded and returned the way I had come. The red deer activity seemed to have increased and I could see some along a grassy track in the wood. I decided to get a bit closer and as I did so, several Roe deer crossed the path in front of me. They did not see me as I was wearing a dark coat and walking slowly. By this time the red deer along the path saw me but seemed more curious as to what I was. I noticed that there was a small stag with about five females. He was not one of the roaring stags, they were well into the wood. I took several pictures and left as they decided to go deeper into the wood. I have been told that the mature red deer stags here are larger than the ones in Scotland, due to the food supply being better. I noticed that the red deer coats were turning from the summer reddish colour and into their winter grey coats. Despite the weather it was a good wildlife spotting day. Img. 00380 is the moorhen "hiding." Img. 00381 is a well used deer path into the wood. Img. 00384 shows wild carrot in seed. The seed have hooked bristles to aid their distribution. Img. 00390 is mouse-ear-hawkweed.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2017, 10:04:28 PM
Image 00391 shows signs of a fox having used the track not too long ago. Img. 00393 is Bristly oxtongue, Picris echioides, an uncommon plant in this area. Blue fleabane, Erigeron acer, still has some flowers Img. 00394. A large area of Rush, Juncus conglomeratus mostly, Img. 00395.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2017, 10:11:55 PM
There used to be a narrow gauge railway across the site for the removal of peat, it was three feet wide. Img. 00396 shows one of the "fish-plates" used for fastening the rails together. A roe deer walking across the path in the wood Img. 00406, red deer in the background. A small red deer stag and five hinds were browsing the path, img.00408.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2017, 10:21:00 PM
A gall on willow, I think this one is Eupontania pedunculi, img. 00410. Yellow-wort, Blackstonia perfoliata still in flower. The stems seem to grow through the leaves and the flowers usually open fully when it is sunny, img.00413. A minute plant is Thyme- leaved- sandwort, Arenaria serpyllifolia, img.1020592. It is a plant of bare ground, usually on sand or lime.
Birds today were, teal, kestrel, lapwing, crow, pink foot and grey lag geese, pheasants, wren, robin, wood pigeon, moorhen, pied wagtails, marsh harrier, black headed gulls, linnet, great tit, starlings and jay.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 05, 2017, 03:54:11 AM
Robert, there are Ads. on TV promoting California as THE place to visit. They show young sun-tanned people engaged in all sorts of water sports. The only thing missing was the Beach-boys soundtrack. Our dipper is Cinclus cinclus. Mallard and raven are the same.

Ian,

Nature is preparing for winter here in California. Yesterday, it snowed in the Sierra Nevada and most nights are frosty. Here at the lower elevations day length and dry condition are the major factors for dormancy. The weather is still warm for the most part. We did get a trace of rain at the farm yesterday, but conditions are still extremely dry - very normal for this time of year.

As I can I will get photographs of our birds. They are quite active now, both at the higher elevations as well as down here in the foothills and the Sacramento Valley.

Huh! Somebody is doing a great con-job concerning southern California. I guess one could surf in the winter - if there is any air to breath, or unless one likes to breath smog.  :P  The young sun tanned people IS out of a 1950's Disney movie. Those days are long gone, if they ever existed in the first place. On the serious side....  there are many unique habitats in Southern California. Many that are endangered and need to be saved - quick! I would need another lifetime to explore the mountains and deserts of southern California.

Thank you again for another fine report. There is always something to see, regardless of the weather or season.

I take it that Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a Hieracium? Native? We have three native species in El Dorado County, California.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 05, 2017, 10:59:48 AM
Robert, the mouse-ear-hawkweed used to be Hieraceum pilosella but it is now changed to Pilosella officinarum (unless it has been changed again. It would be a good rock garden plant but is likely to be invasive. Maybe a holiday to other parts would be worthwhile?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 11, 2017, 09:24:03 PM
Another dull, cool, windy day. The first bird seen was a kestrel which landed on a track and seemed to be picking up pieces of grit. After talking for a while with a bird recorder I set off to see if there were any red deer calling in other parts of the area. I noted that there seems to be less fungi on the tracks this year. I saw two roe deer along a track by a wood, a female and a juvenile. Possibly the same two I have seen here before. They saw me from a good distance and disappeared into the wood. Red deer were heard calling from the interior of the wood but not seen. I don,k think it would be a good idea to go looking for them as they can cover the ground quickly. Retracing my route I walked along another track to the North of the wood. Another red deer was heard calling from a different area, in more open scrubby ground. As I walked further a noise from the other side of the path, behind tall bracken, made me stop. A red deer hind ran from the bracken and away from me. The red deer stag continued calling and seemed quite close. I then noticed what looked like a bunch of branches moving, probably less than 100 yards away, in scrub. The"branches" stopped moving and turned to face me. They belonged to a stag and he had a hind with him. He stared at me for quite a time (it seemed like it) then took some steps towards me. I could see that his antlers were taller than me and wondered what he was going to do. He started calling again and continued looking at me. I took several pictures, after asking for permission, then continued on my way. I could hear him roaring long after I had left. Other red deer were heard roaring from different parts of the site. Good views were had of male and female marsh harriers. Many teal were sheltering from the wind along the lee of ponds along with mallard and several gadwall. As I was leaving I noticed a number of lesser black backed gulls on open water along with a couple of greater black backs. Flocks of pink- footed geese were coming in to roost on nearby fields. Other birds noted were pheasant, lapwing, wigeon, wood pigeon, robin, great tit, stonechat, goldfinch, chaffinch, bullfinch, crow, jay and grey lag goose.







Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 11, 2017, 09:30:18 PM
[attachimg=1]

img. 00424 kestrel[attachimg=2]

img 1020953

fungi on track[attachimg=3]

img 1020954 branches?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 11, 2017, 09:34:06 PM
[attachimg=1][attachimg=2]
roaring stag[attachimg=3] img 00954

img 00428
stag comes for a closer look.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tim Ingram on October 12, 2017, 08:48:49 AM
What an amazing encounter Ian. Nothing quite like that on our local patch here, but recently several people have showed pictures of Ospreys on the Isle of Sheppey, and birds of prey in general (Buzzards, Red Kites are examples) have become much more common in the sky which must say something about our 'ecology' in this heavily built up and developed north of Kent.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on October 14, 2017, 08:49:14 AM
The fungus is Honey fungus (Armillaria), Ian. There will be buried wood or roots nearby.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 14, 2017, 11:19:20 AM
Thanks Chris, I didn,t expect to see honey fungus on the site. I had it in the garden, it even grew on the shed. It also killed several shrubs including birch, plum and rowan.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 16, 2017, 08:05:40 PM
A plant which was introduced in the 19th. century is still on site. Kalmia angustifolia.[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2017, 08:54:02 PM
The wind had stopped blowing today, which started out with blue skies. It soon changed to grey but mild. The first birds seen were several meadow pipits along a track. I glanced over to a pool and saw two cranes stood not too far away. Usually they are a good way off. I expected to hear deer roaring again but all was quiet, apart from the odd aircraft. Teal were out on the ponds again and fairly close, the brightness of the morning catching their green flanks. I went to look at an area I don,t visit very often and flushed two red deer stags. Many pink footed geese were flying in and looking for suitable sites to land. Small birds were flitting about in willow bushes, among them were long tailed tits and a goldcrest. Several stonechats were seen along another path. By the time I had returned to the start it was almost tea-time and a lone red deer was heard roaring in the distance. Birds seen were meadow pipit, cranes, teal, jay, reed buntings, mallard, pink footed geese, grey lag geese, long tailed tits, great tit, wrens, robins, stonechats, crows, blackbird, blue tit, goldcrest, marsh harrier, pied wagtail, lapwings and wood pigeon.
[attachimg=1]

cranes.

Puffballs?[attachimg=2]

Another gall [attachimg=4]

Teal[attachimg=3]





Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on October 20, 2017, 09:10:06 AM
Fantastic to see cranes Ian 8) 
Here too it's been a great year for puffballs & fungi generally. 
Teal arrive on the dammed river below our garden in early autumn but rather than seeing them I usually hear the lovely whistling call during my torchlight forays to the greenhouse after work.

Senior moment: wrote teal, meant wigeon :-[
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 20, 2017, 02:54:32 PM
Hi Ian,

On another post you had a fine photograph of an Admiral butterfly. I was curious about their habits. In California male Lorquin's Admiral, Limenitis lorquini, can be observed patrolling willow patches. It is quite interesting watching them flying back and forth within a clear territory.

We also have the Mormon Metalmark, Apodemia mormo, the butterfly that will not sit still! I generally identify them by their habit, however If I am very patient I can get a good look at them. So far, I have never been able to photograph them. Maybe in cold weather?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 20, 2017, 03:12:52 PM
Hello Robert, the red admiral we have is Vanessa atalanta. I think you also have this species. With us it is a migrant from southern europe and africa. It usually arrives in spring and summer in southern england. In our area it seems to arrive later, i.e. mid summer. It feeds on a variety of wild and garden flowers. Just now they are feeding on the late ivy flowers, flying when the weather is warm. The early arrivals breed and the larvae live in a rolled up leaf for protection. I have found them in my shed in winter, hibernating but I,m not sure how common this is. The books say they do not usually return to their winter grounds. This year has been a good summer for red admirals, with fairly large numbers being recorded locally.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 20, 2017, 03:28:23 PM
Hi Ian,

Thank you for all the information. Yes, we do have Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, however I generally do not see them. I do see Lorquin's Admiral somewhat frequently throughout the season, both in the Coastal Mountains as well as in the Sierra Nevada.

Butterflies are still in flight in the Sacramento Valley, but I have not seen any in flight in the Sierra Nevada for several weeks. The weather in the high country has turned cold. Last night the first widespread autumn rain and snow event came through our area. There was 9 mm of rain at the farm last night and snow in the mountains. I will be in El Dorado National Forest today. If I get a chance I will photograph the new snow on the Crystal Range.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 24, 2017, 05:47:21 PM
Red admiral still in the garden on ivy.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 25, 2017, 01:13:34 PM
Ian,

We are having a heat wave! Yesterday's high temperature was 84 F, 28.9 C. The record for the date is 86 F, 30 C. This morning (25 October) the low temperature was 54 F, 12.2 C. The record high low is 55 F, 12.8 C, almost a record! It will continue to be hot today and maybe tomorrow.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 26, 2017, 12:49:04 PM
It was a warm day yesterday but not the temperatures reported by Robert. A dull start with not much wildlife showing at first apart from teal and black headed gulls on one of the pools. In the afternoon a breeze started and a couple of marsh harriers were seen quartering the area, hoping to flush prey. Pink footed geese were heard, then seen flying in. More fungi were seen on this visit, most of which were small. No deer were heard and it may be the end of the roaring season here. Several redwings and blackbirds were stripping a hawthorn bush of its berries in great haste. This is the first sighting of redwings this Autumn, for me. A cettis warbler was singing repeatedly from cover but as usual, it was not seen. I went to look at the area where the fire was earlier in the year. The Juncus has been replaced by Molinia, at least for the time being. A contradiction was a meadow pipit in a tree. Walking along a track I became aware of something coming towards me, flying very low. It was a sparrow hawk which veered off just before it reached me and perched low down in a tree. Unfortunately there were too many branches for a good photo. A water rail called from a deep ditch but I was unable to find it. There were several red admiral still flying and also dragonfly and darters. In a wet area I flushed three common snipe. Two cranes flew past in one area. As I was leaving a roe deer was seen near a track and ran a few yards then stood behind some heather watching me.[attachimg=1] Slime mould.

[attachimg=2] Small yellow fungi on peat, with gills.

[attachimg=3] Small red fungi on peat with gills.

[attachimg=4] Tiny fungi on peat with gills, less than 1/4"
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 26, 2017, 12:54:05 PM
[attachimg=1] Autumn colour of woody nightshade leaf.

[attachimg=2] Meadow pipit in a tree.

[attachimg=3] A view of the area which was burnt earlier in the year.

[attachimg=4] Another view of the burnt area with Molinia caerulea.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 26, 2017, 12:57:37 PM
[attachimg=1] A black faced darter, Sympetrum danae, on fungi.

[attachimg=2] Another of the many pools on site.

[attachimg=3] A roe deer plays hide and seek.

Other species seen or heard were pink footed geese, teal, black headed gulls, wren, robin, blue tit, great tit, marsh harriers, reed buntings, mallards, blackbirds, sparrow hawk, water rail, moorhen, cettis warbler, great spotted woodpecker, pied wagtail, grey lag geese, crows, long tailed tits, redwings, common snipe, meadow pipit, pheasant, crane, wood pigeon, magpie, chaffinch roe deer and a small frog.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 26, 2017, 01:09:47 PM
Ian,

In the high country of the Sierra Nevada, the warm weather has stimulated a late hatch of Midges. There were even a few Grasshoppers flying around. Generally, cold weather brings an end to insect activity, except for maybe Rockcrawlers (Grylloblattidae). The plants are dormant for the most part in the high country. The birds have not migrated to lower elevations, yet. I did see the following birds: Golden-crowned Sparrow, Mountain Chickadee, Common Raven, Clark's Nutcracker, Spotted Towhee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-crowned Sparrow, Steller's Jay.

Thank you for the report. Very interesting as usual.  8)

Still more warm weather today, however it will be a bit cooler. Maybe more rain and snow next week.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 26, 2017, 01:20:44 PM
Robert, we are not far above sea level, although we are about 50 miles from the coast. It is unusual these days for us to experience any extremes of weather. Our wildlife does have seasons although January and February are our coldest months. Dragonflies can be seen ovi-positing until after the frosts have started. In my garden, small flies can be seen flying round the ivy at any time of the year if the weather is mild. I do not get biting midges in the garden and it is rare to see them on the "local patch" at all. Mosquitoes breed in the water tubs in the garden and I get bitten more often when I am sitting in the garden with a cup of tea. Perhaps the tea should be replaced?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 26, 2017, 02:43:15 PM
Ian,

I liked the photograph of the Sympetrum Meadowhawk. They can be easy to photograph, at least for me. So far, I still do not have enough information to key our Sympetrum to species (this will change - just too busy to work on this right now). We have a number of different species in our part of California. Some are very colorful and great to watch. They all have different behaviors.

So what would you replace the tea with?  ;D Smudge?  ;)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 26, 2017, 03:50:33 PM
A single malt :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 26, 2017, 03:56:52 PM
A single malt :)

It might not be strong enough in cold weather!  ;D

but then the weather does not get that cold.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 01, 2017, 08:32:50 PM
Today was grey and misty and as my Mum would have said, the sun came out in time to set. The site is now looking as if it has closed down for the winter. Birch trees have turned yellow and the common cotton grass is brown. A roe deer was seen not far into the site, later two were seen in the same area. A marsh harrier was hunting over the heather and cotton grass. A small mixed flock of fieldfare and redwings were seen (winter visitors). While walking along a path I noticed a sparrow hawk, it flew right over where I was stood. A flock of grey lag geese were on a pool near a track. Another harrier was seen and may have been a female hen harrier but the light was poor. Two cranes flew by while I was talking to a bird watcher. A green woodpecker could be heard calling in the distance. Just before it got dark a short-eared owl was seen quartering an area. Birds seen today were, redshank, wren, fieldfare, marsh harrier, stonechat, kestrel, crow, greylag geese, blackbird, redwings, magpie, pink foot geese, linnets, mallard, lapwing, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, sparrow hawk, moorhen, goldcrest, chaffinch, robin, cranes, water rail, meadow pipit, green woodpecker, short-eared owl and lesser black back gulls.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

[attachimg=5]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 07, 2017, 02:01:50 PM
Ian,

Things have more or less closed down for the winter here in our part of California. Cold weather brings dormancy to the high elevations, dry condition and cool weather brings things to a stop in the lowers elevations. Now that the autumn/winter rains have started many plants are starting into growth again in the lower elevations regions.

There is always so much to see, even in the winter with snow and cold.

I am sure it is no different at your patch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on November 07, 2017, 05:10:26 PM
It was a warm day yesterday but not the temperatures reported by Robert. A dull start with not much wildlife showing at first apart from teal and black headed gulls on one of the pools. In the afternoon a breeze started and a couple of marsh harriers were seen quartering the area, hoping to flush prey. Pink footed geese were heard, then seen flying in. More fungi were seen on this visit, most of which were small. No deer were heard and it may be the end of the roaring season here. Several redwings and blackbirds were stripping a hawthorn bush of its berries in great haste. This is the first sighting of redwings this Autumn, for me. A cettis warbler was singing repeatedly from cover but as usual, it was not seen. I went to look at the area where the fire was earlier in the year. The Juncus has been replaced by Molinia, at least for the time being. A contradiction was a meadow pipit in a tree. Walking along a track I became aware of something coming towards me, flying very low. It was a sparrow hawk which veered off just before it reached me and perched low down in a tree. Unfortunately there were too many branches for a good photo. A water rail called from a deep ditch but I was unable to find it. There were several red admiral still flying and also dragonfly and darters. In a wet area I flushed three common snipe. Two cranes flew past in one area. As I was leaving a roe deer was seen near a track and ran a few yards then stood behind some heather watching me.

Slime mould.

Small yellow fungi on peat, with gills.

Small red fungi on peat with gills.

Tiny fungi on peat with gills, less than 1/4"

Hi Ian

I've been away for a fortnight so just catching up on some threads.

1. Not a slime mould but one of the jelly fungi: Yellow Brain Fungus or Witches Butter (Tremella mesenterica)
2. Yellow Fieldcap (Bolbitius titubans)
3. A Waxcap (Hygrocybe sp.)
4. Mycena sp.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on November 07, 2017, 05:15:41 PM

1. A black faced darter, Sympetrum danae, on fungi.

This fungus is also Yellow Fieldcap (Bolbitius titubans).

It starts life with a conical cap, bright yellow (see out of focus image in the top right) then opens out like a parasol and quickly fades. However, it retains the primrose colour of the stipe (stem) and the centre of the cap.

Nice photo.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 08, 2017, 08:28:52 PM
Thanks Chris for the IDs. Yes Robert, it is closing down for winter here also. Some Autumn scenes.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

[attachimg=5]

A beautiful day today. Bright sunshine and clear views with not enough breeze to ruffle aspen leaves. The first bird seen was a stonechat by the track. I then went to look at a dam installed earlier in the year to slow down water movement. As I walked towards the dam I flushed a roe deer and a woodcock. The dam was holding back about 18" of water. We had quite a lot of rain in the last two nights. In another area I flushed a snipe and then sat watching a kestrel hovering. A buzzard and a marsh harrier were hunting in another area. A mixed flock of tits and goldfinches were searching for insects in willow bushes near a small lake. A jay was calling in a small wood and also a great spotted woodpecker. The deer seem to have gone quiet now and are probably hiding during the day. I met two bird watchers who had been looking for adders earlier in the day, without success and were hoping to see the short eared owl. By that time it was getting towards dusk and had turned fairly cold. Birds seen today were-stonechat, woodcock, wood pigeons, buzzard, marsh harrier, crows, teal, lapwings, reed bunting, wren, kestrel, common snipe, mallard, coal tit, great tit, blue tit, goldfinch, goldcrest, robin, long tailed tit, jay, blackbird, redwing, moorhen, great spotted woodpecker, and a pair of widgeon. Also seen was a small flock of herring gulls.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 11, 2017, 12:00:45 AM
Hi Ian,

Here is an example of my art work. Don't laugh!  ;D

Does it look like Layne's Ragwort, Packera layneae?

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 11, 2017, 11:13:29 AM
Hello Robert, I looked at the Calflora site for the plant. Looking at the photo. there the leaves seem to be narrow and slightly toothed? Your drawing is much better than any of mine. Maybe there is some variation in leaf shape between plants in different areas. I see it is endemic to California.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 11, 2017, 02:40:43 PM
Ian,

I drew my picture based on a plant that I saw by the side of the road near the village of Rescue, California. Rescue is more or less at or near the base of Pine Hill; one can easily see the top of Pine Hill in the Rescue area. Pill Hill has a number of rare and endemic plant species that grow in it's vicinity. Layne's Ragwort is one of them. Wyethia reticulata, Ceanothus roderickii, Calystegia stebbinsii and Fremontodendron  decumbens are a few others, however there are more. There is extremely strong pressure from development in the area. A fairly large area is protected from development. Enforcement of the law is not very good (mostly off-road vehicles), but the rare plants are surviving.

And yes, Layne's Ragwort can have both entire of slightly toothed leaves.

I don't know that my drawings are any better, but I do make field drawings all the time. Some things are just too small for my camera to take a good photograph (i.e. the details of some lichens for example). Sometimes it is just fun to draw something.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 16, 2017, 08:20:36 PM
Today started out bright and sunny but it clouded over by lunch time. There was a stiff breeze blowing and this seemed to be keeping the birds down under cover. I went to see an area which had been an "experimental area" in the past (about the late 1970s). Vegetation had been trans-located to this site to see if it was viable to move plants to a bare area and hope they would grow there. The site is covered with hares-tail cottongrass and small birch shrubs. Due to waterlogging it did not seem safe to explore. I don,t know which species had been put on the site. While I was there I had a good view of a male hen harrier hunting low over the surrounding wetland. On a path I flushed a snipe, which called then landed about 50 yards away. It is said that common snipe call when they are flushed and then fly quite a distance before dropping down again. On the other hand it is said that jack snipe do not call when flushed but drop down again close by. This one must have been confused. Birds today were, teal, reed bunting, blackbird, marsh harrier, wren, sparrow hawk, hen harrier, pheasant, fieldfare, snipe, wood pigeon, moorhen, lapwing, long tailed tit, crow and mallard. Also seen were 7 female red deer and a young stag, which ran from trees and across the track I was on. The first image shows a pool and rainbow before the rain reached the site. The second picture shows the flooded area I went to look at. This area looks like a grass field when viewed on an aerial image.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 17, 2017, 02:23:48 PM
Ian,

I am curious, how is waterlogging unsafe? Is there quicksand? or while wading through the water there are unseen ledges with much deeper water beyond? or maybe it is just no fun getting wet on a cool, cold, damp, windy day? Clearly something I do not understand.

Regardless, it is always enjoyable to get out.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 17, 2017, 04:59:23 PM
Robert, the site is peat and although the water may not be too deep in some areas, the waterlogged peat can hold a person due to suction. Recently a tractor went on to wet (not waterlogged) peat and became stuck. Another tractor went to pull the first tractor out and that also became stuck. It took a machine to pull them out from a safe distance. It may be possible to cross wet areas wearing waders but it would be a big risk. Not something to do if you are on your own without help and a rope. Best to keep to the tracks. This means that a botanical survey will only cover a percentage of the area.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 17, 2017, 11:43:34 PM
Ian,

Thank you for the explanation. We, more or less, do not have peat conditions like you explained in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the land where my grandfather farmed near Brentwood, California is peat. During the 1930's even the caterpillar tractors could get stuck. My father told me a story where one caterpillar tractor got stuck to the top of its treads, the caterpillar that came to rescue it also got stuck. I do not remember the rest of the story, but it must have been a mess. I can understand why you want to stay out.

By the way, the peat land around Brentwood also burns. It is very difficult to extinguish.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 22, 2017, 08:12:44 PM
Today was dull and windy but mild. I went to look at an area where there are several deep ponds. Apart from a few mallard nothing else was seen here. There were two female marsh harriers quartering the area to the east of the ponds. Along a track I noticed a long tailed tits nest in a hawthorn bush. The nest was easily seen now that the leaves are off the bush. The nest seemed to be made from grass and the outside was covered in small leaves, see photo. The entrance was near the top and moss could be seen inside. A small flock of goldfinch were seen feeding on the seeds of teasel. Later I saw a sparrowhawk flying low along another track. A single roe deer was feeding on another path in the distance. On a small lake I noticed a goosander with a flock of mallard. It was starting to get dark at about 3.30 so I called it a day. Three of the deep ponds.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 22, 2017, 08:16:37 PM
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field mushroom.

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Geastrum triplex?

Also seen were, teal, black headed gull, lesser black backed gull, robin, crow, marsh harrier, wren, fieldfare, great spotted woodpecker, mallard, magpie, goldfinch, sparrow hawk, wood pigeon, reed bunting, long tailed tit, blackbird, goosander, shoveler, and a roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on November 25, 2017, 08:21:10 AM
Yes, Geastrum triplex. Common in England but increasingly scarce the further north you go.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 25, 2017, 11:30:26 AM
Thanks Chris, I wondered about the "mushroom" at the time I found it. It is on a "soil" bank under elderberry bushes. It seemed a bit late in the year for field mushrooms. They looked like mushrooms, peeled like mushrooms and smelled like mushrooms but I would not eat them. I use the old saying, when in doubt, don,t.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on November 25, 2017, 01:17:53 PM
I didn't comment on the 'field mushromm' as you didn't question-mark it, but it doesn't look right and, as you say, the habitat is wrong.
Agaricus is a large genus with similar looking fruit-bodies and need to go under the microscope for determination. Some are very unpleasant.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 29, 2017, 08:39:22 PM
Today started bright but with a cold wind. In the afternoon a spell of rain came through. The wildlife seemed to be playing hide and seek so I decided to go to an area which was in the shelter of trees. I flushed a buzzard from a bush along a track. Further on I saw a bullfinch sitting in another bush then a great spotted woodpecker. Among some trees there appeared a dark shape. Stopping to look through the binoculars I saw it was a red deer hind grazing with its back to me. I managed a photo. before it noticed me and ran off, followed by two more hinds which I hadn,t seen before then. A red deer stag was heard roaring once. I met two bird watchers who said they had found an unusual fern. Looking at their photos. I recognised the fern as common polypody. As far as I know this is the first recent record for the site and may even be a new record. We flushed a woodcock in a nearby wood and saw several willow tits. Another unusual find for this time of the year was bramble in flower in a wood. Other species seen were, teal, crow, magpie, reed bunting, bullfinch, chaffinch, starlings, buzzard, mallard, goldcrests, goldfinchs eating teasel and thistle seeds, long tailed tits, great tits, blue tits, blackbird, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker, robin, wren, redwing, fieldfare, willow tits, woodcock, pheasant, dunnock, lesser black back gulls and a roe deer.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 29, 2017, 08:51:23 PM
A clearing in a wood.

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Bramble leaves in Autumn colour.

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A goldcrest.

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bramble in flower.

Common polypody
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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 30, 2017, 03:58:14 AM
Ian,

Do you have a species name for the Polypodium fern? I am curious.

I was up on Peavine Ridge today. The only bird I saw was a Common Raven, and yes they are quite common in this area. I see them almost every time I visit, winter, summer they always seem to be around.

Most of the snow from a few days ago has already melted. More later.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 30, 2017, 11:06:05 AM
Hello Robert, the fern is Polypodium vulgare, unless there has been a name change. We have three species in the UK. P. vulgare, common polypody. P. interjectum, intermediate polypody. P. cambricum, southern polypody. There have also been hybrids between the three species recorded but P. vulgare is the most common. I have searched through records of the location and can,t find a record of the fern at the local site. I have now sent a message to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to see if they have a record of the fern here. The CEH hold many records for the country.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 30, 2017, 02:28:41 PM
Very  8)

Thank you for the information.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 06, 2017, 07:27:52 PM
Todays weather was mixed but no rain. I met the two bird watchers I saw last week and we went to look at a wet woodland. Several species of fungi were seen growing on trees, mainly willow. Birds seen were reed bunting, mallard, redwing, fieldfare, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, chaffinch, wren, robin, woodcock, blackbird, crow, marsh harrier, wood pigeon, stock dove, goosander 2 male and 5 female, shoveler, male hen harrier, stonechat, pink foot geese and a roe deer.

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The last is called dead mans fingers.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on December 10, 2017, 09:34:56 AM
Hi Ian

Nice fungal images.

#2 is almost certainly Galerina marginata although I would have liked to see the gills. It has the evocative name of Funeral Bell - not one to dine out on  :o The dark on in the centre with the white stipe is Pleurotus ostreatus Oyster Mushroom, variable in cap colour.

#3 is Phellinus igniarius Willow Bracket.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 13, 2017, 04:50:50 PM
The weather forecast for today was rain. It started out dull but dry. By early afternoon the rain came in and what birds were showing were dark shapes. The site became too gloomy so I decided to come home early. This is the first time in quite a few years that I have been rained off. Birds seen were robin, blackbird, reed bunting, crow, magpie, pheasant, chaffinch, moorhen, fieldfare, sparrowhawk and stonechat.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 13, 2017, 05:12:11 PM
Ian,

I wish we would get some rain or precipitation of some sort. Dry conditions are prevailing; we are falling farther behind average precipitation to date. The snow is melting at the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada. This is little or no snow below 6,000 feet (1,829 meters). There is no rain in sight!  :'(

Was the rain intense or was it just too gloomy to see anything well? Photography can be challenging in rainy weather. The weather has been so warm lately many insects are out. I saw a Hover fly on Peavine Ridge the other day. Many of the birds have not left the higher terrain in the Sierra Nevada. Steller's Jays are still hanging around.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 13, 2017, 07:41:30 PM
Hello Robert, maybe you will get some rain for Christmas if you put a message in your stocking to Santa.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 21, 2017, 07:10:21 PM
The shortest day today. Following several sunny and cold days, today was mild and misty. Mist was rising from many of the pools on site. I saw two birds on a pool which looked like geese. Through the binoculars I could see that they were a pair of Pintail. The mist seemed to be keeping some of the birds closer to the ground and I saw a sparrowhawk, a kestrel and a marsh harrier nearby. On a track I noticed a fox but it saw me and went into cover. Quite a few small birds were seen, some in groups but due to the mist I could not identify them. A few bullfinches were feeding in willow bushes. Birds today were, mallard, pintail, teal, crow, wren, reed bunting, robin, blue tit, willow tit, marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, kestrel, bullfinch, moorhen, pheasant, wood pigeon, blackbird, magpie and a fox.

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marsh harrier in the mist.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 28, 2017, 09:32:43 PM
Today was bright and frosty, with ice covering many of the small pools. Ducks were on larger and deeper pools with mallard and teal being present. I met three other naturalists who had seen some red deer in the distance. Altogether I counted 70. Another naturalist came along and the two of us went to look at a wet woodland. While there we flushed a male hen harrier from some birch trees as we were walking. We saw a male goosander on a large ice free pool. The light was good for taking photos. with the sun being low in the sky and it highlighted dead grass stems. Birds seen today were, crow, marsh harrier, blackbird, blue tit, long tailed tits, mallards, teal, goosander, goldcrest, chaffinch, jay, water rail, pheasant, magpie, wren, robin, grey lag geese, herring gull, male hen harrier, sparrow hawk, kestrel, moorhen, song thrush, stock dove and a grey squirrel.

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Picture 1 shows lichen and moss on a birch tree. Picture 3 is a Polytrichum moss.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 30, 2017, 11:38:02 PM
Hi Ian,

Nice wintertime scenes. What type of lichen did you find on the birch tree? A Lepraria?

I saw a fair number of birds on my outing last week to Kanaka Valley, however only two at Flemming Meadows the other day. When I get a chance I will list the birds I saw at Kanaka Valley.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 31, 2017, 12:03:49 PM
Hello Robert, Lepraria is common on birch trees on the site. It seems to be the first to colonise the trunks. I did not go so far as identifying the lichens (not my main interest, so thanks for that.) The picture shows (not very well as a close up would not provide the bigger picture) a Cladonia species growing with a moss.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Leena on December 31, 2017, 12:35:58 PM
I have looked your picture of marsh harrier in the mist many times. It is a wonderful photograph and captures the weather and feeling very well. :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 31, 2017, 02:09:04 PM
Ian,

I think I saw the Cladonia species in the photograph, squamules only. I did not see any podetia although in a few species they can be very small, at least with California species.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 31, 2017, 02:57:38 PM
Leena, we don,t get thick mists very often in this area. On the day I photographed the marsh harrier mist was rising from the many pools on site. This was keeping the birds near the ground level.
Robert, I see many species of wildlife and quite often take photos. but I rarely bother to try and identify what I have seen. Mainly plants, birds and butterflies. The site has at least 5,000 species of invertebrates recorded and is internationally recognised for its insect assemblage. Due to the mosaic of habitats on the site there is also a wide range of other wildlife species. In the last eight years I have only covered about a quarter of the site.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 31, 2017, 03:59:20 PM
Ian,

Thank you for all of the information. I am sure I have asked you in the past, but what is the name for "your patch"? I would like to see if I can find it on Google Map.

Interesting that you have covered only 1/4 of the site in eight years!  8)  I have spent my whole life-time exploring El Dorado County. There is still plenty that I have missed. I will never be bored that is for sure!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 03, 2018, 08:03:48 PM
Today was very windy. I met three naturalists on site and we decided to look at a carr woodland. They started sifting through leaf litter and found a number of pseudo-scorpions, just a few millimetres long. I had a look at mosses etc.

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Picture 100030010 shows a brown fungi on dead willow. Picture 1030018 is a fungi? also on dead willow.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 03, 2018, 08:21:03 PM
It was mild in the wood, you have to be careful not to step into a flooded ditch.

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Picture 1 shows candle snuff fungus. Picture 2 is a very small Cladonia species.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on January 04, 2018, 07:46:22 AM
Picture 1030018 is a fungi? also on dead willow.

Yes, a fungus. We group this type as resupinates which usually grow on the underside of dead wood where there is more moisture. Difficult even with a microscope.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 11, 2018, 07:35:36 PM
Today was grey and overcast. I set out to look at an area not often visited but came upon contractors removing trees along a dike on adjacent land. It was interesting to see the machine in action. At the end of a long arm was a rotating head with a clamp and a pair of large "jaws." The operator grabbed a tree with the clamp and then cut through it with the jaws. He then rotated the machine and dumped the felled tree in the field he was working from. A long way from sawing down trees. Birds seen today were, mallard, teal, crow, grey lag geese, cettis warbler, robin, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, reed bunting, redpoll, pheasant, kestrel, blackbird and jay. When leaving the site I saw a roe deer buck watching me.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 12, 2018, 01:58:44 PM
Ian,

What sort of temperatures are you encountering when you are out this time of year?

Is the weather overcast and grey with pending rain or is it stratus, more like a fog that has lifted above the ground during the day - with clear weather above the stratus layer? We get this sort of stratus in the Central Valley of California. It can linger all day during the winter. It will be sunny and warm in the Sierra Nevada foothills above the stratus layer, very cold in or below the stratus layer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 12, 2018, 04:31:51 PM
Robert, the temperatures here at the moment are at or just above freezing. The grey skies we are having are like a heavy mist. As we are just above sea level it is not possible to go to a higher elevation to see if the weather is clear higher up. Lack of wind is keeping the mist almost down to ground level and means that the washing does not dry very much on the line. I assume that the sky will be clear higher up. If the sky is clear at this time of year then the temperatures will be lower. When the sky is clear at night, car roofs are covered with frost. We used to have clearly defined weather seasons up till say, the 1970s. Now the seasons seem to blend into each other, with longer dull but milder weather in winter and wetter cooler springs which seem to last well into summer. Snow is hardly ever seen in this area at all these days. Other parts of the UK get more rain than us, with serious flooding. We often get several dull, misty days at a time with an occasional cold, sunny day in between. It is sometimes warmer at the end of February than in June (the start of our summer). The British weather is famous for being un-predictable.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 13, 2018, 05:48:26 AM
Hi Ian,

Today an inversion layer set in, a common weather event during the winter here in Northern California. There was dense fog and stratus most of the day in the Central Valley of California, while the foothills were clear with sun and warm temperatures during the day. Today the inversion layer was about 750 feet (229 meters) deep. Above this level the weather was clear and warm, while the valley was cold and shrouded in fog and stratus. This weather pattern is forecast to last for the next 3-4 days. This is quite typical. If a typical pattern develops, the inversion layer will most likely deepen, perhaps reaching 1,500 feet (457 meters). If this is the case the farm will be at the edge of the fog/stratus belt.

The weather has warmed considerably here in California since the early 1970’s. There has been a very noticeable shift in the snow levels. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s there was occasional snowfall in Sacramento, 23 feet (7 meters), during the winter. The last time it snowed in Sacramento was 1975 or 1976. I remember walking to classes while it was snowing. Since then there has been no snow in Sacramento. The situation in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is about the same. Up until 1990 there was snow every year at the Placerville farm 1,460 feet (445 meters), sometimes up to 8.5 inches (22 cm). Since then there has been only one year with 22 cm of snow, the winter of 2009-2010. Now most years have no snow at all or at best only a trace.

Temperatures have increased considerably too. From 1987 to 2016 the average annual temperature at the Placerville farm has risen from 59.0 F (15 C) to 60.5 F (15.8 C), a change of 1.5 F or 0.8 C. This might not seem significant, but it is considering the short time span. Up to 2000 or so the rise in temperature was gradual, with a dramatic spike from 2000 to the present. My brother (a climate scientist) told me that this is in line with the data gathered by Jim Hansen, the noteworthy NASA climate scientist. If anyone is interested in confirming this data they can attend the American Geophysical Union meeting held in San Francisco every December.

I recently ask two scientists about how the current spike in atmospheric CO2 levels might interact with the 1,470-year Bond cycles, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the El Nino/La Nina Oscillation. Current atmospheric CO2 levels are comparable to those last seen during the early Eocene, 50 million years ago. Global temperatures were much warmer than they are today. There was no Antarctic ice sheet or Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. As atmospheric CO2 was sequestered, partly as oil and coal deposits, the planet cooled. The Antarctic ice sheet first appeared about 35 to 40 million years ago near the end of the Eocene. The Northern Hemisphere ice sheets did not appear until the late Miocene or early Pliocene 4 to 8 million years ago. The consensus of my two friends was that atmospheric CO2 levels would be the over riding factor in determining future temperature trends. Currently we are witnessing first hand the erosion of polar sea ice and a gradual shrinking to the Antarctic ice sheet. In geologic time this is occurring extremely rapidly.

My simple weather records seem to be dovetailing with the data being compiled by the scientific community.

A rise in average annual temperatures will affect us as gardeners. Many plant species require adequate winter chilling hours for optimal performance. The most obvious is the chilling requirements needed by many fruit trees, such as apples. Apples that do not receive adequate chilling hours die. This is seen in Southern California. This same principle applies to many ornamental species too. Most likely many “alpine” species are adversely affected by a lack of winter chilling. Something to think about if the current global warming trend continues.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 13, 2018, 11:55:37 AM
Hello Robert, today is another grey day. The temperature in the greenhouse is 40F. It feels colder in the garden due to a breeze.  I remember cycling to school in the 1950s in winter. When I got to school I would be covered in white frost at the front, due to freezing fog. We hardly ever get fog here these days. I think this is due to drainage of areas that used to have ponds etc. Field ditches have been filled in, destroying a useful habitat for wildlife. This in turn causes flooding in areas that have been built on, no surprise there. This also means that there is less area to grow our food. The race for profit has destroyed thousands of years of mans evolution with his environment in the UK and probably everywhere on the planet. This in turn is affecting our climate. I wonder if we will ever get "leaders" who can see the bigger picture?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 13, 2018, 02:04:17 PM
Hi Ian,

I woke up this morning, 5:00 a.m., to fog and drizzle here at the Placerville farm. The inversion layer deepened and arrived much sooner than I expected. I'll see how persistent the fog is today. Right now the temperature is 44 F (6.7 C).

There are many birds at the feeders here at the farm. Mainly White-crowned Sparrows, Gold-crowned Sparrows and Oregon (Dark-eyed) Juncos. There are others at times such as Doves.

Before the current regime took over here in the U.S.A. my brother and other climate scientist wondered why the government payed so much for them to do their climate science research. Nobody in government seemed to be acting on their warnings and the need for immediate change. With the current regime they wonder if they will even have a job. The abuse and disregard for others by the current regime is disgusting. I keep praying that this regime does not out do what happened on 30 January 1933. The similarities are scary and other U.S. governmental leaders are foolish enough to believe that it will never happen here. Here in the U.S.A., if we do not act, we will be imposing tyranny on ourselves and perhaps the rest of the world. There is a constitutional solution. G_d help us and the rest of the planet!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 17, 2018, 09:39:27 PM
Today started out dull after a snow flurry which left less than 1/2" of snow. Later the wind was blowing quite strong and cold. I was going to look for a rare Sphagnum but decided to look in the wet woodland as this would offer some shelter from the wind. I met one of the site managers who was carrying out conservation work. We went to look for two yew trees which were in the wood but could only find one. The water level in the wood has risen and is above wellie tops in places. A woodcock was flushes as we paddled about. I noticed a yellow lichen on an oak tree and think this is Candelariella reflexa. Later as we were leaving the wood my companion found a fern growing on a large willow tree. This fern is Polypodium vulgare, only the second record for the site. The first being in late November. Looking at the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) site, there are no records for the species in our area. Also seen today were,crow, fieldfare, grey lag geese, starlings, robin, woodcock, teal, mallard, goldfinch, pheasant, marsh harrier, magpie and grey squirrel. The new screw pump, designed to keep water levels within 10cm. from the ground surface is not working. As a result, water levels in the adjacent carr woodland, are about 1 foot deep. I have been told that if the new pump cannot be fixed the old pump will be brought into use again.




Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 25, 2018, 07:55:58 PM
It was raining again yesterday so I delayed my visit till today. Mild and sunny with a light wind. The new pump is still not working, due to the batteries not being charged by the turbine. The water has risen again. A phone call resulted in me being told that the problem with the water management is being given priority. I went to look for a rare Sphagnum, not seen since 1980. It is usually brown in colour. The problem is that many of the Sphagnum on site change to brown in the winter. I think another search later in the year would be best, although the site where it was found is large. Some areas that were burnt last year have still not re-vegetated yet. A small patch of Bog Myrtle was seen which escaped the fire. It was good to see that the twigs are forming new growths, see photo. A tiny Fungi? was found on bare peat. The individual "cups" were just a few millimetres across, see photo. A general view of this part of the site shows dead cottongrass stems with heather in less wet areas. Birds seen were crow, marsh harrier, kestrel, grey lag geese, mallard, teal, moorhen, reed bunting, common snipe, blackbird, robin, pheasant. There was no sign of the bearded tits that have been seen recently. The "tiny fungi" has been identified by a Mycologist and is Byssonectria fusispora. I,m told there are about 110 records of it in Britain.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 25, 2018, 11:43:40 PM
Ian,

If I understand correctly, the bulk of the precipitation falls during the summertime. If so, then the "dry" season would be autumn (maybe winter) and this too would be the fire season? This is a situation encountered in places like Florida (subtropical) and seems extremely unusual in your part of the earth. Maybe I completely misunderstood the data sent to me.  ???

My wife and I were up at the farm today. Thunderstorms and hail were moving in, with quickly falling temperatures. It will be very cold tonight, even in Sacramento. It is good for us to finally have some winter weather. Sadly, we are still falling behind on our precipitation to date.

Next week I will have a good botanical outing. Where do I go? This is the big question. I have a lot of data to catch up on in many places.

Thank you for the report.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 26, 2018, 02:10:09 PM
Robert, you are correct about the seasons regarding rain. However, we don,t have a fire season in the UK. Even though we have less rain in our area during Autumn and Winter the ground usually stays fairly wet throughout the year.  It is wetter in the western part of the UK than the East. The site was subject to a surface fire in one area last April. It is thought this fire was started deliberately. The wild plants in the UK shut down in Autumn and winter due to the cold weather. I hope you have enough rain in your area, but not too much. I look forward to your next post.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 26, 2018, 03:53:35 PM
Ian,

In California, when there is a wild fire on peat land it can be extremely difficult to extinguish. Is this also true at "your site"?

We had some wild weather yesterday with thunderstorms, hail, and down pours under the thunderstorms. I too am looking forward to my next outing. It will be on Thursday, rain or shine.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 26, 2018, 04:37:17 PM
Robert, in past years with long hot summers, fire was a feature of the site. Once it had taken hold it could be deep seated. The local fire brigade spent a lot of time digging out the smouldering peat. The firemen involved were volunteers and not the regular firemen,  so that domestic fires etc were not affected by delayed attendance.  For the last few years we have not had long hot dry summers in our area. I think that weather comes in cycles and we are in a cooler wetter period at present. No doubt the climatologists would present figures to give another view. My theory is that if the Earth is warming then more clouds will be generated from the sea. As we have a lot of sea to our West and the prevailing wind is from the west, then the UK will have more cloud cover. This in turn will make summers cooler and wetter and Winters milder and wetter. Combined with rises in sea level it is no wonder many areas in the UK have more flooding, with more to come. I wonder why our government allow housing to be built in low lying areas. Who would want sewage to flood their house. This is already happening in the UK.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: GordonT on January 27, 2018, 01:08:03 PM
In my previous life on Canada's west coast, I've experienced the effects of bog fires. Burns Bog, is a large raised peat wetland south of Vancouver, but within the greater urban region. It has caught fire several times over the years, choking the city with smoke and soot. Vancouver may be a very wet place overall, but summers are usually very dry. Here's a link describing the last fire there

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/burns-bog-fire-highways-1.3663309 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/burns-bog-fire-highways-1.3663309)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on January 30, 2018, 01:44:06 PM
A tiny Fungi? was found on bare peat. The individual "cups" were just a few millimetres across, see photo.

Missed this Ian.

A microscope job really. Two possibilities are Byssonectria fusispora and Kotlabaea deformis, but there are others.

Nice find though. A bit more woodland here would be good.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 30, 2018, 07:31:36 PM
Thanks Chris. I suppose it is too windy for woodland over there. Perhaps native shrubs which can stand strong winds would be a start?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on January 31, 2018, 09:50:34 AM
It's not the wind Ian, but overgrazing by sheep, assisted by rabbits and far too many deer.

The machair (Atlantic side) where I live, wouldn't support too much tree growth because of the sandy substrate and more intense wind-speeds, but the eastern side would certainly support native tree growth.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 31, 2018, 09:38:42 PM
Today started out sunny and then the rain came in. After a while the rain cleared and I decided to go out. Just after I arrived on site it started to rain and sleet. I met the two naturalists I had seen a few weeks ago and joined them in a wood. They were sifting through leaf litter again, looking for small insects. They found pseudo-scorpions, rove beetles and millipedes. After a while I went to look at another part of the wood. The water levels are still rising as the new pump still does not work. Several weeks ago I mentioned this problem to the Project Manager. He is over-seeing the water level management. He "passed the buck" and nothing has been done to rectify the pump problem. I was told today that some fuel had arrived and the old diesel pump will be brought back into use. In the wood I found a small patch of my favourite moss, Thuidium tamariscinum. I also disturbed a woodcock. I saw a couple of scarlet elf cups on a rotten log.

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Millipede.

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millipede and rove beetle.

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pseudo-scorpion 3mm in length. Neobiscium carcinoides
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 31, 2018, 09:42:24 PM

[attachimg=1]

Thuidium tamariscinum

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scarlet elf cup

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Birds seen today were marsh harrier, mallard, teal, long tailed tits, blackbirds, woodcock, starlings, fieldfares, crows, robin, pheasants, shoveler and grey squirrel. Seen by the other naturalists was a tree creeper.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 07, 2018, 08:19:06 PM
Today was sunny and cold. Visibility was very good. The new pump is still not working. Water levels have risen again. Some diesel was delivered and the old pump has been brought into work again. I visited another wet woodland on site, one which I have hardly looked at. I found another Polypodium vulgare growing on an old willow. This is the third record for the site. I also flushed three woodcock while in the wood. One did not fly until I was about twenty yards away. It must have been watching me from a tree stump picking my way through the water. I could see that The Red Arrows were practising in the distance. Birds seen today were, woodcock, mallard, gadwall, teal, shoveler, stonechat, robin, grey lag geese, crow, pheasant, magpie, long tailed tit, moorhen, wren and wood pigeon.

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Trail of the lonesome pine.

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Area where scrub has been cleared and water levels are about right for re-growth of bog plants.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 08, 2018, 02:05:45 PM
Ian,

This is the first time I have noticed a pine posted on your diary. What species is it? Are they indigenous? Was it growing on higher ground? It seemed out of place, but then I know nothing about your patch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 08, 2018, 07:28:05 PM
Robert, the pine is our native Pinus sylvestris. There are only a few on the site. This one is on slightly raised ground and clear of the water. The trees in the background are native birch, a mix of B. pendula and B. pubescens. They are on the fringe of the wet woodland I was in yesterday. The tall grass in the photo. is Molinea caerulea, probably the most common species on the site.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 15, 2018, 08:27:17 PM
Yesterdays weather forecast was for wind and rain and it was accurate so I delayed my visit until today. A sunny and mild day which turned to sleet when I arrived. This soon cleared and it was a good day of sun and wind. I decided to check if the new pump was working. It was not. If no-one can fix it, it is no use. I went to look for a rare moss in the other wet wood again. There is now much water in this wood as well as the previous woodland. As a result, the landscape has changed and although I was in the right area I could not re-find the moss. It is an epiphyte growing on willow. Splashing about I disturbed 7 woodcock in various areas. It took quite a long time until I made my way back to a track. I noticed an orange lichen on willow and took a photo. It was not until I got home and enlarged the picture that I noticed there was a liverwort growing on the lichen. I think the liverwort is Metzgeria furcata. The wood contains quite a few mature and decaying willows. There are many mosses growing on the trees. Some of the willows are Salix alba, white willow. Birds seen today were, stonechat, mallard, skylark, pochard, goosander, blue tit, woodcock, crow, robin, chaffinch, pheasant, grey lag geese, moorhen, great spotted woodpecker, wood pigeon, marsh harrier, teal, shoveler, fieldfares, lapwing and magpie. Two days ago I saw a goldcrest in the garden, a rare visitor to the garden. When I arrived back this evening a song thrush was singing in the oak tree in the garden. A sign of spring.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 16, 2018, 04:57:57 AM
Ian,

The photograph with the orange lichen is striking. Despite, or maybe even encouraged by, the air pollution, the yellow to orange yellow Candelaria lichens grow thickly on the small branches of many of our trees in Sacramento. They can grow as thickly as pictured in your photograph but are not as striking.

From the second photograph it appears that the habitat is flooded because the pump is still not working?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 16, 2018, 04:24:31 PM
Hello Robert, the new archimedes screw "pump" has not worked (as far as I know) since it was tested after installation. That was in Autumn last year. There was publicity about how "green" the system was. The motor for the screw is powered by batteries which are charged by wind turbine and solar panals. I was told by the drainage board engineers that there was a problem with a circuit. It looks like the problem is beyond being fixed, at least for the fore-seeable future. The old diesel pump has been switched on and will continue to pump excess water from the site until it runs out of fuel. The idea of the water management scheme is to hold a depth of water across the site to within 10 cm. of the peat surface. This is to encourage re-growth of bog forming plant species. The new pump was installed to prevent a lake forming. There is much water backing up across the site and one wet woodland is now too dangerous to enter. There are deep drains in the wood and these are obscured by more than a foot of standing water. The second wet wood on the site (the one I visited yesterday) now has a large area of standing water, where only a corner of the wood was flooded. I think if the water stays in the woods for too long many of the trees and plants will be lost, also the invertebrates which live in the leaf litter. There seems to be no hurry from the various parties, to correct the problem with the new pump (which cost in excess of £200, 000). Here,s hoping for a dry hot summer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 17, 2018, 02:49:02 PM
Ian,

It is unfortunate to hear that the pump is not being fixed. It seems that much progress has been made restoring the habitat of this area. Sad to hear that all this progress could be thrown out the window.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 19, 2018, 03:09:20 PM
Hi Ian,

I was actually able to get a few photographs of some of our local birds.

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Pipilo maculatus. The current common name is Spotted Towhee, however I will always call them Rufous-sided Towhees.

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Zonotrichia atripilla, Golden-crowned Sparrow.

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Zonotrichia leucophrys, White-crowned Sparrow. When the weather warms the White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows will migrate to higher terrain for the summer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 20, 2018, 05:38:44 AM
Ian,

A few more of our common birds.

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Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus.

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Nuttall's Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii.

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One of our Corvidae. Aphelocoma californica, Western Scrub Jay.

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California Towhee, Melozone crissalis. I still call them Brown Towhees.

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Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura. The young ones can be approached very closely.

I did see a pair of Bald Eagles yesterday. I wish that I could have photographed them!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 20, 2018, 11:15:58 AM
You have colourful visitors Robert.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2018, 01:51:45 PM
Yesterday was another dull day with poor visibility. I went to look at an area not often visited in the centre of the site. Purple moor grass, Molinea caerulea is common on the site and stands out at this time of year. Neither of the water pumps were working (the old pump seems to have run out of fuel and the new one is not fixed yet). I have been told by the engineers that the new pump will be working next week. We shall see. Some of the paths are very wet and flooded in places. Some of the Sphagnum hummocks change colour in the winter and this can be confusing to the layman, although they are perhaps more interesting to look at. Later I met the two naturalists who are also studying the site. They had seen several Adders along a known hibernaculum. Four pairs of Goosanders were on one of the pools. Later we saw a Short Eared Owl hunting in the distance as it was getting dark.

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Molinea.

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Hares Tail |Cotton-grass in bud.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2018, 01:55:20 PM
Sphagnum winter colour.

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Overgrown and flooded path

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Goosanders on a pool

Birds today were, blackbird, buzzard, stonechat, grey lag geese, mallards, teal, shovelers, robin, moorhen, great tit, reed bunting, jack snipe, wren, crows, canada geese, lapwings, marsh harriers, kestrel, short eared owl, pheasant, wood pigeons and goosanders. Two roe deer were heard "barking." Also, a grey squirrel.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 23, 2018, 02:24:43 PM
Hi Ian,

The first and third photographs in your last posting remind me of winter agricultural scenes in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Are the grasses native? In our part of California, in most situations, where there are large expanses of open grassland, all the grasses are invasive species and the majority of the dicots are invasive. As an example, all the grasses on our Placerville farm are invasive species (except where I have purposely planted California native bunch grasses). Bromus diandrus, Ripgut Brome Grass, Avena barbata, Hordeum sp. and Poa bulbosa are the dominant species. In other local grasslands, Medusa Head, Elymus caput-medusae is dominant. I encounter Dogtail Grass, Cynosurus echinatus, throughout much of Northern California. The list of invasive dicots is legion.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 23, 2018, 04:04:53 PM
Hello Robert, yes all the grass species on the site are native. Molinea caerulea is the most prolific with Calamagrostis canescens also being widespread across the area. There are many beds of Phragmites australis (co mmunis) all across the site. Where there was a fire last year the soft rush J. effusus, has been replaced by Molinea. Bearded tits have been seen in some of the reed beds but not by me yet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 08, 2018, 12:13:08 PM
I gave last weeks visit a miss due to the weather being snow on the ground and very cold winds. Yesterday was quite pleasant, with no wind. The sun made the difference. Snow had drifted into a deep drain and remained there after the surrounding area had lost its white blanket. I met a naturalist carrying out an Adder survey. More than 20 snakes had been seen in sheltered areas. The latest saga on the new archimedes screw water management is that the small wind turbine used for charging the battery has been removed. The installation is said by the engineer, to be working next week. I decided to look for the Bearded Tits which have been recorded on the site. I did not see or hear them. A visit by another naturalist was rewarded by the calls being heard. While travelling along one of the tracks I noticed a large, dark raptor flying past. It seemed to have Jesses on its legs. Unfortunately I did not have time to identify the bird. I was told that a bird was seen at another site with Jesses. Three roe deer were seen feeding in a field. A tawny owl called from somewhere and a great spotted woodpecker was seen flying into a tall birch tree. I went to look at a large pool where Scaup had been seen. No sign of Scaup but 10 male and 4 female Goosander were there. A buzzard was seen high up and a Marsh Harrier also flew past. A curlew was calling and circling and a small flock of lapwing went by. About 30 "finches" were in a field with a few starling and fieldfare. They were too far away to identify but may have been linnets. A Widgeon whistled from among some rushes but was not seen. Returning back along a path I heard the single short song of a Cettis Warbler and waited to try to see where it was but it did not call again. It is very difficult to see this species on our site as they tend to call from dense undergrowth. Later I met another naturalist and was told that Barn and Short Eared Owl had been seen. We waited and were rewarded by sightings of both. Just as it was getting dark two Cranes flew in and landed by a pool. Birds seen were, sparrow hawk, stonechat, robin, tufted duck, grey lag geese, mallard, shoveler, crow, wood pigeon, stock doves, buzzard, marsh harrier, chaffinch, reed bunting, great spotted woodpecker, tawny owl (heard), blackbird, wren, teal, curlew, lapwing, widgeon (heard), magpie, fieldfare, starling, great tit, blue tit, common gull, moorhen, golden plover, goosanders, song thrush, cettis warbler, pheasant, jay, barn owl, short eared owl, and cranes.

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Snow still in a ditch.

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One of many reed beds.

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Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara.

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Late afternoon sun filters through the trees.

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An Elderberry with many lichens, possibly a Xanthoria species.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 09, 2018, 03:15:29 PM
Ian,

How deep was the snow and how long did it remain on the ground at the site? From the photographs it looks like it did not stay around very long.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 09, 2018, 04:41:12 PM
Robert, the snow in our area was about 4" deep. It was powdery and probably blew into the ditch. It snowed on Tuesday and by Friday the rain washed most of it away. That should be the last for this winter in our area.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 15, 2018, 08:51:35 PM
My sister visited yesterday so the visit was postponed until today. It rained most of today so I decided to look through my photos. and show some of the management work on site over the last three years.

[attachimg=1] 

The troublesome archimedes screw, designed to lift water up into a large drain.

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One of the Telemetry units which send a message to the installation to switch the Screw on when water levels are too high.

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Preparations for the installation of a tilting weir.

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The tilting weir in-situ.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 15, 2018, 09:06:42 PM
Various methods were used to slow down the rate of water leaving the site.

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Dams were installed in a variety of locations across ditches.

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Small bunds were erected in many areas to slow water run-off.

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In some areas it was possible to mow small shrubs by a tractor and mower before the ground became too wet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 15, 2018, 09:31:56 PM
Due to the large amount of Rhododendron ponticum and birch causing evapo-transpiration these species needed to be controlled. Various methods were used, starting with chain saws and chippers. This proved to be too slow and other means were used.

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Chain saws and chipper in use.

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A mulcher eats a Rhododendron thicket.

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More progress was made using this method.

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Another method was tried using a different machine.





Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 15, 2018, 09:40:34 PM
The new machines made good progress, uncovering large areas which had become overgrown with small trees.

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My next project will be to see which plant species re-colonize these areas.

The drawback with clearing Rhododendron is that re-growth needs to be treated with brushwood herbicide.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 16, 2018, 01:14:39 PM
Ian,

Yes, it will be very interesting to see what appears in the "worked over" sites over time.

It is amazing what one can do with telemetry units these days. One can get the component on the internet for very low prices now. Some are already pre-programed and there is no need to learn computer code, although this is still helpful.

"Terrible" weather here in California. No outing for me either. This is actually good news! We are getting much needed precipitation with low snow levels. I guess we will have "winter" in late February and March. It will not hurt if this weather continues into April and even May. We shall see.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 22, 2018, 08:37:34 PM
A mixed day today with sun at first then dull with a cold wind. The archimedes screw is still not working. The main track is flooded and impassable. I met another Naturalist and went with him to count adders. More than 20 were seen in sheltered areas. A group of 35 whooper swans flew in and landed on a pool. A small tortoishell was seen basking in the early sun. Several marsh harriers were hunting low down. As dusk was falling we waited to see if there was any sign of Short Eared Owls. We saw two, one was hunting quite near us but the low light level made it difficult for a good photo. A couple of Roe deer were seen. Birds were, kestrel, buzzard, marsh harriers, stonechat, reed bunting, mallard, grey lag geese, whooper swans, gadwall, shoveler, short eared owl, black headed gulls, wood pigeons, heron, pheasant, blue tit, long tailed tit, and crows. A Red Kite was seen before I arrived.

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[attachimg=2]

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 22, 2018, 08:40:49 PM
[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: GordonT on March 23, 2018, 01:20:21 AM
Is that an adder? :o
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 23, 2018, 04:07:39 PM
Yes Gordon, we saw about 24 yesterday. They are in sheltered areas under birch trees.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 29, 2018, 07:57:05 PM
Today started out warm and sunny. By mid-afternoon a cold wind started and grey clouds came over making it feel like winter again. The new pump is still not working and there seems no haste in repairing it by the drainage board engineers. Much of the site is now not reachable without waders or a boat. Coltsfoot is more prominent along the tracks that are passable. Another Naturalist recorded more than 40 adders due to the warm early sun. I had a good close view of a male hen harrier. Several marsh harriers were present along with two buzzards and a kestrel. There is so much water that the usual black headed gull colony are struggling to find nesting sites. I heard a first chiff chaff for this year and also a willow warbler. A redshank was heard but not seen. Other birds were, reed buntings, linnets, carrion crows, wren, robin, shoveler, mallards, teal, gadwall, tufted duck, grey lag geese, canada geese, kestrel, lapwings, great tit, long tailed tit, pheasant, chaffinch, water rail, and stonechat.[attachimg=1]

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A large fly which I photographed has now been identified as Tachina ursina. Perhaps I should take up Entomology.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on March 29, 2018, 08:42:43 PM
Is that hare's tail cottongrass in your last photo Ian?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 30, 2018, 04:38:48 PM
Yes Ashley.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 06, 2018, 01:44:51 PM
Yesterday was warm and sunny, for a change. The water levels are still rising due to the Archimedes screw still not working. Strange that the Archimedes Screw was invented 2,000 years ago and modern engineers cannot make them carry out the task they were invented for. Ours seems to be a White Elephant. There is so much water on the main track that frogs have laid frog-spawn along the side. Also seen were three small fish, swimming along the track. I think they may be Bullheads. Birds were many and varied. At least seven buzzards were seen and several marsh harriers. Sparrow hawk and kestrel were hunting. I saw two red deer stags along one track and further on Green Tiger Beetles were on another track. Three pairs of Goosander were on a small lake. A peacock butterfly was feeding on willow flowers which are full of pollen now. Bees were also present. Brimstone butterflies were showing for the first time this year. Several Chiff Chaff and a Willow Warbler were calling from bushes. A Bittern was heard in the distance. I noticed two swallows flying over, the first time I have seen them this year. A Water Rail was heard "squeaking" from a ditch. I saw a Short Eared Owl hunting in one area. As I was leaving I noticed Sweet Violets by the track.

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Frog spawn by the track side.

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Bullhead? on the flooded track. Below and left of the large stone.

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Flooded track.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 06, 2018, 01:59:06 PM
[attachimg=1]

A Peacock feeding on willow flowers.

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Shelduck on one of the lakes.

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Sweet violets by a track.

Birds recorded were, sparrow hawk, reed bunting, kestrel, buzzard, marsh harrier, grey lag geese, mallard, teal, linnet, stonechat, crow, wren, blackbird, shoveler, pheasant, goosander, tufted duck, chaffinch, robin, bittern, moorhen, chiff chaff, long tailed tit, great tit, wood pigeon, swallow, water rail, willow warbler, blue tit, shelduck, great spotted woodpecker, short eared owl, skylark, meadow pipit, redshank, crane, coot and gadwall.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 06, 2018, 06:41:44 PM
Ian,

I enjoyed the photograph of the Peacock butterfly.  8)

A few days ago I heard a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) in Eldorado National Forest. It is our largest North American Woodpecker. Although this species has a widespread range in North America, it is uncommon. Given the loss of habitat it may be going on the same route as the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principals).
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 11, 2018, 09:08:30 PM
Today it was misty and cold, warmer weather forecast for next week. I went to look at how the water is discharged from the main drain into the nearby river. There are two sluices which allow the water in the drain to discharge into the river when the water in the river is lower than that in the drain. I saw several swallows and a house martin in one area. A little further along the path I noticed a grey lag goose crouching down on its nest to keep a lower profile. Two willow warblers were seen and heard calling. A bittern was calling from not far away but as usual not seen. Two common snipe flew up not far from the path and a pair of stonechat were seen in a bush. Several female and one male marsh harriers were hunting low. A buzzard was also hunting and a great spotted woodpecker was seen landing on a large willow tree. As I was leaving a roe deer walked across the track. Birds today were, mallard, grey lag geese, teal, blackbird, willow warbler, bittern, shoveler, pheasant, common snipe, stonechat, lapwing, marsh harrier, swallow, house martin, reed bunting, robin, coot, moorhen, wood pigeon, meadow pipit, black headed gulls, crow, chaffinch, canada goose, buzzard, great spotted woodpecker and a roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 11, 2018, 09:14:24 PM

[attachimg=1]

Grey lag goose keeping low on its nest.

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Old teasel heads.

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Mosses and lichens on elderberry bush.

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Great spotted woodpecker.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 18, 2018, 09:43:54 PM
Today was sunny with the temperatures in the high 60s. The new pump has still not been fixed.  Will it ever be? Blackcaps are now here with a good number singing from bushes. Willow warblers are fairly common and chiff chaffs are busy feeding. On a track I saw several plants of Luzula campestris or Field Wood Rush. Another name for this tiny plant is Good Friday Grass, owing to its flowering time. A Missel Thrush was singing from a wood and a Cettis Warbler gave out a loud song just a few feet away. This small bird has a very loud voice. Two roe deer were seen, one just a short distance away in a wood edge. Butterflies seen were Large White, Brimstone and Peacock. It was good to get away from houses and people for a day. Just before I left I heard my first Cuckoo of the year. Birds recorded today were, blackbird, marsh harrier, buzzard, reed bunting, willow warbler, crane,chiff chaff, cettis warbler, grey lag geese, pheasant, blackcap, magpie, wren, black headed gulls, crow, chaffinch, missel thrush, stock dove, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, mallard, teal, gadwall, goosander, linnet, lapwing, moorhen, coot, cuckoo, water rail and swallow. A couple of diving beetles were also noted.

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Diving beetle.

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Luzula campestris.

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Roe deer.

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Buzzard in sillhouette.

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A dry wood.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on April 19, 2018, 11:53:19 AM
What kind of trees in the dry wood?

And what's the understorey there?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 19, 2018, 01:07:33 PM
Trond, mostly birch with some oak. The understory is mainly bracken. The wood contained Rhododendron, these have been cleared. I have not surveyed this wood in detail due to the dense cover of Rhododendron in the past.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on April 19, 2018, 01:57:22 PM
Ian, how 'permanent' has the rhododendron clearance been? 
Here in SW Ireland myriad seedlings appear in (& beyond) 'cleared' areas so the problem multiplies.  Herbicides would seem the only solution but can also cause more widespread damage.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 19, 2018, 08:34:04 PM
Ashley, I was told that it takes three years of spraying to kill Rhodos. Re-growth has occurred and I don,t know if there will be money available to carry on the scrub management. The management season has now ended while birds are nesting on the site. Our main problem is the failure of the Archimedes Screw that controls water levels. The experts don,t seem to know how to fix it.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 27, 2018, 03:40:17 PM
Wednesday was mild and sunny. I saw m first swift of the year and heard my first sedge warbler singing from a patch of reeds. Also seen were three cuckoos. Two male and a female adder were seen on a path. Birds seen were, chiff chaff, blackcap, willow warblers, black headed gulls nesting, mallard, teal, grey lag geese, shoveler, reed bunting, marsh harrier, buzzard, kestrel, wren, lapwing, coot, cuckoo, swallow, house martin, pheasant, swift, sedge warbler, crane, crow, robin, wood pigeon yellowhammer. Roe deer, water scorpion. I have only found one plant of deer grass on the site, making this the rarest species there. On wednesday I noticed that there were two small plants in addition.

[attachimg=1]

water scorpion.

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|Hover flies.

[attachimg=3]

Large red damsel fly.

[attachimg=4]

Male adder.

[attachimg=5]

Female adder.

When I got home I found an email informing me that the "new" archimedes screw was to be turned on the following day (Thursday). I returned on Thursday to find that the Screw was in attendance and was working. Lets hope that it is now in working order and that the water levels on site will be maintained as proposed.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 28, 2018, 05:55:59 AM
Ian,

The Adders seem very common now. Is it their mating season? In North America, some species of Rattlesnake congregate during the wintertime, then disperse in the spring. During this spring season Rattlesnakes can be seen more often. Maybe it is a similar pattern for the Adders?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 28, 2018, 11:44:08 AM
Robert, the adders are shedding their winter skin now and getting ready for mating. The young are born in September and October. The adults look for a suitable place to hibernate in late Autumn. They spend the winter underground, quite often in holes near trees. The young have a poisonous bite even when small, although it is not usually fatal for humans. The adders eat small lizards and other small animals. They usually detect the approach of humans through the ground vibrations as we walk and scurry away into cover. If they have just come out of hiding and the weather is cool it takes them some time to warm up. The male I photographed was in the middle of the path and I nearly trod on it. Sometimes they will hold their ground and hiss at you. Three times I have had to make a small detour to avoid adders which would not give way. As with most wildlife, if you treat them with respect you can get some good views without conflict.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 28, 2018, 02:49:16 PM
Ian,

Thanks for the information.  8)

My encounters with rattlesnakes is similar. Most of the time they move away quickly when humans approach. With cool weather, I often encounter them sunning themselves. Depending on the temperature they can be very sluggish. In our area, many people kill rattlesnakes when they see then. I never do this. They eat lots of rodents and are actually nice creatures to have around. The raptors will sometimes catch small rattlesnakes to eat.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 03, 2018, 08:42:30 PM
Today was sunny and warm. The new pump is not working again. The wind turbine is still on the ground instead of on its mast, charging the batteries. As I was driving to the site I noticed some cars by the side of the road. There were people with telescopes so I stopped. In the field by the road were 14 Dotterel. On the site were many song birds, including blackcap, willow warbler, reed warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat, chiff chaff and cettis warbler. An unusual visitor was a Whinchat. Hobbys were diving for prey and marsh harriers were hunting low. Several red deer were seen by a track and they ran off through the water into the wood. There were quite a few butterflies including large whites, brimstones, peacocks and a speckled wood. Birds today were, magpie, willow warbler, hobby, black headed gull, marsh harrier, whinchat, reed bunting, reed warbler, whitethroat, cuckoo, wood pigeon, crow, wren, mallard, blackbird, robin, chiffchaff, blackcap, pheasant, buzzard, grey lag geese, shoveler, cettis warbler, teal. The Dotterel were still in the field as I left.

[attachimg=1]

Dotterel

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Chaffinch

[attachimg=3]

Whitethroat

[attachimg=4]

Cigar gall on phragmites
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 03, 2018, 08:46:35 PM
Willow tit

[attachimg=1]

Four spot chaser

[attachimg=2]

The broken wind turbine waiting for someone to decide when to repair it.

[attachimg=3]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 09, 2018, 09:16:19 PM
Last week I heard then saw a bird I did not recognize. Talking to the bird recorder for the site today I described what I saw. He told me the bird I had seen was a Montagu,s Harrier. A first for me and not a common bird in the UK. Today was another hot and sunny start which then clouded over in the afternoon. I met someone who told me that there were several people at the "new" pump. They were trying to fix it again. In the end they left it running but it will still not perform as it should. I saw a roe deer as I entered the site and another one later on. There were hundreds of four spot chasers rising from the paths as I walked along. Six cranes were seen. The black headed gull colony was noisy. They have had to find another site as the preferred one is still under water. Quite a few Hobbys were hunting dragonflies. Several pairs of Tufted Duck were on a pool. Shovelers and a Shelduck were also seen. Both male and female Marsh Harriers were about. As I left I flushed a Buzzard from a ditch and it landed on some overhead wires. Many small birds were heard, including warblers of various kinds.

[attachimg=1]

Common Crane.

[attachimg=2]

Black Headed Gulls.

[attachimg=3]

Tufted Duck.

[attachimg=4]

Shoveler.



Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 09, 2018, 10:42:37 PM
Flowers are starting to put in an appearance now.

[attachimg=1]

Field Pansy, Viola arvensis.

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Field Forget-me-not, Myosotis arvensis.

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Water Boatman, found on the flooded track.

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Buzzard.


[attachimg=5]
I wondered what this was until I enlarged the photo. A cluster of catterpillars on a willow.



Birds today were, mallard, grey lag geese, blackcap, chiffchaff, marsh harrier, tufted duck, shoveler, whitethroat, cuckoo, wren, chaffinch, reed bunting, coot, black headed gull, linnet, sedge warbler, reed warbler, crane, wood pigeon, hobby, willow warbler, pheasant, kestrel, canada geese, shelduck.







Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2018, 05:52:35 PM
Yesterday was dull with a cold wind. I met two other naturalists and we went looking for caterpillars. Many Lackeys, Malacosoma neustria, were seen in clusters. They spend their early life in tent-like structures. Scarce vapourer, Orgyia recens, an uncommon species in our area was seen in small numbers. Several Yellow Tails, Euproctis similis, were seen. One Garden Tiger, Arctia caja, was found.

[attachimg=1]

Lackeys.

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Scarce vapourer.

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Yellow Tail.

[attachimg=4]

Garden Tiger.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2018, 06:05:34 PM
Also seen was a Drinker, Philudoria potatoria. Many Four Spot Chasers, Libellula quadrimaculata, were in the reeds, keeping out of the wind.

[attachimg=1]

Drinker.

[attachimg=2]

4-Spot Chaser.

Birds seen were black headed gulls, shoveler, tufted duck, mallard, teal, reed bunting, sedge warbler, marsh harrier, hobby, grey lag geese, swift, chaffinch, cuckoo, wren, blackcap, oyster catcher, roe deer and red deer.

On Saturday a party of Naturalists are visiting the site. Moth trappers are putting out Light Traps on Friday. I hope a wide range of Natural History groups will be represented.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2018, 09:08:05 PM
Today I helped a couple of Botanists record the plants in old sand quarries in the area. Many plants were seen. The least common in our area were Shepherds Cress, Teesdalia nudicaulis. Spring Vetch, Vicia lathyroides ( a very tiny flower). Henbit Dead-nettle, Lamium amplexicaule. Also seen were several Small Coppers, Lycaena phlaeas. Also a Cinnabar moth.

[attachimg=1]

Teesdalia.

[attachimg=2]

Spring Vetch.

[attachimg=3]

Henbit Dead-nettle.

[attachimg=4]

Small Copper.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 23, 2018, 10:03:45 PM
Last Saturdays visit by about 20 naturalists went well. The day was hot and sunny. A lot of recording was carried out on various aspects of natural history and some mentioned a return visit would be good later in the season. Today started out dull and cold then the sun came out, so did the mossies. I went to check a sedge, similar to one seen on Saturday. This one fitted the description in the books. Saturdays sedge has been sent to a Referee for a decision. Two roe deer were seen in different areas today. In a wet wood I noticed Yellow Flag was about to come into flower. If it were not for the mossies and the excess water I would explore this area again. The new pump is still not working but the water levels have gone down a bit, probably due to evaporation. Birds seen today were whitethroat, chiff chaff, willow warbler, garden warbler, blackbird, song thrush, pheasant, crane, wood pigeon, tufted duck, black headed gulls, mallard, shoveler, teal, grey lag geese and young, cuckoos, blackcap, linnets, pied wagtail, crow, buzzard, wren, lapwings, marsh harrier, hobby, coot, swift, and great spotted woodpecker.

[attachimg=1]

Lapwing.

[attachimg=2]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 28, 2018, 10:37:02 PM
Today I went with a local Naturalist to look at a local Fen. Due to the wet winter it was not possible to access the whole area. We did see Meadow Rue in a grassy area. We then moved to an area of acid grassland. Among the insects seen was a Cinnabar Moth. Also seen were quite a few plants of Spring Vetch (Vicia lathyroides). Yellow flag was in flower in a ditch. We then visited a pond where Variable Damselfly had been recorded in the past. The day was hot (33C at ground level) and several of the variable damsels were seen. Also seen were male and female Banded Damsels ( Agrion splendens). I have just received a message to say that the Variable Damselfly may not be that species, will have to wait and see.

[attachimg=1]

Cinnabar moth.

[attachimg=2]

Yellow Flag.

[attachimg=3]

Variable Damselfly.

[attachimg=4]

Male Banded damselfly.

[attachimg=5]

Female Banded Damselfly.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on May 29, 2018, 01:51:14 PM
Ian,

Variable Damselfly or not, great photographs.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2018, 08:46:10 PM
 The weather today was muggy, i.e., misty, hot and no wind. I met a group of people who were going to look at Transects to study the Large Heath butterfly in the coming weeks. I saw a few beds of Marsh Cinquefoil in ditches. A cettis warbler was singing from bushes for a while but as usual I could not get a view of the bird. Many small birds were heard and sometimes seen. These included Stonechat and Meadow Pipit. A Willow Tit was heard in small trees. On open water Mallard, Teal, Lapwing, Shoveler and Tufted Duck were seen. Several Cuckoos were calling in different areas. Butterflies were still not common but those seen included Speckled Wood, Small Copper and Common Blue. A caterpillar of Yellow Tail was seen on grey willow. Lackeys were on their web.  A Drinker was found on a path. Several sedges are now either flowering or in fruit. Birds were, black headed gulls, mallard, whitethroat, reed bunting, reed warbler, blackcap, garden warbler, blackbird, cettis warbler, teal, shoveler, lapwing, chaffinch, chiff chaff, cuckoo, willow tit, robin, willow warbler, crow, pheasant, wren, grey lag geese, gadwall, stonechat, yellowhammer, meadow pipit, sedge warbler, marsh harrier, hobby, buzzard, tufted duck and a grey squirrel.

[attachimg=1]

Marsh cinquefoil.

[attachimg=2]

Stonechat.

[attachimg=3]

Meadow pipit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2018, 08:50:31 PM
[attachimg=1]

Pendulous sedge, C. pendula.

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Speckled wood.

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False fox sedge, C. otrubae.

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Wood sedge, C. sylvatica.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on June 01, 2018, 03:00:46 PM
Ian,

I was working with some biologists the other day. The Sibley's App was very interesting with excellent recordings of bird songs and calls. There must be a UK - European version of something very similar. I was quite impressed as we could call in a number of difficult to observe birds such as Willow Flycatchers (we did not have a lot of time). Do you use anything like this on your outings or do you do 100% manual observations? I like the idea of manual observations and the skill it requires, however something like Sibley's can have its places, especially to review a day out in the field and check ones results. It was clearly helpful when we had limited time and needed to make the best of our limited time.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 01, 2018, 05:18:49 PM
Robert, the RSPB bird site has recordings of many of the UK species songs. I do not use aids (apart from binoculars and camera) while on site, my phone is not able to do such things. I don,t even have it switched on. Maybe it would be useful to play a cettis warbler song to see if the bird comes out into the open but I rely on luck. I don,t really go out to record other wildlife apart from the plants. Anything else is a bonus.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 07, 2018, 10:22:40 PM
Today started out dull but when the sun did come out it was very warm. I decided to look at the marsh orchids. The photos of northern marsh do not show the deep colour of the petals. Some of the southern marsh orchids have a deeper colour than usual but are still D. praetermissa. A count of the dune helleborines totalled 35. They are not in flower yet. Many small birds were seen and heard and several species of butterfly were on the wing. In the late afternoon I met a young lady who said she was looking for open water. She did not say why. I met a party of naturalists who came on site just as I was leaving and they found a dead water vole by the track. All in all a good day. A roe deer ran across the track as I was leaving the site. Birds today were grey partridge, skylark, reed bunting, black headed gulls, shoveler, gadwall, reed warbler, sedge warbler, crow, robin, mallard, coot, moorhen, willow warbler, chiff chaff, cuckoos having a choir practice, wren, marsh harrier, hobby, pheasant, jay, blackbird, yellowhammer, tawny owl, crane, tufted duck, canada geese, grey lag geese, blackcap, blue tit, swifts, house martins and sand martins. Butterflies were large skipper, common blue, speckled wood and several large heath. Animals were hare, rabbit, roe deer and dead water vole.

[attachimg=1]

Large skipper.

[attachimg=2]

Northern marsh orchids.

[attachimg=3]

Common spotted orchid.

[attachimg=4]

Woody nightshade.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 07, 2018, 10:52:45 PM
[attachimg=1]

Dog rose.

[attachimg=2]

Sothern marsh with spotted leaves.

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Southern marsh with unspotted leaves.

[attachimg=4]

Bee orchid.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 07, 2018, 10:56:47 PM
[attachimg=1]

Large heath,

[attachimg=2]

Dead water vole.

[attachimg=3]

Roe deer.

[attachimg=4]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 14, 2018, 12:27:31 PM
Yesterday started with a clear sky and then a cloud cover came over, however, it was a hot clammy sort of day. Walking along a path by open water I noticed an adult grebe with a chick, not far away. The Grebe was a black necked grebe, not a common bird in this area. Later the chick climbed on the parents back for a ride. A naturalist turned up with a telescope and we watched the birds for a few minutes when he noticed a grass snake swimming over the water. Two other naturalists were on site recording large heath butterflies in various areas. In the early evening when we were leaving, another black necked grebe was seen on an adjacent pool. The first one was still in the same area as the morning and the chick seemed to be calling from near the waters edge. More butterflies are present now with additional species being seen. I heard my first Turtle Dove of this year, although other people have recorded them for some time. I noticed an orange coloured moth and decided to try and get a photo. of it. While following the moth a roe deer buck jumped up from the grass about twenty yards away and I lost the moth. Cuckoos are still calling their usual song. I met the naturalists again later and they started sweeping the vegetation for insects. One of the insects caught was a conehead. They had found a small colourful spider which was uncommon in our area. As we were talking, a red deer joined the main track and headed away from us. Rest harrow,  Ononis repens, so named because its tough roots used to obstruct cultivation, is spreading along the main track. I noticed one orchid with red flowers. Southern marsh orchids have variable shades of pink/purple but this one was a clear red in colour. The pattern on the lower lip still resembled that of D. praetermissa and not being an orchid expert I would think that it is another variation. The camera does not record the red colour of this orchid flower, instead it is purple. This year seems to be a good one for orchid flowers in our area.

[attachimg=1]

Black necked grebe and young.

[attachimg=2]

Skullcap.

[attachimg=3]

Red flowered southern marsh orchid.

[attachimg=4]

Ringlet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 14, 2018, 12:36:26 PM
[attachimg=1]

Rest harrow.

[attachimg=2]

Pyramidal orchid.

[attachimg=3]

Tufted vetch, Vicia cracca.

[attachimg=4]

Meadow rue, Thalictrum flavum.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 14, 2018, 12:47:35 PM
[attachimg=1]

Dog daisy.

[attachimg=2]

Conehead.

[attachimg=3]

Red deer.

Seen or heard were, kestrel, buzzard, reed bunting, sedge warbler, coot, black headed gull, shoveler, gadwall, black necked grebe, hobby, pheasant, reed warbler, blackcap, song thrush, willow warbler, chaffinch, wren, turtle dove, crow, lapwing, teal, chiff chaff, cettis warbler, yellowhammer, crane, starling, little grebe, swift, marsh harrier, cuckoo, sparrow hawk, blackbird, whitethroat. Roe deer, red deer. Butterflies were, large heath, common blue, large skipper, meadow brown, ringlet, peacock and small copper.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2018, 05:15:38 PM
As the weather has improved I have decided to visit the site twice a week. The report will be combined. On Monday the weather was sunny and warm with a breeze. On Wednesday it was warm and windy. On Monday I went to look at the water situation in one of the wet woods. The water level has gone down quite a bit, probably due to lack of rain and transpiration from the trees. Walking along a rough path I flushed a woodcock, this is usually the only time I see them when they are flushed. Cuckoos are still calling their usual song. On Monday I nearly stood on an adder which was in the centre of a track. Six species of butterfly were noted on Monday including large heath, a specialist of bogs, marshes and heaths. Many large skippers are on the wing now. On Wednesday I met two naturalists who are carrying out a butterfly survey with the main target being the large heath. Set transects are followed so that the numbers are recorded along the same areas. Two long horn beetles were seen, Rutpela maculata and Leptura quadrifasciata. Two roe deer were standing by a field edge as I reached the site, only a few yards away and did not seem disturbed by my presence. On Wednesday we were walking along a track when we noticed a female red deer come out onto the path behind us. A gruesome discovery was a well decayed carcass of a male red deer in a shallow ditch. As we were leaving on Wednesday a female adder slowly crossed the track in front of us. Butterflies seen on the two days were large heath, ringlet, common blue, large skipper, meadow brown, speckled wood, large white and red admiral. Birds were, stonechat, linnet, black headed gull, kestrel, coot, crow, willow warbler, great tit, blue tit, marsh harrier, swift, chiffchaff, woodcock, song thrush, mallard, reed bunting, wood pigeon, hobby, buzzard, sedge warbler, whitethroat, blackbird, cuckoo, pheasant, wren, lapwing, crane, blackcap, water rail, teal, shoveler, robin and cettis warbler.

[attachimg=1]

Nursery web spider.

[attachimg=2]

Red deer hind
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2018, 05:24:34 PM
[attachimg=1]

Six spot burnet moth.

[attachimg=2]

An almost pure white marsh orchid (southern?)

[attachimg=3]

Carex demissa.

[attachimg=4]

Rutpela maculata
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 22, 2018, 05:28:53 PM
[attachimg=1]

A water crowfoot growing on dried mud along a path.

[attachimg=2]

Vapourer moth caterpillar.

[attachimg=3]

White foxglove and pollen bugs.

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Common bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris.

[attachimg=5]

Female adder.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on June 22, 2018, 11:50:51 PM
Ian,

A very nice set of photographs. I will have to catch up with the text. It is my busy season, but I have a great deal of curiosity about your site. Thank you for taking the time to post your diary. At some point I will have some questions regarding the time period that has elapsed since restoration started and on going changes in the habitats/environment.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on June 23, 2018, 07:24:13 AM
Hi Ian, interesting to follow you. Some plants (and animals) are well known to me, other I just know from pictures or not at all!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 28, 2018, 03:51:06 PM
Monday was perhaps the hottest day of the year so far. When I got back to the car the temperature gauge said 35C. Wednesday was hot and sunny but a breeze was blowing, the temperature gauge read 22C. On Monday a roe deer buck ran across the track as I was travelling down a track. Further down the track a roe deer hind walked across the path. I noticed two family parties of little grebe on one of the pools. Two Grasshopper Warblers were calling from different sites, my first record of them this year. Cuckoos are still calling in different areas. The heat on Monday made walking tiring. Black headed gulls have juveniles and there are plans to try and ring some of them but they are in deep water and soft mud. The water crowfoot seen last week is Ranunculus aquatilis. It is identified by the circular nectar pit on the petals. The "new" pump is still not working. There are several family parties of Stonechat on site. Grasshopper warbler was heard again on Wednesday. Roe deer were seen again on Wednesday, in different areas. Butterflies are now more common with large heath, ringlets, large skippers, speckled wood, small whites, common blues, small tortoishell and hedge browns seen. A raptor, resembling a small female marsh harrier, was seen on Wednesday but not identified. Marsh harrier, kestrel, buzzard and hobbys were all hunting. I took three flasks of drink on Wednesday and emptied them all. I went to look at Dune Helleborine but they are not in flower yet. Only three Fragrant Orchid were seen at their site but it will be another week before they are in flower. It seemed I had the site to myself on Wednesday as no-one else was seen. Although the size of the site means there could easily have been others there. The vegetation has put on much growth in the last few weeks and bracken is obstructing some of the paths. Ticks can be a problem when pushing through tall herbs. A few plants of Scarlet Pimpernel were seen on Wednesday but my camera, a Lumix, sees red as pink.

[attachimg=1]

Yellow wort, Blackstonia perfoliata.

[attachimg=2]

Common sedge, Carex nigra, a variable species.

[attachimg=3]

Coot.

[attachimg=4]

Common water crowfoot, Ranunculus aquatilis. The round nectar pit can be seen at the base of the lower petal.

[attachimg=5]

Cyperus sedge, Carex pseudocyperus.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 28, 2018, 04:03:26 PM
[attachimg=1]

The tall grass is Reed Canary Grass, Phalaris arundinacea.

[attachimg=2]

Greater hay rattle, Rhinanthus angustifolius.

[attachimg=3]

Bog Rosemary, Andromeda polifolia.

[attachimg=4]

Great fen sedge, Cladium mariscus.

[attachimg=5]

"Scarlet" Pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 28, 2018, 04:13:31 PM
[attachimg=1]

Gatekeeper, Pyronia tithonus.

[attachimg=2]

Stonechat.

[attachimg=3]

Male marsh harrier.

[attachimg=4]

Purple small-reed, Calamagrostis canescens.

[attachimg=5]

Birds seen this week were, little grebe, coot, crow, reed warbler, sedge warbler, kestrel, hobby, chiffchaff, willow warbler, grasshopper warbler, marsh harrier, blackbird, swallow, swift, wood pigeon, shoveler, lapwing, blackcap, reed bunting, chaffinch, cuckoo, buzzard, black headed gull, pheasant, lesser black back gull, stonechat, whitethroat, linnet, crane, mallard, grey lag goose, goldfinch, teal, wren, yellowhammer and meadow pipit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 05, 2018, 08:26:14 PM
This week has been very hot and dry. Some of the shallower pools have dried. The black headed gull chicks are well grown now and are swimming about on a couple of deeper pools. Some adults are still sitting on nests. Both coots and little grebes have young with them and are fishing for water weeds to feed them. Marsh harriers are hunting low over the site and the occasional Hobby is hunting dragonfly. Several times I have seen something glinting on paths and have seen dragonfly wings. Cuckoos are still calling but the heat seems to be keeping bird calls to a minimum. On Monday I accompanied a naturalist counting butterfly species and numbers. Along a grassy track a good number of insects were noted. These included large, small and essex skippers. Both dragonfly and damsels are active in the sun and heat. While photographing an Essex skipper we noticed three damsel fly mating. One was an emerald damsel but the other two were a different species. A couple of roe deer were seen and I was told by a local farmer that the roe deer rut was starting. As I was leaving on Wednesday a small fox ran onto the track.

[attachimg=1]

Young plants of royal fern.

[attachimg=2]

Vervain.

[attachimg=3]

Round leaved sundew with flowers.

[attachimg=4]

One of the dragonfly.

[attachimg=5]



Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 05, 2018, 08:33:33 PM
[attachimg=1]

Another dragonfly.

[attachimg=2]

Agrimony.

[attachimg=3]

Fragrant orchid, some of the orchids have been eaten.

[attachimg=4]

Essex skipper.

[attachimg=5]

Caterpillar of cinnabar moth on ragwort.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 05, 2018, 08:38:40 PM
[attachimg=1]

Three is a crowd.

[attachimg=2]

A hawker eating a darter.

[attachimg=3]

Dune helleborine in flower, some have already set seed.

[attachimg=4]

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 05, 2018, 08:46:40 PM
Birds seen this week were, black headed gull, coot, little grebe, marsh harrier, hobby, crow, willow warbler, sedge warbler, sparrow hawk, crane, cuckoo, grey lag geese, wren, lapwing, reed bunting, wood pigeon, moorhen, whitethroat, blackcap, chaffinch, chiffchaff, stonechat, meadow pipit, linnet, blackbird, teal, mallard, pheasant, buzzard, blue tit and jay. Butterflies were, large skipper, small skipper, Essex skipper, ringlet, meadow brown, comma, small tortoishell and peacock.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on July 06, 2018, 02:05:21 PM
Ian,

Some very nice photographs.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 23, 2018, 07:00:49 PM
After several weeks away I visited the site again yesterday. Some of the shallow pools have evaporated to leave damp peat. A couple of years ago a Sundew Plume Moth was found in a pit-fall trap. This was the first record since the late 1800s for the county. Sundew plume moths are scarce in the UK. A couple of local naturalists thought that the species probably occurred on the site continuously but had not been recorded. There are no other colonies near enough for the species to have travelled here from another site. The local naturalists decided to search for the moth where sundew grows. Sundews can be found in quite a few places across the site. I met one of the naturalists carrying out their survey yesterday and more than twenty individual moths were seen. Also found were a caterpillar and a pupa, see photos. The size of the pupa is about 5 mm. The moths are hard to photograph as they take short flights at any disturbance.

[attachimg=1]

A dried out pool.

[attachimg=2]

Sundew plume moth caterpillar.

[attachimg=3]

Pupa.

[attachimg=4]

Sundew plume moth.

Among the birds seen were great spotted woodpecker, jay, marsh harrier, hobby, reed bunting, teal, lapwing, grey lag geese and snipe.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on August 26, 2018, 02:52:12 PM
Hi Ian,

Glad to have you back.

It is very good news to hear concerning the Sundew Plume Moth!  :)   8)

Nice photographs. Congratulations! A very nice image of the adult Sundew Moth.

My wife asks, does the Sundew eat the moths?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 26, 2018, 07:49:11 PM
Hello Robert, the sundew does not affect the moth. The pupa usually attaches to the flower stem of the sundew. While looking at the moths a damselfly caught and ate one of the moths.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on August 27, 2018, 03:51:00 PM
Ian,

Thank you for the information.

While looking at the moths a damselfly caught and ate one of the moths.

 8) For me such moments are priceless.

On my last outing I took the time to count the tree rings on a large Red Fir, Abies magnifica, that was cut down. The tree was over 200 years old! Based in the tree rings, the tree must have started growing in 1780, + or -.

Doing bird counts is very important to my research. Many migratory birds are disappearing (some local species too - maybe victims of West Nile Virus, climate change, development). I have not seen a Cedar Waxwing in over 30 years! The numbers of many Warblers are down, as well as other species. I was pleased to see two Warbler species on my last outing.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 27, 2018, 08:17:55 PM
A naturalist from Cambridge came up to the site today to photograph the sundew plume moth. The day was dull with a cold wind. The two local naturalists who are studying the moth were there. We did not really expect to see the moths due to the cold weather. However, seven adults were seen and he got his photos. Also seen was a larva on a sundew leaf. The larva feed on round leaved sundew leaves and seem to avoid being trapped. Also seen was a tiny beetle, Bembidium humerale. This beetle has only been recorded in England on this site and another site close by.

[attachimg=1]

Larva of sundew plume moth on sundew leaf.

[attachimg=2]

Adult sundew plume moth, Buckleria paludum.

[attachimg=3]

Bembidium humerale.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on August 28, 2018, 12:39:38 AM
Ian,

Your last posting was very fascinating. I especially liked the tiny Bemdidium humerale beetle. There are endless details to explore. Thank you for taking the time to share this posting.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Yann on August 28, 2018, 07:40:30 AM
Ian it's been a while since i read your posts, the last 5 pages are amazing. Until when the Drosera rosettes are in good state?
Here most are now burnt, seeds pods almost mature.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 28, 2018, 11:47:03 AM
Hello Yann, the sundew rosettes here are still mostly fresh but they will be closing down for the winter in the next few weeks.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 30, 2018, 08:45:37 PM
Yesterday was a better day with a warm sun and only a breeze. I went to two different areas than that being surveyed for the sundew plume moth. In both areas I found a single moth, this expands the known area for the moth slightly. Some of the sundew flower stems are twisted and we wonder what has caused this. Also, some of the seed capsules have holes. While looking closely at sundew plants I noticed an insect moving. I think it may be Heath Assassin Bug, Coranus subapterus, see photo. Many grasshoppers were active as I walked about. A fox moth caterpillar was seen. There are usually quite a few at this time of year. Along a grassy path were plants of Greater Hay Rattle, Rhinanthus angustifolius. These are increasing in number after being sprayed a few years ago. I noticed seven snipe, along with lapwing, searching for food on an exposed piece of peat.

[attachimg=1]

Twisted stems of round leaved sundew.

[attachimg=2]

Heath Assassin Bug?

[attachimg=3]

One of the grasshoppers.

[attachimg=4]

Fox moth caterpillar?

[attachimg=5]

Greater hay rattle.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 30, 2018, 08:50:43 PM
[attachimg=1]

Snipe and lapwing.

Other birds noticed were, teal, mallard, grey lag goose, sedge warbler, marsh harriers, buzzard, crows, wood pigeons, pheasant, house martins, swallows, (swifts on monday) a small toad and a small frog.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: cohan on September 04, 2018, 07:29:52 AM
A naturalist from Cambridge came up to the site today to photograph the sundew plume moth. The day was dull with a cold wind. The two local naturalists who are studying the moth were there. We did not really expect to see the moths due to the cold weather. However, seven adults were seen and he got his photos. Also seen was a larva on a sundew leaf. The larva feed on round leaved sundew leaves and seem to avoid being trapped. Also seen was a tiny beetle, Bembidium humerale. This beetle has only been recorded in England on this site and another site close by.

Cool! Everything is food for something!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 05, 2018, 09:43:31 PM
Today was dull but warm. A bird watcher reported finding Dark Mullein, Verbascum nigrum, on site so I went to have a look. It was another new species for the site, probably introduced with stones which were used to raise the level of a track. The plant was past its best by the time I saw it, see photo. Several yellow fungi were seen on bare peat. I heard a bird calling from a birch tree, a contact call? While going down the main path a small fox ran over the path, not far away on the path was a pheasant. Further on I met one of the estate workers mowing paths and we saw two roe deer. He said he kept flushing them as he was mowing. I met up with the two local naturalists who are studying the sundew plume moth, later. We saw adult moths, larva and eggs. The only butterflies seen by me today were about a dozen speckled woods. Swallows and house martins are still here. Later the two naturalists saw a female hen harrier. Cranes were heard calling in the distance and later two flew past us. Other birds seen or heard were, teal, mallard, marsh harrier, reed bunting, jay, grey lag geese, canada goose, wood pigeons, snipe and kestrel.  Three more of the rare beetle, Bembidion humerale were seen.

[attachimg=1]

Dark mullein, Verbascum nigrum.

[attachimg=2]

Yellow fungus.

[attachimg=3]

A small bird in a tree. Juvenile stonechat?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 09, 2018, 05:54:00 AM
Ian,

New species are brought into Eldorado National Forest far too frequently. In almost all the cases they are invasive, noxious species introduced by commercial logging operations. In the present outing discussion that I am posting I will be showing how Phleum pratense, Timothy, and Dactylis glomerata, Orchard Grass, both invasive species, where introduced at a semi-remote site during logging operations during the early 1980's. The plants are persisting to this date and are most likely spreading along the riparian habitat they currently inhabit. This is not the best situation, as the adjacent meadows occupy a unique geologic formation in this area. I have already discovered some highly unusual species at this site. Our low elevation bunch grass ecosystem was completely destroyed by invasive annual grasses. Timothy and Orchard Grass have already taken over many other sites, especially roadside ditches and banks in the National Forest. I am always encountering new infestations of invasive, non native species. In my mind this is not a good situation, but in general nobody seems concerned with the habitat loss.

If I understand correctly, the introduction of Verbascum nigrum is a plus for the site?

When my wife and I get back from doing errands, my wife and I are greeted with contact calls.  ;D  LOUD Three cockatiels and a feisty canary.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 09, 2018, 01:17:24 PM
Hello Robert, the Verbascum is a new record for the site. Although a native plant in the UK it was probably introduced, along with other species, in stone used for building up a track. Many of the introduced species on the site do not usually last very long. Timothy and cocks-foot (orchard) grasses are native in the UK.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 13, 2018, 12:05:42 PM
The weather yesterday was pleasant, warm and sunny spells. I met one of the local naturaliists on site and we went looking for insects. As well as the sundew plume moths we saw some Rhododendron leaf hoppers, Graphocephala fennahi. These are thought to have been introduced from America with plants. There were a few caddis flies around and grasshoppers, as well as a bog bush cricket. Grasshoppers have short antennae and crickets have long antennae. There are still a few Agrimony in flower (Agrimonia eupatoria). The seed pods are interesting. They have hooked bristles, similar to burdock, which attach themselves to animal fur to aid distribution. We found several shield bugs including one that may be a Red Legged Shield Bug. Fungi are now more frequent. There was a study by a Leicester University student on the site into why sundews have a red colour. I think the findings were inconclusive. Where sundews are in shade the red colour is reduced or absent. Perhaps sunlight is responsible for the red colour? As we were having a drink before leaving, my companion remarked that we had not heard cranes all day. Right on cue two flew into view. Small frogs were seen in a variety of sites during the day.

[attachimg=1]

A caddis fly.

[attachimg=2]

A green grasshopper.

[attachimg=3]

Bog Bush Cricket which seems to have been attacked and lost a leg and an antennae.

[attachimg=4]

Seed pods of wild iris (Iris pseudacorus).

[attachimg=5]

Agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria,
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 13, 2018, 12:14:15 PM
[attachimg=1]

Seed pods of agrimony.

[attachimg=2]

Spiked shield bug.

[attachimg=3]

Rhododendron leaf hopper.

[attachimg=4]

A brown boletus?

[attachimg=5]

A small red spider on Rhododendron.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 13, 2018, 12:19:37 PM
[attachimg=1]

A sundew without the red colouration due to growing in the shade of heather.

[attachimg=2]

A fly-past.

[attachimg=3]

No, not a bunch of apples. Seed of bog rosemary.

Birds seen yesterday include, kestrel, hobby, sparrow hawk, canada geese, grey lag geese, teal, snipe, crow, wood pigeon, meadow pipit, reed bunting, stonechat, green woodpecker, marsh harrier, buzzard, house martins, swallows, crane, and lapwings.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 15, 2018, 06:33:12 PM
Hi Ian,

I enjoyed the photographs of all the insects.  8)

Agrimony is a bit of a weed in our garden where there is irrigation. It is not so bad and I always let a few plants grow.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 20, 2018, 12:23:14 PM
Yesterday was very windy, the tail-end of some hurricane or other, no doubt. I met one of the site managers and he showed me a single plant of Black Horehound, Ballota nigra, which had been found. Another new record for the site. He also told me of a "yellow flower" which a botanist friend of his was not able to identify. I went to the area he mentioned but did not find any sign of an unusual plant, I,ll have to get better directions the next time I see him. There were several butterfly in the lee of trees along one path. Mostly speckled wood and also a late small copper. There were many mallard and teal on a couple of large water bodies. Later I saw one of the local naturalists who are studying the sundew plume moth. Despite a search no adults were seen but they may have been keeping low down in the vegetation due to the strong wind. One larva was found on a sundew leaf. Also noticed were sundew rosettes which had small buds in their centres. I wondered if these were next years leaves? Fungi are now on the increase but they are not my sphere of interest as far as identification is concerned. Autumn colours are prominent now. Grasses have mostly lost their seeds. The naturalist I was with had found a gall on a bush which looked to be a possible hybrid willow. Some of the twigs had auricles, suggesting Eared Willow. We saw two Green Sandpiper close to the main track but too far away for a decent photo. Small frogs were encountered in different places. Birds seen were, mallard, teal, marsh harrier, reed bunting, meadow pipit, swallows, house martins, jays, wood pigeons, bullfinch, willow tit, kestrel, crow, snipe and green sandpiper.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

Shaggy Inkcap or Lawyers wig.

[attachimg=5]

A "yellow flower" mignonette.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on September 20, 2018, 01:37:28 PM
Hi Ian,

If I remember correctly from past postings, this site was highly exploited of its natural resources. When conservation efforts began it was highly degraded? It appears that nature is transforming it into something new and beautiful. Clearly it is a haven for birds, both migratory and year round residents. I frequently read something about a new record, i.e. a new species has taken up residence at the site? It sounds like a great success story. It also appears that many folks take an interest in the site and you frequently encounter botanist, naturalist, etc. at the site. Are all these folks volunteers? Whatever is going on out there it sounds very encouraging. Thank you for the reports.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 20, 2018, 02:54:13 PM
[attachimg=1]

Devils Bit Scabious is spreading along the main track.

[attachimg=2]

A late Small Copper.

[attachimg=3]

Speckled Wood.

[attachimg=4]

Black Horehound, Ballota nigra.

[attachimg=5]

Wood Small Reed, Calamagrostis epigejos.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 20, 2018, 03:21:07 PM
[attachimg=1]

Round Leaved Sundew, showing next years leaf buds?

[attachimg=2]

Gall on willow, Salix aurita, or hybrid. Possibly caused by the midge Rabdophaga salicis.

Robert, yes, the site was degraded by peat removal in the past. The site is so large that peat removal was done in stages. Firstly by hand digging. This slow process allowed areas to recover and species to re-colonise the worked areas. Mechanised peat removal turned vegetated areas into brown deserts, although this was at first on a fairly small scale. Larger areas were worked by "peat milling" in the 1980s for about 20 years. In some areas all the vegetation was removed and large scale drainage took place to allow the surface to be scraped down a few centimetres per year. Many species survived on the older areas and still do to this day. The areas that were cleared of vegetation have now been colonised by cottongrass, heather etc. and the succession of plants is continuing. It will take many years before the whole site resembles something of what it was before mans destruction. Due to the raised tracks and many drainage ditches across the site a myriad of extra habitats have been created. This in turn has provided extra habitats for colonising species of all kinds. Most of the naturalists that visit the site do so as an interest and are providing invaluable records of the flora and fauna. Also, Universities use the site for students studies and much useful information is gathered as a result. Another good reason for visiting the site is that it is a good distance from the built environment (except that governments have allowed the site to be surrounded by wind farms, creating an industrial landscape).
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Harald-Alex. on September 20, 2018, 03:43:34 PM
In this hot and  dry summer many "Hornets" are in my garden and eat many of my fruits. At the end of the sommer I saw Hornissen, who damaged Fraxinus trees by eating the bark of the tree! Has any other seen this phänomen also, I saw it first time!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Harald-Alex. on September 22, 2018, 04:26:31 PM
Butterflies have B&B in the flowers!
Our flower-meadow with the second and third flowers is visited by many butterflies and other insects.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Harald-Alex. on September 22, 2018, 04:34:28 PM
Another foto of hornets, seriosly damaging the bark of Fraxinus trees:
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ruweiss on September 22, 2018, 09:20:14 PM
Harald-Alex, it is the very first time, that I see such a damage
caused by hornets.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on September 23, 2018, 09:18:42 AM
Not been on the forum for a while; good to see some fungi.

First is Hygrocybe helobia
Second is an Inocybe (difficult genus)
Third is Lactarius deterrimus False Saffron Milkcap
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 24, 2018, 12:46:06 PM
Thanks Chris, good to hear from you again.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 26, 2018, 09:39:08 PM
Following last Thursdays heavy rain some of the shallow pools are filling up. Today was sunny and warm, after a cold spell. The Autumn colours on the foliage are here now, making the site look more mellow. A new wind turbine has been fitted to the "new" water pump and I have been told that it should now be in working order. Many mallard and teal were resting on a couple of the larger pools. Grey lag geese (about a hundred) were on another pool. Three jays were seen along one of the paths. A few butterflies were also seen including speckled wood, peacock and several whites. A great spotted woodpecker flew into a tree as I passed by. There are still a few swallows and house martins here but they will be leaving soon to their winter sites. A good view was had of a male marsh harrier quartering low down. Groups of pink footed geese are arriving from colder areas. I met one of the local naturalists who visit the site every week. A hornet landed near us as we were having a drink and we gave it an apple core to eat, which it tucked into. Two cranes were seen close to the main track. As we were leaving we flushed two roe deer from among vegetation. Birds seen today were, mallard, teal, reed bunting, grey lag geese, pheasant, crow, jay, robin, willow warbler, pink footed geese, sparrow hawk, great spotted woodpecker, marsh harrier, kestrel, blue tit, moorhen, lapwings, swallows, house martins, buzzard, long tailed tit, wood pigeon, magpie, snipe, meadow pipit, crane, gadwall and either a yellow or grey wagtail. Small frogs were also seen.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 26, 2018, 09:42:36 PM
[attachimg=1]

A Hornet.

[attachimg=2]

Autumn colours.

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

Pink footed geese.

[attachimg=5]

One of the roe deer we startled.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on September 26, 2018, 10:01:30 PM
Quote
A new wind turbine has been fitted to the "new" water pump and I have been told that it should now be in working order.

Good news - but I'm not  holding my breath until you've seen that with your own eyes , Ian!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 26, 2018, 10:07:09 PM
Too right Maggi, the only way we will know if the system works as designed is if we have lots of rain in the coming season. This is the new design turbine as a replacement for the last one which was blown down by the wind. A strange thing.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: annew on September 28, 2018, 02:23:23 PM
I keep dipping in and out of this thread, but can't find where Ian says the site is. From his description of the history it sounds like my old stomping ground near Goole (yes, I'm a Goolie) Is it Thorne / Goole Moors?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2018, 01:24:31 PM
Yesterday was dull but not cold. Many mallard and teal were on some of the pools. Also seen were five whooper swans which were up-ending for water plants. I met the two local naturalists again and we talked for a while then went our separate ways. They to see if they could locate deer. There were quite a few meadow pipits skylarks, reed buntings and linnets flying around. On one track was a red deer hind stood watching me. When it sensed I had seen it, it quickly dis-appeared into vegetation. Two jays flew along the track I was on, making their usual alarm call. Pink footed geese were arriving in small groups all day. A small group of lapwings were stood on water covered mud, which a couple of weeks ago was bare peat. I saw a single marsh harrier quartering an area, flushing ducks from the water. In a sheltered area speckled wood butterflies were active. Later I met the two naturalists again and we walked slowly looking at invertebrates. An uncommon sight was two hover-flies copulating (a strange subject for an alpine plant forum)? Dragonflies and Darters were common. At a known area for Cettis Warbler I tried imitating the call but heard nothing in reply but my companions said it did call. Before leaving we waited to see if Short Eared Owl turned up, a winter visitor, but we did not see any.





Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2018, 01:34:51 PM
[attachimg=1]

Whooper swans on one of the pools.

[attachimg=2]

A well known fungus, Fly Agaric.

[attachimg=3]

Mouse-ear hawkweed, Pilosella officinarum. The red stripe on the underside of the petals is distinctive. Like Springtime, many of the Autumn flowers are yellow. Perhaps this is to attract pollinators in dull weather?

[attachimg=4]

Water chickweed, Myosoton aquaticum.

[attachimg=5]

A pair of Hoverflies.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2018, 01:44:00 PM
[attachimg=1]

Common ragwort, Senecio jacobaea. A useful source of food for insects at this time of year.

[attachimg=2]

Fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica.

[attachimg=3]

Seed-head of wild carrot, Daucus carota.

[attachimg=4]

The seeds are covered with tiny hooked bristles, this enables the seed to cling to animal fur to aid distribution.

[attachimg=5]

Even common flowers can look attractive close up. This is red clover, Trifolium pratense.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 04, 2018, 01:45:51 PM
[attachimg=1]

Another Autumn scene.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 10, 2018, 09:45:40 PM
Todays weather was as predicted. Very warm and sunny. More like a summers day. I met the two local naturalists again. Two of us went to look at a small alder woodland. The wood is usually fairly inaccessible but the long dry spell meant we could enter without getting stuck in the mud. A good variety of mosses and lichens were seen but not knowing much about the subject we could only take photos. and wonder at the identifications. Fungi were also there, growing on mature alders and fallen trunks. A siskin was heard calling among the alders.Small coppers, a speckled wood and a peacock butterfly were seen on one of the tracks. In the afternoon the three of us spent some time bird watching then looking for invertebrates along the main track. Pink footed geese were again arriving in good numbers. Marsh harriers and buzzards were also seen. Several snipe rose from the edge of one of the pools. By late afternoon an influx of ladybirds were seen, perching on any object which took their fancy, including us. As we were leaving the site we noticed a red deer stag grazing at the edge of a dried out pool. One of us received a message from a local farmer and keen naturalist, to say that he had caught a Merveille du Jour moth in his moth trap the night before. He left it for us to see before releasing it. A rather spectacular and not so common species, see photo. Birds seen today were, black headed gull, teal, snipe, reed bunting, stonechat, crow, wood pigeon, buzzard, siskin, robin, pink foot geese, crane, kestrel, marsh harrier, skylark, wren, blue tit and pied wagtail.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 10, 2018, 09:50:25 PM
[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4][
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 10, 2018, 09:55:22 PM
[attachimg=1]

A wolf spider.

[attachimg=2]

Crab spider.

[attachimg=3]

Fruit of bittersweet, Solanum dulcamara.

[attachimg=4]

Various lichens on alder.

[attachimg=5]

Common frog.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 10, 2018, 10:01:01 PM
A variety of fungi on alders.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

A hairy caterpillar on nettle.

[attachimg=5]

One of the many ladybirds, possibly a harlequin?

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 10, 2018, 10:06:13 PM
[attachimg=1]

A species of shield bug known as a Bishops Mitre.

[attachimg=2]

A growth on an alder.

[attachimg=3]

Merveille du Jour, a very colourful moth.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Harald-Alex. on October 10, 2018, 10:21:37 PM
Harald-Alex, it is the very first time, that I see such a damage
caused by hornets.
Hallo Ruweiss, this damage of the hornets I also saw first time, the hornets now have gone but the damage in the Fraxinus excelsior is seriosly, that the top of the tree will be die down, we will see next year! End august I myself I have been attaced by a hornet in my feet so hard, that I got a analeptic shoc, was brought in the clinic and got a antiserum. Now I must look more for hornets and wesps!
Greetings Harald
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 11, 2018, 04:52:25 AM
Ian,

Once again some fantastic photographs and interesting specimens!  8)

The lichens are very interesting, very similar in appearance to two of our very common California species, the foliose Flavopunctelia sp. and the fruticose Evernia prunastri. Undoubtedly, they are something quite different, but they are very interesting to see.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 13, 2018, 04:46:55 PM
Hello Robert, Evernia prunastri is a fairly common lichen here but I hardly ever bother to identify lichens. Another photo I took this week is of a Flavopunctelia? Possibly F. flaventior, on Alder.

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I think the name has been changed?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ruweiss on October 13, 2018, 08:14:53 PM
Hallo Ruweiss, this damage of the hornets I also saw first time, the hornets now have gone but the damage in the Fraxinus excelsior is seriosly, that the top of the tree will be die down, we will see next year! End august I myself I have been attaced by a hornet in my feet so hard, that I got a analeptic shoc, was brought in the clinic and got a antiserum. Now I must look more for hornets and wesps!
Greetings Harald
Harald, I am sorry for the horror attac by the hornets, it must have been very painful for you. Some years ago we had a population
in our garden, the insects were peaceful, but we took care not to disturb them. Remember - you must stay in good health to
organize your big snowdrop event next year.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 13, 2018, 09:17:28 PM
Robert, I sent the Foliose Lichen photo. to the British Lichen Society. It was identified as Punctelia jeckeri. Apparently it has come into the area due to less polluted air.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 15, 2018, 05:17:46 AM
Robert, I sent the Foliose Lichen photo. to the British Lichen Society. It was identified as Punctelia jeckeri. Apparently it has come into the area due to less polluted air.

Ian,

This is a great success story!  8)

In Sacramento, Candelaria and Xanthomendoza species are extremely common. They thrive on the Nitrogen oxide compounds in the air (air pollution). At the Placerville farm, there are many more lichen species, including Evernia prunastri. It appears this species is wide spread. ? Punctellia jeckeri can be found in California too. It is amazing how the lichen get around!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 15, 2018, 11:50:17 AM
Robert, perhaps spores from Lichens and Fungi get into the jet-stream and arrive here from North America?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 15, 2018, 05:57:27 PM
Robert, perhaps spores from Lichens and Fungi get into the jet-stream and arrive here from North America?

Ian,

Aerosols in the form of dust, smoke, volcanic ash, air pollution, etc. certainly get around. I see no reason why lichen spores could not behave like an aerosol and end up almost anywhere on the planet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2018, 12:32:10 PM
Yesterdays visit was in calm sunny weather. I met one of the local naturalists and later we met three other local naturalists. The first birds seen were eleven whooper swans flying low. Marsh harriers and buzzards were hunting, harriers low, hoping to flush birds. The buzzards were circling higher up. A not so common sight these days on the site were flocks of starlings. We decided to look for a spurrey which had been seen a few days earlier but could not re-locate it. A very small plant, it is difficult to locate when not in flower. We found a spider on a piece of equipment set up last week to monitor air pollution. The spider was identified by my companion as Lariniodes cornutus. Flocks of pink footed geese are still arriving. Also seen were Fieldfares and Redwings. Both come to the UK to avoid the colder winters in Northern areas. Water Rail were heard calling in two areas. Small mixed flocks of birds were active in the birch trees. Three species of tits were seen together with Redpoll. We went to look for another plant which had been found by our absent collegue last week (he is on one of the warmer Islands off spain, bird watching). The plant was found and identified as Marsh Yellow-cress, Rorippa palustris. We stayed until it started to get dark in the hope of seeing Short-eared Owl but no luck.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2018, 01:51:35 PM
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A fungus of the Puffball family.

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Tiger Moth caterpillar?

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A deer wallow.

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Flowerhead of Perennial Sow-thistle, Sonchus arvensis.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2018, 01:55:11 PM
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Lariniodes cornutus.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2018, 02:03:19 PM
Birds seen were, mallard, teal, marsh harrier, buzzard, starling, linnet, reed bunting, water rail, magpie, pink footed geese, grey lag geese, blue tit, willow tit, great tit, wood pigeon, fieldfare, redwing, chaffinch, long tailed tit, crow, jackdaw, cettis warbler (at least three), redpoll, crane, snipe, wren, robin, blackbird, shoveler, bullfinch, stonechat, greater black backed gull, lapwing, goldfinch, whooper swan, pheasant, butterflies seen were small copper and speckled wood. Red deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 18, 2018, 02:43:01 PM
Ian,

From what I observe in the first photograph, cold weather has not arrived yet? It appears that the deciduous trees in the distance still have green leaves?

Once again some excellent close-up photographs.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2018, 07:36:26 PM
Robert, we have only had one light frost so far. The leaves are starting to change colour but many are still green. Our area is only about twenty feet above sea level and is fairly sheltered from weather extremes. Today was a warm sunny one with temperatures about 50F.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 25, 2018, 12:20:38 PM
Yesterday was sunny with a stiff breeze. The wind turned cold in late afternoon. I went to look at one of the woods which were flooded after the winter weather. It is now mostly clear of water. The water seems to have drained away during the summer, without the help of the new pump, which has not been working. A drain in our village, which has always had running water, has dried. Upon investigation by a local councillor it was discovered that a soil dam has been placed in the drain. No-one seems to know why. I wonder where the water is going now. Autumn colours are spreading on the site and there is a distinct feeling that winter will soon be with us. Many rooks, crows and jackdaws were in surrounding fields, along with about three hundred pink-footed geese. Jays were heard calling in the wood. I looked for a rare moss which had been found on a willow branch some years ago but could not find it. The moss is Antitrichia curtipendula, Pendulous-Wing moss, mainly a Northern species. The site of the moss has been in-accessible for some time due to the flooding of the wood. Several large examples of White Willow, Salix alba, grow in the wood and their leaves at this time of year look silver against the duller colours of the other trees, mostly species of willow. There were fewer ducks on the pools, perhaps due to the wind, with mainly teal, a few mallard and a lone wigeon. I had a look in another wood where the two local naturalists had found common polypody on a hawthorn branch last year. I could not re-find the plant but did re-find a second plant on a mature willow. The two naturalists have now found another plant in the same area but they could not re-find the original polypody. Polypody, Polypodium vulgare is mainly a Western species. Our area contains a number of plant and insect species at the edge of their range in the UK. Later, I met the two local naturalists who I see often. They had been in another part of the second wood. We stayed until dusk, hoping to see owls but none were seen.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 25, 2018, 12:33:08 PM
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In one of the woods.

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One of the white willows.

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A track along the side of the wood.

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Looking the other way.

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Overgrown track by the wood side.

Birds seen were, teal, crane, mallard, crow, rook, jackdaw, wren, robin, fieldfare, pink footed geese, blue tit, great tit, goldfinch, wood pigeon, chaffinch, wigeon, blackbird, magpie, moorhen, buzzard, stonechat, marsh harrier, pheasant, meadow pipit and stock dove. Also seen were two female red deer and a red admiral.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 31, 2018, 09:44:07 PM
Today started clear and sunny after a light frost. I decided to look at an area where Rhododendron clearance has taken place. There is quite a bit of re-growth which is scheduled for spraying next year. In the sun a good number of Darters were flying about as well as several Dragons. The two local naturalists I often see on site were exploring in one of the woods. Later they said that although most of the surface water had gone the going was slow due to the mud. While I was sat waiting for them to appear I saw a Peacock butterfly. A fairly late sighting. Several marsh harriers were hunting low over the reeds etc. When the others came out of the wood we saw a tree creeper poking about on some of the trunks. We stayed until it was getting dark in the hope of seeing owls again. There have been several sightings of Merlin in the past few days.

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Frost on one of the paths.

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Gall on willow, possibly caused by Aceria iteina.

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Rhododendron re-growth.

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A tussock of White Sedge, C,. curta.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 31, 2018, 09:52:34 PM
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Birds seen today were, teal, blackbird, jay, marsh harrier, goldcrest, pheasant, crow, moorhen, wren, pink footed goose, tree creeper, robin, fieldfare, grey lag goose, meadow pipit, mallard.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 04, 2018, 03:32:25 AM
Hi Ian,

It is always nice to see a late fight of butterflies. We are still seeing Gulf Fritillaries and Fiery Skippers at our Sacramento home.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 08, 2018, 01:15:29 PM
Yesterday was dull and windy but fairly mild. Later in the day we had some rain, our first for many weeks and the forecast is for dry weather for some time. I met the two naturalists on site and we decided to look in one of the woods, out of the wind. This wood has been too wet to enter since last year. Even then it was flooded in most parts. We went slowly, looking at the many mosses, lichens and liverworts. There were a good number of fungi growing on the ground and tree trunks. It starts getting dark by about 4 pm. here. Many pink footed geese were arriving all day until dusk. Large numbers of mallards and teal were on sheltered water, among them were wigeon, shoveler and goosanders. We stayed until it was dark and we could no longer make out the birds which were still arriving. Herb Robert is still flowering in the wood.

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Herb Robert, G. robertianum.

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One of the cladonia lichens seen.

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Forked veilwort, Metzgeria furcata, a liverwort.

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Jelly Rot Fungus, Phlebia tremellosa?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on November 08, 2018, 01:46:02 PM
Lucky you having dry weather Ian. It's been pretty lousy in the South West of England for most of the last couple of weeks and according to the forecasters for the next couple of weeks as well.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 08, 2018, 02:22:54 PM
We could do with some rain here David. The dry weather is not normal. A drain in our village has been dammed by someone (business park contractors?) and the dry weather is not showing that this drain is needed to prevent flooding.

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Autumn colours.

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Birds seen yesterday were, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk, buzzard, teal, mallard, wigeon, goosander, robin, jay, crow, long tailed tit, redpoll, pheasant, pink foot geese, blackbird, wren, fieldfare, wood pigeon, starling, meadow pipit, kestrel, shoveler, willow tit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 15, 2018, 12:36:34 PM
Yesterday was dull with a cold breeze. We first went to look at a site where Marsh Pea (L. palustris) grows. This uncommon species can be found in Fens and Marshes. The area where it occurs contains a number of small trees and some light pruning may be needed. Our next task was to re-find a Yew tree which was recorded in wet woodland several years ago. Yews are usually found on well drained soils, such as Limestone. Maybe this one was bird sown. The tree seemed to be suffering from the flooding of the wood, with the leaves being brown and shrivelled. Another visit to the tree in a year or two will hopefully reveal new growth. By three in the afternoon the light was beginning to go so we decided to move to an area where better overall views of the site were possible. Grey lag geese were flying in to roost for the night. Water birds were scarce on the pools with the occasional mallard calling. A sparrow hawk was seen on one of the tracks and three marsh harriers were hunting among the reeds. Several downy birch (B. pubescens) were noticed with growths on their trunks. Perhaps caused by galls at an earlier stage. There are mature willows in the wet woodland, both crack (fragilis) and white (alba). A number of fungi were seen on the trees, including two on birch, Horses Hoof and Birch Bracket. A good sunset rounded off the day.

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Distortion on birch trunk.

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Birch Bracket fungus.

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Horses Hoof fungus.

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One of the mature willows.

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Sunset.

Birds seen were marsh harrier, blackbird, wood pigeon, mallard, moorhen, sparrow hawk, fieldfare, pied wagtail, common snipe, crow, robin, grey lag geese, meadow pipit, wren.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on November 15, 2018, 07:55:44 PM
Ian, around my home we get flocks of Magpies but, as far as I’m aware you have never mentioned them do they figure around the area in which you live?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 15, 2018, 08:36:09 PM
Hello David, yes magpies are common here. We do see them on the site but they are mainly around the edges. Other common birds of gardens not too often seen on site are starling, house sparrow, hedge sparrow, thrush and collared dove.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 21, 2018, 09:16:33 PM
Today was dull and cold following two days of rain. The rain ceased today at 10.00am. I rang the other naturalists and they were already on site. As the wind was cold we went to look at one area of woodland I had not been in. Now that the floods have gone we were able to access the wood easily. Many fungi were seen on the ground and growing on birch trees, mostly downy birch (Betula pubescens). As we were looking at the fungi a group of female red deer ran past. Small flocks of birds were flying among the trees including redpoll and goldcrest. We disturbed a woodcock in one area. Woodcock usually sit tight until you get close. It started getting dark by about 3.30pm. and the temperature soon dropped. Geese were flying in as we left.

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Climbing corydalis is still in flower.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 21, 2018, 09:21:18 PM
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Birds seen today were, pheasant, teal, mallard, mute swan, blackbird, redpoll, goldcrest, wren, blue tit, long tailed tits, coal tit, buzzard, marsh harrier, crow, pink footed geese, grey lag geese, wood pigeons, meadow pipits, jay, willow tit, woodcock and great spotted woodpecker.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 24, 2018, 05:09:08 PM
Ian,

You seem to keep tallies of the birds that you encounter on your outings. There are certainly seasonal changes in the bird species you encounter, especial migratory species. Do you notice other changes in the bird populations or species encountered over time? If there are changes, is there any significance to the changes?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 28, 2018, 08:18:04 PM
The forecast for today was for rain (sorry Robert). We have had rain for several days. It was mild (mid fiftiesF). I met the other two naturalists and we decided to look for a moss in a wet wood which had been found some years ago. The moss, Antitrichia curtipendula, is a northern species in the UK. We still could not find it, although I had taken a picture of the habitat (it was growing on a fallen willow branch). During our search we disturbed a Woodcock, which flew away. Earlier a group of five red deer hinds were seen on a path. In the wood we also saw a tree creeper and a flock of Redpoll with a Goldfinch. They were busy hunting in birch trees. A Goldcrest was also seen. A flock of Pink Footed Geese flew over the wood and also a flock of Fieldfares. We decided to make our way back to the starting point by about 3.00pm. It started to rain quite heavy but then the clouds dispersed and the light improved. On a water body we saw a large group of Mallards, with some Teal, Goosanders, Pintail and a Wigeon. We made our way to an area with good views in the hope of seeing Hen Harrier which sometimes visit in Winter. At least 5 or 6 Marsh Harrier were seen then as the light was fading we saw two male Hen Harriers and possibly a third. Altogether the bird count was, blackbird, mallard, teal, marsh harrier, kestrel, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, redpoll, goldcrest, goldfinch, crow, jay, woodcock, tree creeper, goosander, wigeon, pintail, starling, fieldfare, hen harrier, wood pigeon, pheasant, grey lag geese, pink footed geese, whooper swans, chaffinch. One of my companions had earlier seen a Peregrine swooping at marsh harriers.

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Red deer hinds in a wood.

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A fungus which may be a Pleurotus (oyster mushroom family).

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Redpolls in a birch tree.

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Six whooper swans flying in.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 02, 2018, 04:25:45 AM
Ian,

It has been very overcast and rainy here in Northern California.  ;D

Today the snow level dropped to 3,000 feet (914 meters). We have not seen that in a while. There was 5.5 cm of snow on the ground at Riverton, about 3,625 feet (1,105 meters). Up the mountain there was much more.  :) I'll be able to check things on Peavine Ridge in a few days. Now we need the snow to stick around for a few months - like April.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 03, 2018, 12:26:00 PM
Hello Robert, I hope you have more rain but not enough to cause flooding. It will be interesting to see which plants grow in the bare areas next year. It is raining here again and the forecast is for more. The temperature is mild for the time of year, low fiftiesF.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 03, 2018, 05:32:05 PM
Hi Ian,

I am certainly hoping for better things this coming season. I have a large back log of things to get done. The evacuation order has finally been lifted for much of the Camp Fire burn area. I will be very curious to see what happened to the ecosystems / vegetation in both the Camp Fire / Mendocino Complex Fire areas. Parts of the Camp Fire burn have been reported to be extreme – something like that was observed in parts of the Rim Fire burn area.

I appreciate the informal weather observations. I monitor the AO (Arctic Oscillation), which influences or may include the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). The NAO was a major player in the Medieval Optimum and Little Ice Age. Currently the AO Index is -1. We are currently seeing a weakening of the stormy pattern here on the west coast of North America. This would be expected when the AO Index trends toward the positive range. In addition, both the MJO and ENSO influence convergent and divergent patterns, thus our weather and our gardens. Climatology is extremely interesting.

Currently there is a beautiful new snow pack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sunday night we had some intense thunderstorm activity. We experienced 10 mm hail at the farm which translates into an updraft speed of approximately 30 mph / 47 kph. The internet went down so I could not estimate the CAPE – as a guess + or -  2,000 J/kg - moderate. Earlier in the day, I was able the estimate both the LCL and CCL at about 900 mb. It was certainly an active weather day.

Today, I hope to visit a few of my observation sites in the Sierra Nevada.

I am looking forward to your next outing.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 05, 2018, 08:16:43 PM
It rained all day today and I wondered whether to go out or not. When I reached the site my usual companions were there. We decided to go to one of the wet woods and look again at a plant seen last week. It is still un-identified due to the poor condition. I went to look for several plants of Hard Fern, (Blechnum spicant), but could not find them. My companions decided to look in another part of the wood. I did not see them again until late in the afternoon. I flushed six woodcock while in the wood and also saw several red deer running through the trees. There were small flocks of redpoll with blue tits feeding among the birch seeds. A male goosander was on open water at one of the pools. Due to the rain the visibility was poor. The mosses are looking fresh now that the weather has turned wet. Another plant of Common Polypody was found on a tree not far from a previous site. This species, P. vulgare seems to be spreading on the site.  My companions found a further site for the species in another wood. Due to the rain I did not take many photos. We did not stay until dark looking for Raptors due to the limited visibility. Birds today were Redpoll, Blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, great spotted woodpecker, pheasant, crow, wood pigeon, woodcock, mallard, goosander, jay, fieldfare, chaffinch, blackbird and wren.

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A small plant of Polypody.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 19, 2018, 08:56:40 PM
Today was dull and cold following rain last night. The sky cleared by early afternoon but it was still cold. We decided to look at an area where earth star fungi were found last week by my companions, I was not able to go last week. We found a few earth stars, Geatrum triplex, a species I don,t remember seeing before. When the fungi are ripe, rain drops falling on the cup causes the spores to be expelled, as demonstrated in the following photos. There were a few good sized oaks in the woodland clothed in mosses and crustose fungi. Also seen were growths on the trunks of oak and birch which looked as though the trees had been "galled" at a younger stage. Although the site we visited was fairly small it was interesting in that three habitat types were represented, broad leaved woodland, birch woodland and wet heath. Some plants of bog rosemary, Andromeda polifolia, were seen. We stayed until dusk, about 3.45pm and saw three roe deer. Birds seen were, pink foot geese, wood pigeon, blue tit, long tailed tit, goldfinch, goldcrest, pheasant, kestrel, marsh harrier, water rail, meadow pipit, magpie, jay, wren, crow and chaffinch. Red breasted merganser had been seen several days ago.



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The brown stems and leaves look like an epiphitic fern which will need to be visited again next year.

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Earth star.

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Earth star "erupting."

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 19, 2018, 09:01:13 PM
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"Jews Ear."

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One of the large oaks.

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Growths on oak trunk.

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Crustose fungi.[attachimg=5]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 19, 2018, 09:04:18 PM
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An old large fungi on a fallen willow.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 26, 2018, 07:32:41 PM
Today was a good day, sunny and no wind. When I arrived on site one of my usual companions joined me. Mist was rising from ditches and pools across the area.  We decided to look again for a rare moss which has proved elusive. On the way to the wood we stopped to look at a large pool and saw two male and eight female Goosanders. With them was a female Red Breasted Merganser. This is only the fourth record of Mergansers at the site. We arrived at the wood where the moss grows and found we could not get near the location due to recent rains filling the ditches. We decided instead to look at fungi etc. on the mature trees. The area was like a rain forest with mosses, lichens and fungi on the ground and on trees. Yellow Brain Fungus was seen as well as candle snuff and an extremely small white fungus growing among moss on a branch. My companion found what looked like a black smudge on a fallen branch but on closer inspection it had many ridges along its length. When we walked back along the track we noted that the Goosanders and Merganser had left. We alerted the bird recorder for the site and he said he would come to see the Merganser. We saw him some time later and he went to the area where we had seen the bird but he could not find it. Later we saw a group of Goosander on another pool and the Merganser was among them so we phoned him and he did manage to see it. By this time it was dusk so we stayed to see if any raptors were around and managed to see a Merlin and a Barn Owl. All in all a very good day and better than sitting at home.

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Red Breasted Merganser in middle, a good distance away.

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Yellow Brain Fungus.

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Minute white fungus.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 26, 2018, 07:42:31 PM
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The black "smudge" on a branch.

Birds today were, gadwall, mallard, teal, meadow pipit, stonechat, robin, blue tit, great tit, marsh harrier, goosander, merganser, redpoll, tree creeper, shoveler, bullfinch, jay, chaffinch, long tailed tit, wood pigeon, coal tit, mute swan, wigeon, blackbird, pheasant, greater black backed gull, merlin, barn owl, water rail, grey lag geese and crow. Also seen were roe deer and a frog.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on December 27, 2018, 12:42:15 PM
Many thanks for your reports Ian, always something interesting and to learn. Long may they continue.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 27, 2018, 08:25:03 PM
Thanks David, there is always something interesting to see. Sometimes we discover species previously not recorded there before. This is something most people can do if they are able to get out and about. It is easy to overlook a local site and spend time watching wildlife on TV but much better to see it for yourself. Most wildlife records come from "amateurs" who are interested in their "local patch."
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on December 28, 2018, 03:13:10 PM
Ian, good to see you out and about and finding rather more than I.

The small brown fungus is a Galerina and the small white one a Mycena.
The black 'smudge' could be Birch Woodwart, Jackrogersella multiformis, but can't see enough detail.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 28, 2018, 03:53:01 PM
Thanks Chris, the woods are very interesting just now and look like the rain forests in miniature.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on December 28, 2018, 04:02:08 PM
Thought of the moment - when does a 'wood'  become a 'forest'? ( Odd how these  questions pop into one's mind!)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 28, 2018, 04:03:53 PM
Maggi, I think a forest is a very large wood and you can,t find your way out of it?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on December 28, 2018, 05:45:25 PM
Maggi, I think a forest is a very large wood and you can,t find your way out of it?
Good answer - and jolly  scary too, Ian!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 28, 2018, 07:23:29 PM
It is the strange noises I find interesting. The sound of something moving about but out of sight. An unusual bird call. No sound at all perhaps means there is something that wildlife can see but you can,t. On Wednesday we noticed there was hardly any sound in the wood at all and we were being quiet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 02, 2019, 09:18:52 PM
An up-date on the "new" water pump. It is still not working as designed, i.e. automatically. The site staff are having to switch it on and off manually. On Monday, last, one of us paid a visit to the site. She looked at a part of one of the woods which we have visited many times. On leaving the wood she found a clump of Harts Tongue Fern growing behind a birch tree. This fern is common in the district, especially in Limestone areas. It seems that the fern has not been recorded on the site, according to records, since 1907. It shows that because of the extent and diversity of the site there are many species awaiting discovery.

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Harts Tongue Fern, Phyllitis scolopendrium.

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A large tree, white willow, had fallen some time ago and verticle trunks had grown from the fallen tree.

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Phellinus igniarius?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 02, 2019, 09:26:00 PM
[attachimg=1]

A colourful spider, the name of which will be provided. It has been tentatively identified as an Episinus species.

[attachimg=2]

A fairly quiet day for birds. Those seen were, mallard, shoveler, goosander, marsh harrier, bullfinch, chaffinch, jay, great spotted woodpecker, redpoll, wood pigeon, robin, crow, pheasant, grey lag geese, teal, great tit, kestrel, moorhen and barn owl.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 04, 2019, 08:16:46 PM
Ian,

Phyllitis scolopendrium

Very good news!  8)

I may have already asked, but are invasive species an issue at the site?

Here in California, invasive species often hamper the recovery of our native species. In other situations, invasive species even inhibit and/or overrun our native species.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 04, 2019, 09:18:20 PM
Hello Robert, invasive species are not a problem on the site. We do get some species that are introduced with path building material. The material is supposed to be screened but this is not always the case. A plant of Nicandra physalodes was seen last year where material had been spread. Last year 13 species of plant were added to the site list. The insect list is growing steadily. With cleaner air more species of Lichen are arriving on site. We are a group of three people regularly recording on site and there are a regular number of bird recorders (as well as we three) visiting the site. Now that the Carr woodlands are not so flooded we are able to visit more areas and record. I went to the site today and saw what looked like a person standing on the main track, a bit unusual I thought as it was early. As I approached, the "person" moved and I saw two large stags watching me. They ran off in different directions before I got close enough for a picture. Something interesting every visit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 09, 2019, 09:27:39 PM
Today started out dull and cold, 2C. Later the sun came out but it was still cold. I went to look at an area where conservation work has been carried out to help the spread of a rare plant. The work consisted of scrub clearance and it is hoped that removal of the bushes and the heavy shade they cast will be an improvement. Monitoring the site later in the year should give an indication how successful the clearance has been. Fewer birds were seen today as the site in question is sheltered with limited views. Those birds which were seen included several flocks of pink footed geese, bullfinch, robin, marsh harrier, crows, kestrel, great tit, blue tit, pheasant, magpie, wood pigeons and a possible woodcock as we were leaving.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 10, 2019, 01:48:18 PM
Ian,

Keep us posted on the outcome of the rare plant conservation project. You have reported many success stories. It is very encouraging to hear reports with good out comes.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 10, 2019, 04:25:53 PM
Will do, Robert.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 24, 2019, 12:46:14 PM
There is a planning application to erect another footbridge and a bird hide on the site. Local naturalists are against the plan as it will increase disturbance to rare nesting birds on the site. The plan is expected to be approved because natural england are less of a conservation organisation and care more about visitor numbers these days. I,m not sure if they are even allowed to comment on planning applications affecting the site and wildlife there. It seems local coucillors are in favour. Anything to get more visitors to the area, even if this means a negative affect on our wildlife.  Strange that people who decide on applications never bother to visit the site and are perhaps not qualified to comment on wildlife.  Yesterday was frosty, -2C. We saw a male Pintail on a pond as we entered the site. We then decided to look in one of the woods. Frost was coating the mosses and lichens. More surface water is in the wood now. We moved slowly, looking at the various mosses, lichens and fungi. Some of the species were extremely small and it was difficult to get good pictures.  The "new " water pump is still not working.The visit ended with a display by the Red Arrows.

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Pintail.

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One of the large willows in the wood.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 24, 2019, 12:56:52 PM
[attachimg=1]

Nuctenea umbratia

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]

Evernia prunastri.

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The Red Arrows making patterns in the sky.

Birds noted were, marsh harrier, blue tit, great tit, cettis warbler, redpoll, robin, bearded tit, mallard, teal, shoveler, reed bunting, crow, stonechat, coal tit, willow tit, goldcrest, pintail, gadwall, long tailed tit, hen harrier, goosander, water rail, woodcock and common gull.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 31, 2019, 02:59:51 PM
Yesterday was cold, -2C, with clear sky.We went to the same wood we looked in last week. Last week a tiny fungus was found on a downy birch tree. Not being able to identify the plant we had to collect a specimen to send to a Mycologist. The Generic name of the plant is Lamproderma. We will have to wait for the specific name when it has been looked at. Pink footed geese were heard and seen while we were in the wood. Up to about 1,000 birds in the largest skein. The interior of the wood was quiet. We flushed a woodcock while in the wood. We also met three other Naturalists who were looking at birds. Later we went to look at a small pile of birch logs where an insect was found a few days ago. It is Platyrhincus resinosus, Cramp-ball fungus weevil. Also seen was a hibernating wasp. As it was getting dusk I walked a short distance away from my companions to photograph an area of water. When I returned they told me they had heard Bearded Tits calling from a reed bed. They did not call while I was there but a water rail was heard squeaking. Birds recorded were, marsh harrier, blackbird, bullfinch, blue tit, long tailed tit, great tit, mealy redpoll, crow, reed bunting, redpoll, pink footed geese, water rail, bearded tit, woodcock, hen harrier, mallard, goosander, wren and stonechat.

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Lamproderma sp. The tiny black blobs.

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Platyrhincus resinosus.

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Hibernating wasp.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 07, 2019, 07:17:10 PM
We have now heard that the tiny black "fungus" is not a Lamproderma. The specimen sent is still being identified. Yesterday was cold but not frosty. We spent most of our time on site in a sheltered area. Contractors were planting tiny hawthorns and other species in a nearby area. The reason for this is not clear. Later we moved to an area where bearded tits have been seen lately but work was in progress here so the tits were not seen or heard. We spent some time looking out for birds coming in to roost in the late afternoon. A large number of crows were congregating in bushes and small groups of goosander were flying in. A roe deer was seen on one of the tracks. Birds noted were, water rail calling from a reed bed, bullfinch, mallards, gadwall, greylag geese, marsh harriers, crows, redpoll, goosander, stonechat and pied wagtail.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 13, 2019, 10:13:17 PM
Today was fairly mild. One of my collegues went to look for adders and saw at least seven and possibly nine. I went to a wet woodland to look for a rare moss but the water levels prevented a search. On Reply 529 I mentioned that the tiny "fungi" was not a Lamproderma and a sample had been sent to an expert for his analysis. It turns out it is not a fungi but a slime mould. See photo. taken today. It is well past its best and the size can be compared to a Cladonia next to it. The plant in question is the small black area. It has been identified as Diacheopsis mitchellii. It was only known from the Sussex coast and Japan. Look carefully at the centre of the photo. and you will see a small round, black, fruiting body. Another first for the site. Later I met my collegue and we stayed until dusk watching birds coming in to roost. Birds seen today were, mallard, teal, gadwall, shoveler, goosander, tufted duck, chaffinch, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, pheasant, stonechat, buzzard, marsh harrier, hen harrier, grey lag geese, robin, wren, wood pigeon, crow and water rail.
The latest news regarding the Diacheopsis is that it is only known from one site on the Sussex coast and one site in Japan. The person who identified the species has asked if he can use a collegues photo. of the Myxomycete in a book he is writing. Apparently it is the only known photo. of the species.



Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2019, 04:28:41 PM
Yesterday was warm and sunny with no breeze. By mid morning the temperature was 22C. We saw 12? adders, all male, sunbathing. We then went to look at a small wood which contains a good number of mature alder trees. Small birds were feeding on the cones, including siskins. We came across a tree with a split in the trunk. Many bees were entering the opening, carrying pollen on their legs. My colleague was stung by a bee, perhaps on sentry duty. We found at least 100 larvae, encased in capsules, similar to stone fly larvae. They blended in with the trees they were on. I found Andromeda polifolia in an area I had not seen it before. Who knows what else will be seen in such a large and important site? Many more birds were seen than in previous weeks. We stayed to watch the sun set and saw a hen harrier and a short eared owl. Birds recorded were, pheasant, reed bunting, stonechats, black headed gulls, meadow pipit, redpolls, siskins, marsh harrier, kestrel, mallard, teal, gadwall, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, goldcrest, chaffinch, crow, wood pigeon, hen harrier, short eared owl, water rail, wren, robin, snipe, skylark, lapwing, crane, woodcock, tawny owl, starling, fieldfare, redwing, greenfinch, buzzard, sparrowhawk, grey lag geese, magpie tufted duck, shoveler, goosander, wigeon, bullfinch, barn owl and moorhen. Also seen were red deer, roe deer and a peacock butterfly.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2019, 04:50:16 PM
[attachimg=1]

We found a willow twig which had been galled by an insect. The emergence holes contained fungi, no bigger than a pin head.

[attachimg=2]

Possibly dry rot?

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2019, 04:55:10 PM
[attachimg=1]

A female winter moth?

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Bronze shield bug?

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An emerging adder.

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Two male adders.

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In the alder wood.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2019, 05:03:38 PM
[attachimg=1]

Tiny insects in their "cases."

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A fly species, perhaps a picture wing?

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Siskins on alder.

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Long tailed tit.

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Short eared owl.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 22, 2019, 05:05:50 PM
[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

[attachimg=3]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 23, 2019, 02:43:36 PM
Ian,

I noticed that there has been snow at the site this season. If I understand correctly this weekend the site will experience well above average temperatures. Have there been unusual swings in the weather/temperatures at the site this season? With the warm temperatures the snakes must become active?

Here in California there have been some dramatic swings in temperatures at times. Currently we have experienced about 3 weeks of cold and snowy weather (this was not 100% consistent, but it was the general pattern). This situation is about to change with a forecast of about a week of subtropical moisture. Beyond this point is questionable.  ???
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 23, 2019, 03:48:24 PM
Robert, the only snow in the area was less than 1/2" one day. Temperatures have fluctuated for several days at a time. We have had some days of frost but not severe. Some days have felt colder due to the wind chill. There have also been milder spells which have been about normal for the time of year. The last few days have seen temperatures more like early summer. I think the coldest recorded temperature in the greenhouse this winter was 18F. I,m sorry I don,t keep records like you. The emergence of adders is about normal for the time of year and temperatures. Males seem to emerge first, waiting for the females to come out later. I don,t know what the official temperature figures are but in our area we seem to miss extremes of weather. In summer it can be "clammy" when it is hot and sunny. I think this is due to our low altitude. All in all I think the winter has been about normal here. We are hoping for a better spring this year. Last spring was cold and wet. There is still time for the weather to turn cold again but by the middle of March the weather has usually settled to more milder temperatures.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on February 24, 2019, 04:14:51 AM
Ian,

I appreciate the additional information.  8)

I have been interested in recording things since I was young. Yes, I can relate to numbers, data, that sort of thing, but your answer informed me just fine. Thanks.  :)

I know that I have said this before... I enjoy the detailed photographs of the insects, even common things like Shield Bugs (at least they are common in our part of California).
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 28, 2019, 08:40:23 PM
Today turned cold and misty. We went for a walk, more to keep warm than any specific target. Several stonechats were perched on the top of bushes, they seem to be claiming territories now. We went to look at an area where Rhododendron clearance has taken place. There is some re-growth and a carpet of broken branches. Six roe deer were seen running away in the distance. A sparrow hawk was seen chasing a blackbird along a track in a wood, the blackbird escaped. A small patch of common speedwell, Veronica persica, was seen. This plant flowers throughout the year. We noticed that some of the hares-tail cotton grass had flower buds. Aspen and alder trees have male flowers on them. A group of whooper swans were on a pool, calling softly. We left earlier than usual today as it was too cold to stand about watching for birds to come in for the evening.

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Veronica persica.

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Area of cleared Rhododendron.

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Whooper swans.

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Male alder catkins.

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Male aspen catkins.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on February 28, 2019, 08:48:23 PM
[attachimg=1]

Birds noted were, stonechat, reed bunting, short eared owl, blackbird, whooper swan, shoveler, teal, tufted duck, lapwing, mallard, buzzard, crow, sparrow hawk, marsh harrier, redpoll, chaffinch, bullfinch, coot, moorhen, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, crane, snipe, wood pigeon, woodcock, goldcrest, gadwall, goosander, wren, pheasant, water rail, fieldfare, black headed gull, robin, grey lag geese. Roe deer and red deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 02, 2019, 03:41:16 PM
Hi Ian,

Thank you for sharing your experiences.  8)

Veronica persica is a common annual weed at the Placerville, California farm. It is pretty so I do not mind leaving a few around here and there.

I greatly enjoyed the last photograph in the set. The subtle reflection of the sun off the water is very peaceful.

What happened to the above average temperatures? I just do not have enough time to follow the weather in Europe. I did spot that last anomaly in the 300 mb jet, as I look at the northern hemispheric map every day.

My wife and I did the weekly snow survey yesterday. I will be reporting on this soon. I will have to do the numbers (you know I do this stuff   ;D  ) but I am fairly sure that this February was to coldest I have recorded to date. My detailed records go back to 1983. Also the low elevation snow has hung around for a long time period too. The last time this happen may be back to the 1980's too. I have records on this too (   ;D   ).

At least we got back in one piece. My wife fell a bit over a meter into a soft snow drift. Nobody was hurt!  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 02, 2019, 08:17:08 PM
Hello Robert, the temperature has dipped again. It was mild and sunny this morning but the weather turned cold and dull this afternoon. I noticed that Hyacinths are in flower in some gardens here. The change in temperatures will confuse the plants.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 02, 2019, 09:23:16 PM
Hi Ian,

When I looked at the 300 mb northern hemispheric jet analysis this morning it looked like stormy weather could arrive soon in your area (UK).

The rain is persisting here in California. I had one good gardening day 2 days ago. The plants are "beat up' from all the rain and very strong winds. At least there will be no drought this year. We always have to keep an eye on this.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 06, 2019, 05:42:02 PM
Today was wet, slight rain at first. We went to one of the woods where my collegues have found another site for the Diacheopsis mitchellii. We looked at quite a few trees hoping to find more but no luck. We saw a caterpiller on one tree and it was tentatively identified as a Footman. Quite a few Common whitlowgrass, Erophila verna , were seen. Also noted were a number of Coltsfoot, Tusilago farfara. Turkey tail fungus? was seen on one tree. By mid afternoon the rain became heavy so we decided to leave early. Birds seen were, black headed gulls, teal, reed bunting, marsh harrier, crow, blackbird, redpoll, water rail, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, willow tit, cettis warbler, curlew, lapwing, gadwall, grey lag geese, robin, mallard, goosander, tufted duck, shoveler, sparrow hawk, bullfinch, coot, wood pigeon, wren, redwing and chaffinch.

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Footman.

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Turkey tail?

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Common whitlowgrass.

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Coltsfoot.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 06, 2019, 06:02:03 PM
Hi Ian,

The Turkey Tail looks very similar to what I call Turkey Tail here in California. Fungi is certainly not one of my strong points.

The rain continues today, here in California.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on March 06, 2019, 07:43:04 PM
The other fungus on the same tree, is it a tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius)?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 07, 2019, 10:33:49 AM
Hello Troy, yes it is. We call it hoof fungus or horses hoof fungus here.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2019, 12:22:11 PM
Natural England, the managers of the site, are encouraging people to visit nature reserves with their dogs. We are getting reports of people killing adders, in case their dogs are bitten. Adders are protected by law. Perhaps it would be better for wildlife if people left their dogs at home? Yesterday was very windy. We had a report of a sea eagle passing through the area but did not see it. A number of adders and a grass snake were seen. Where the adders are found has become better known and they are being disturbed by people who decide to get a closer look. This means that the people who are studying the adders are having difficulty in counting numbers etc. We found an adder which had been "bitten"? in half. It had several puncture wounds and may have been attacked by a raptor.[attachimg=1] I went to look at one of the woods, the water is still rising even though the "new" pump was working. It still does not work as designed and has to be switched on manually. This at a cost of more than £700,000. Later I joined my collegues counting adders. In the wood there were a number of tits feeding on insects in the trees, including a willow tit. The pools were too choppy for the water birds and they were on water filled ditches in the shelter of trees. Marsh harriers were struggling against the strong wind. We stayed until dusk and were rewarded with views of a hen harrier. Battling with the wind was a Yellow Horned moth, Achlya flavicornis. It flopped down beside us. After taking photos. it was placed behind a grass tussock out of the wind.

[attachimg=2]

Bullfinch

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[attachimg=4]

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2019, 12:29:15 PM
[attachimg=1]

The remains of old pine tree stumps.

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The stumps were the home to lichens.

[attachimg=3]

Arthur adder.

Birds noted were, mallard, teal, reed bunting, marsh harrier, water rail, magpie, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, willow tit, kestrel, bullfinch, grey lag geese, shoveler, buzzard, stonechat, wren, crow, pheasant, hen harrier and roe deer.

[attachimg=4]

Yellow Horned moth.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 14, 2019, 02:30:16 PM
Ian,

It seems like there is an appropriate time and place for domestic animals (dogs). Here in the U.S.A. some off-road-vehicle hobbyist believe that they have the "right" to drive their vehicle anywhere. I have no objection to off-road-vehicles, I just believe that there are appropriate and inappropriate places for these vehicles. We have the same problem with dogs, horse back riders, etc. Some habitats are very sensitive and adversely affected by these activities. There are plenty of other locations where they can enjoy their activities. Conservation certainly has many challenges.

As always I enjoyed your posting. Hopefully the dog policy will change for the better and other life forms will have a chance to live and thrive.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on March 14, 2019, 02:34:29 PM
As most here will know, I am a great advocate of household pets - but these, particularly  dogs and cats, seldom mix well with wildlife and to encourage dog walkers to a  conservation site seems ridiculous.

One of these years, Ian,  you are going to post that that "new" pump is working properly, as was intended - I just hope the shock is not too much for me! :-\
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 14, 2019, 07:03:50 PM
Ian,

I too will be shocked if the pump finally works as intended!  ;D
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 14, 2019, 07:05:36 PM
Maggi, regarding the "new" pump. As far as I know it has not yet been "signed off." This means that Natural England are not satisfied with it because it is not working as designed. As far as I know it also means that NE have not yet paid for it. As far as I can tell, the problem is that the batteries are not being charged enough to operate the generator which in turn starts the Screw Motor, which lifts the water from the ditch into the main drain. I understand a stand-by battery has been bought to "jump start" the system. After all this time you would think that someone in this country could locate and fix the problem. Maybe NASA could help? They managed to send men to the moon and back in 1969, using a computer with the power of a small pocket calculator. The opinion among some locals is that Natural England will hope that the problem will be forgotten and written off.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 22, 2019, 08:42:05 PM
The weather this week has turned mild with no wind. A group of 86 whooper swans were on one of the pools, making quite a noise when I approached. We received a message that eight bearded tits were on reeds at one site. When I arrived there was no sign of the birds so I sat and waited. After a while they emerged from the reeds and sat on top of the seed heads, feeding. When I stood to take a picture they flew off and the resulting photo. was poor, as the camera would only focus on the reeds. Later, I disturbed a fox which was hidden from my view and it ran off. Water rails were heard calling in several areas but not seen. The black headed gull colony is occupied again. They make plenty of noise, quarreling for nesting space.Chiff chaffs are on site now and singing in various places. In one of the wet woods we flushed a woodcock. Both common and mealy redpolls were seen.  Fieldfares are still here but will be returning north soon. Cettis warbler was heard briefly singing from undergrowth. A few butterflies are around now with good numbers of peacocks. One comma was seen and several orange underwing moths. It was still sunny by early evening and we had good views of a short eared owl hunting, too far away for a decent photo. We noticed three columns of smoke rising towards one side of the site and suspected arson. My collegue rang one of the Natural England staff, who lives not far from the site to see if he would come and investigate but he flatly refused. We then rang another of the staff who lives about twenty miles away. He said he would come out straight away. We then rang the fire brigade who said they would respond. A local farmer/naturalist was called and he arrived soon after. The fire was extinguished just before the brigade and the NE member of staff arrived. Not an ending to the day we wanted.

[attachimg=1]

An old pine stump looking like a sculpture.

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Another view of the same.

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Some of the whoopers.

[attachimg=4]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 22, 2019, 08:52:37 PM
[attachimg=1]

A poor photo. of a bearded tit.

[attachimg=2]

A few Ichneumon flies have emerged. This one may be a species of Ophion.

[attachimg=3]

Sweet violets are flowering now.

[attachimg=4]

Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides, has spread across the site, probably on ducks. This invasive alien plant has spread throughout the country by people throwing it into water courses. It can completely cover the water surface. The leaves turn green during the summer months.


[attachimg=5]
A slime mould on willow. May be Reticularia lycoperdon.



Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 22, 2019, 09:08:16 PM
[attachimg=1]

Cigar galls on common reeds.

[attachimg=2]

Scarlet elf cup.

[attachimg=3]

Setting sun and reeds.

[attachimg=4]

Short eared owl.

[attachimg=5]

Birds were, reed bunting, meadow pipit, black headed gull, mallard, marsh harrier, buzzard, wood pigeon, teal, crane, shoveler, wren, bearded tit, tufted duck, gadwall, stonechat, crow, grey lag geese, whooper swan, pheasant, lapwing, water rail, moorhen, coot, blackbird, great tit, chiff chaff, blue tit, long tailed tit, willow tit, woodcock, snipe, common redpoll, mealy redpoll, goosander, robin, great spotted woodpecker, cettis warbler, kestrel, sparrow hawk, jay, fieldfare, chaffinch, song thrush and short eared owl. Also seen were red deer roe deer and adder.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on March 22, 2019, 09:19:35 PM
My goodness-  a fire at this time of year  can do a lot of  damage to the wildife. I assume it was arson?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 23, 2019, 11:23:28 AM
It seemed so Maggi. There were two areas burnt with quite a gap between them. I don,t think that the fire had spread by sparks. There was no wind.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 24, 2019, 12:31:29 PM
Hi Ian,

I liked the photograph of the Short Eared Owl hunting.

Was fire ever part of the natural ecology at the site? Suppression of fire has created huge problems here in California. Decades of fire suppression is even a major contributor to our existing out-of-control wildfire situation we find ourselves in today. In California, creatures like Black-backed Woodpeckers, Picoides arcticus, thrive in burned over areas. Among other things, they use the standing blackened dead conifer trunks as safe nesting sites (their plumage is black, camouflaging them from predators, mainly raptors like Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 25, 2019, 12:51:57 PM
Hello Robert, fire has been a part of the site for many years. Spontaneous combustion in hot summers at first. Then the peat producers used to use fire to remove the vegetation. When the peat was dry, deep seated fire used to burn for long periods. The peat is wetter now but fire still destroys wildlife when it is started. Particularly at risk are adders and invertebrates. Also, birds are starting to look for nesting areas.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on March 25, 2019, 02:14:02 PM
Hi Ian,

If I understand correctly, fire is unnatural at this site.

We have areas with peat in the Sacramento - San Joaquin river delta. Fires in the peat can be very difficult to extinguish. Worse yet, are peat fires at high elevation in the Sierra Nevada. Most often these are started when camp fires are started on top of the peat. Sometimes this type of fire can slowly burn for months and travel a considerable distance. At times the burning peat can also spread into quickly combustible materials creating another set of fire problems.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 29, 2019, 08:00:05 PM
This week we went to look at an area which has not been recorded very often. A tiny lichen, Cladonia incrassata was seen. There were a few fruiting cups, smaller than a pin head. Also seen was a leafy liverwort which had been found by someone specializing in the subject, Calypogeia muelleriana. Cettis warbler was heard singing but not seen. A secretive bird which sings from undergrowth. It has a very loud distinct call for a small bird. Chiff chaffs are now quite common. A group of redpoll were seen, about 50 in the flock. Most were common redpoll but one arctic was among them. Several water rail were heard calling from reeds in different areas. Two sand martins were seen passing through, the first for the site this year. Hen harrier and short eared owl were hunting low with marsh harriers trying to flush prey. One little grebe was on a pool, with tufted duck. Goosanders are still here. There were a good number of shoveler and a pair of shelduck on another pool. One willow warbler was heard briefly, another first record for this year. A curlew passed over the site calling. Perhaps the highlight was a Merlin which was sat in various bushes, waiting to chase anything which ventured too close. One of my collegues managed to get some good photos. of the bird. Coltsfoot is quite common now along tracks. A few Pied shield bugs were scuttling about on an old log. Both red and roe deer were seen at a distance. The warmer weather has brought out a number of butterflies and moths. Those seen were Peacock, Brimstone, Comma, Green Veined White and Orange Underwing.

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Cladonia incrassata.

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Calypogeia muelleriana.

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Pied Shield Bug, Sehirus bicolor.

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Roe deer buck.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on March 29, 2019, 08:10:48 PM
[attachimg=1]

The setting sun highlighted the reeds.

Birds noted were, goosander, great spotted woodpecker, teal, grey lag geese, marsh harrier, cettis warbler, crow, chaffinch, chiff-chaff, woodcock, snipe, redpolls, mallard, robin, wren, pheasant, magpie, water rail, goldcrest, shoveler, gadwall, canada goose, sand martin, lapwing, hen harrier, stonechat, short-eared owl, meadow pipit, tufted duck, little grebe, black headed gull, herring gull, blackbird, buzzard, willow warbler, coot, moorhen, pied wagtail, long tailed tit, great tit, blue tit, kestrel, willow tit, reed bunting, wood pigeon, curlew, merlin and song thrush, also red and roe deer. One of my collegues saw a pair of Pintail.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 04, 2019, 10:01:31 PM
I have decided to visit the site two days a week now that the "warmer" weather is here. The last two days have started sunny with cold winds later in the day. Yesterday a Little Grebe and two Black Necked Grebes were seen on one of the pools. Two Shelduck were in company with several Shoveler on another pool. We stopped for a drink and watched several Marsh Harrier displaying. At one point a Peregrine decided to mob one of the Harriers. We had a report from a local farmer that he had seen two Ravens. Later in the day we saw them fly over a path we were on, croaking loudly. Yesterday we saw four swallows, our first of the year. Chiff Chaffs are wide spread across the site now, calling from bushes. A Cettis Warbler was heard briefly today  from dense vegetation. Redpolls are still here, feeding in birch trees. Also, two Fieldfare were seen yesterday. Two Herons landed in an area of reeds and later one was noted hunting for prey, possibly frogs. Blackcaps have recently arrived and can be heard singing from bushes. Today, two House Martins were seen, the first of the year. While searching for a plant of Hard Fern, in an area of bog, I flushed a Snipe, which flew off calling.

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Little Grebe.

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Black Necked Grebes.

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A coot keeping out of the wind.

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Two Male Marsh Harriers, both flying with their feet down.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 04, 2019, 10:16:59 PM
Flowers are still slow to appear but I did find several Common Storks-bill, Erodium cicutarium. We visited a part of a wood which has been too wet to enter in recent years. There were many mosses on the trees and also several Liverworts, one was identified as Forked Veilwort, Metzgeria furcata.

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Common Storks-bill.

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Forked Veilwort.

Birds seen were, reed bunting, meadow pipit, mallard, grey lag geese, tufted duck, little grebe, black necked grebe, gadwall, shoveler, crow, teal, marsh harrier, hen harrier, peregrine, buzzard, kestrel, jay, raven, willow tit, willow warbler, blackcap, fieldfare, pied wagtail, chaffinch, goosander, coot, long tailed tit, pheasant, robin, wren, black headed gull, lapwing, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker, goldcrest, blackbird, swallow, shelduck, canada goose, chiff chaff, crane, cettis warbler, blue tit, great tit, redpoll, magpie, sparrow hawk, heron, goldfinch, house martin, woodcock snipe and a roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 10, 2019, 09:04:01 PM
I was on my own today. Reaching the southern edge of the site I came across two youths with three lurcher dogs and a bull terrier type dog. One of the youths threatened me with violence if I took his photo. Maybe naturalists should be issued with firearms licenses for their own protection?
While checking a young water plant found previously I noticed a small plant of blackcurrant, a strange place to find it in a waterlogged wood. Along a track I noticed several plants of climbing corydalis, now called Ceratocapnos claviculata. Birds were few today, including several Goosander, shoveler and shelduck. I saw my first orange tips, male and female, for the site this year. Also seen were two speckled woods. Five house martins were noted in one place. Walking along a track in a wood I saw a large brown object on the path in front of me. As I got nearer the object arose and stood looking at me, it was a female red deer and it was joined by others which were out of sight at first. Several buzzard were circling in air currents overhead. Chiff chaff, willow warbler and blackcap are more frequent singing in bushes now.

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A small black-currant bush in one of the woods.

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Climbing corydalis.

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One of the many tracks.

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A speckled wood, Pararge aegeria, at rest.

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A pair of canada geese.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 10, 2019, 09:10:31 PM
[attachimg=1]

A group of female red deer on a track.

Birds noted today were, swallow, buzzard, willow warbler, blackcap, chiff chaff, crow, pheasant, wood pigeon, wren, moorhen, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, snipe, goosander, shoveler, shelduck, coot, tufted duck, gadwall, house martin, marsh harrier, grey lag geese, canada geese, lapwing, pied wagtail, sparrow hawk and meadow pipit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 13, 2019, 04:57:13 PM
Hi Ian,

I hope that you are okay.

On rare occasions I have been threatened while out in the wild. My policy is to be "invisible" while out. Fortunately almost all my encounters with people out in the wild are pleasant, but then I do not go out of my way to engage anyone. My experience has been that bears and mountain lions are a safer bet than some people.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 13, 2019, 10:57:02 PM
I,m OK Robert. I,ve been having trouble logging in and get a message that the site is not secure.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on April 14, 2019, 06:18:44 PM
Hi Ian,

I am glad to hear that you are okay.

Here in the U.S.A. there is terrible violence all the time. I have to be very careful while out in the field. As I said, I try to stay "invisible". This is very necessary. For some reason, I look like an environmentalist which makes me a target for violence. I even have to watch out what I say. It is too easy to be completely misunderstood in the U.S.A. and be beaten. This is why I avoid people. I wish to stay alive. As an example, 2 days ago drug dealers tried to run over a little girl riding her bicycle on our street. They directed their speeding car directly at her from the rear. They came close but did not hit her. I saw the whole thing, so then they drove their car at me. I was able to get out of the way, but they turned around to see where I had gone. I was excepting them to pull their guns, but fortunately they sped away when others came out to see what was going on. This was the city of Sacramento where there is violence everyday, everywhere, even in the so called "good" neighborhoods. But there is even violence out in the wild. Here we need to be extremely careful everywhere. The violence is completely out of control. Only the mass shootings hit the international news.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 17, 2019, 10:14:48 PM
There has been another fire on the site. Again, the nearest natural england employee to the site refused to attend. Today was warm and sunny. We went to count adders and found two males and a sloughed skin. Adders renew their skin prior to the mating season. After surveying the usual area for adders we decided to walk to a site for adders tongue fern, Ophioglossum vulgatum. The ferns were only just showing and the  fertile spike was not yet open. We will have to make another visit later. A yellow wagtail was heard calling as it flew over us. Because of the warm sun many butterflies were seen, mainly peacocks, also good numbers of orange tip. One of their foodplants, lady,s smock, was seen in a small ditch. A single small tortoishell was seen, also brimstones and speckled wood. We saw several large red damselflies, Pyrrhosoma nymphula,  the first of the year. Returning along one of the tracks we found several patches of barren strawberry, Potentilla sterilis. Roe deer and red deer were seen at a distance. There were good numbers of Green Tiger Beetles, Cicindela campestris, mostly on bare peat and some on old wood. Redshank were heard calling and we saw two fly from one pool to another. We had good views of a pair of marsh harriers. A single Bee Fly was seen. A few cowslips, Primula veris, were showing signs of possible frost damage to their flowers. Galls on birch, Betula pendula, were observed. These may have been caused by the gall mite, Acalitus calycophthirus.

[attachimg=1]

Bee Fly.

[attachimg=2]

Gall on silver birch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 17, 2019, 10:23:54 PM
[attachimg=1]

One of the male adders with fresh markings.

[attachimg=2]

Willow warbler.

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Green tiger beetle.

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Large red damselfly.

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Small tortoiseshell.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 17, 2019, 10:32:06 PM
[attachimg=1]

Cowslips showing possible frost damage.

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Adders tongue fern.

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[attachimg=4]

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Barren strawberry.

Birds today were, song thrush, chiff chaff, teal, crane, mallard, shoveler, black headed gulls, buzzard, kestrel, reed bunting, linnet, stonechat, pheasant, crow, snipe, yellow wagtail, mallard, willow warbler, grey lag geese, canada geese, lapwing, wood pigeon, blackcap, shelduck, redshank, pied wagtail, jay, coot, black necked grebe, wren, marsh harrier and meadow pipit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on April 25, 2019, 03:15:36 PM
A mixed day yesterday which started out sunny then rain and thunder in late afternoon. More summer bird visitors are arriving. Whitethroat, cuckoo and sedge warbler were heard calling during the morning. One of us (with better hearing) recorded reed warbler and grasshopper warbler, later in the day.  We went along one of the smaller tracks and found a jumping spider, Evarcha falcata. This species is mainly southern in the uk. Later we found Agalenatea redii, another mainly southern species. Marsh harriers and buzzards were seen hunting, buzzards mainly higher up and the harriers were hoping to flush prey nearer the ground. Several cuckoo were calling from different areas and one was seen to fly past quite close. Cuckoos look like birds of prey when flying close by. A sedge warbler was calling from a stand of reeds by one of the tracks. Later in the year they are common on the site. A whitethroat was flying between small birch bushes, calling, giving the impression that several birds were present. A redshank was calling from a pool but was difficult to spot. Cettis warbler is still here but is very secretive, calling from dense cover. Water rail was heard in a ditch but again, it is a shy bird, preferring to hide among reeds and making a call which sounds more like a squeak.

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An old log, which looked like a Dinosaur.

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Evarcha falcata.

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An interesting moss which I think is Aulacomnium palustre, Bog bead-moss.

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[attachimg=5]

Agalenatea redii.

Birds noted were, teal, grey lag goose, lapwing, meadow pipit, black headed gull, marsh harrier, buzzard, coot, little grebe, willow warbler, cuckoo, pheasant, crane, canada goose, shoveler, crow, stonechat, chiff chaff, blackcap, wren, garden warbler, reed warbler, grasshopper warbler, kestrel, tufted duck, blackbird, cettis warbler, redshank, great spotted woodpecker, water rail, shelduck, black necked grebe and reed bunting. Butterflies seen were peacock and speckled wood.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 02, 2019, 09:16:58 PM
Yesterday was warm and sunny, today started out fine but there were heavy rain showers later in the day. When I arrived on site yesterday there was a group of bird watchers present. Someone had seen a Red Footed Falcon and put a message on the "net." We had good sightings of the bird. People were still turnng up today although the bird seemed to have left yesterday afternoon. A pity the people who put rare bird sightings on the internet don,t bother to tell people when it leaves. One chap was wet through as he had not bothered to take waterproofs with him.I visited a small site (privately owned) where scrub clearance took place during the winter. This was to encourage a rare plant to spread. Bushes had encroached onto the area and the shade was detrimental to the plants, which were down to just a few. The early result is encouraging. The species is a late flowerer, so we shall monitor the site through the year, more later. The Black-headed Gull colony is busy and noisy, something like an out of tune football crowd. One of the bird watchers noticed a Little Gull on one of the ponds. Smaller than black headed gulls and with a flight which resembled a Tern. A good number of Hobbys were seen, 19 according to one of the watchers. They do not stay long on the site, feeding up before making their way to breeding areas. Grasshopper warblers were heard reeling in vegetation. They seem to throw their voice and are not easy to see. Yesterday we saw a pair of Redshank and a Dunlin on a pool. The Redshank were there today but the Dunlin seemed to have moved on. A Yellow Wagtail landed nearby as we were scanning the pools, not a common bird here. A freshly dead male adder was found on the main track, killed by a vehicle whose driver must have been in a hurry. Several 4 spot chasers were seen yesterday and also hairy dragonflies were reported. Today a large number of House Martins were seen flying with Swallows and hunting over water. Also, 30 Swifts were seen passing through. Two Water Rails were heard serenading in a ditch, one a squeek and the other a persistent monotonous single note. A Cettis Warbler was heard calling a couple of times, after a long wait to see if it was still in its usual place. Also seen in the bushes were a pair of Blackcap which seemed to be gathering food and flying off to some un-seen nest site. We had noted a pair of Shelduck on a pool for some weeks. This morning they had re-located to another pool. This afternoon they had moved again and as I was watching them another pair flew in. This seemed to cause an issue and a squabble broke out between the two females and one of the males, while the second male just watched on. Four species of Butterfly were seen today, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip and Peacock. Flowers are still slow to show themselves but I did see Jack-by-the-Hedge, otherwise known as Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata. This plant used to be a common site growing in hedge bottoms but in this area hedges are rarer than Dodos. This plant is a food source for Orange Tip and Green-veined White butterflies.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on May 02, 2019, 09:35:50 PM
Your reports are  a delight, Ian - it's good to know that such places still exist.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 02, 2019, 09:47:46 PM
[attachimg=1]

Site cleared for rare plant.

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The brown stem is one of the plants.

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Jack-by-the-Hedge.

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Female Blackcap.

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Dead adder.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 02, 2019, 09:58:27 PM
[attachimg=1]

Four-spot Chaser.

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Caterpillar of the Lackey.

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Two pairs of Shelduck.

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An argument.

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Shoveler.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 02, 2019, 10:15:20 PM
[attachimg=1]

Found by an Entomologist yesterday. Eggs of Galerucella lineola/ Lochmaea caprea, Willow Leaf Beetle.

Birds were, black headed gull, coot, mallard, little grebe, teal, tufted duck, shoveler, chiff chaff, cuckoo, little gull, red footed falcon, hobby, reed bunting, sedge warbler, grasshopper warbler, barn owl, kestrel, whitethroat, redshank, lapwing, willow warbler, marsh harrier, pheasant, wood pigeon, gadwall, dunlin, crane, yellow wagtail, song thrush, missel thrush, grey partridge, blackcap, swallow, stonechat, grey lag geese, shelduck, crow, wren, black necked grebes, robin, linnets, meadow pipits, buzzard, blackbird, chaffinch, moorhen, water rail, cettis warbler, blue tit, great tit, snipe? swifts, house martins. Butterflies were peacock, speckled wood, orange tip and brimstone. Also seen were red deer and roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ArnoldT on May 05, 2019, 10:27:00 PM
Here's two local shots of a praying mantis egg case placed on a box hedge  and a group of fungi growing out of some wood chip mulch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 09, 2019, 05:38:42 PM
Yesterday it rained all day so I stayed at home. Today the forecast was for rain in the afternoon. It was cold, dull and spotting with rain so I decided to chance it. The rain came in early afternoon so I came home early. I noticed two large gulls on one of the pools. The light was not good and I couldn,t make out their leg colours very well. I assume they were either lesser black backs or herring gulls. A buzzard was seen circling above as I walked down one of the paths to look for Scarce Vapourer caterpillars. I only found one caterpillar, sheltering from the weather, it was a Yellow Tail. A marsh harrier flew quite close while I was looking at an old area of peat workings, the recent rain has made the workings dangerous with much water. This is good for Sphagnum and other bog plants. The flowers are still late this year, due to the cold weather. Swifts, house martins and swallows were hunting low over pools, so insects must have been on the wing. Warblers were singing in many areas but they seem to have spread out across the site now. Cuckoos were calling in the distance. I went to look in one of the woods, out of the cold wind. Along the track I came across four different sedges growing close together. Carex pendula (pendulous sedge), Carex otrubae (false fox sedge), Carex flacca (glaucous sedge, more common in calcareous districts) and another sedge which may be either C. distans or C. binervis. Neither of the last two have been recorded here in recent times. I have sent a photo. to another botanist for her perusal.
It turns out that the sedge I was not sure about is indeed C. binervis. This sedge is more common on upland moors where it usually has fewer flowering stems and they are much taller than the ones found on this site. As far as I am aware it is a new record for the site and seems to be colonising our area.

[attachimg=1]

A bee sheltering from the weather.

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Yellow Tail caterpillar.

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Lesser black backed gull?

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Common frog.

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Sedge Warbler.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 09, 2019, 05:52:47 PM
[attachimg=1]

Pendulous sedge.

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Glaucous sedge.

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As yet un-identified sedge.

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One of the Black headed gulls sitting tight.

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A dull view.

Birds seen today were, mallard, shoveler, grey lag geese, reed bunting, crow, marsh harrier, buzzard, pheasant, swift, swallow, house martin, linnet, black headed gull, lesser black back/herring gull, gadwall, whitethroat, wren, willow warbler, chiff chaff, sedge warbler, blackcap, cuckoo, stonechat, lapwing and wood pigeon.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on May 13, 2019, 06:55:49 AM
Hi Ian,

I have finally gotten back to your diary. It seems you have had some fine outings lately. Thank you for taking the time to write and post photographs. I enjoy them immensely.  8)

I do have one question. I follow a number of meteorological teleconnections. I have been watching the North Atlantic Oscillation go through several seemingly extreme fluctuations over the last month or so. After running steady and positive from 15 January 2019 to ~ 17 April 2019, the North Atlantic Oscillation has made some quick somewhat high amplitude fluctuations in both the positive and negative directions up to today. Have there been any unusual swings in precipitation or temperature during the period 6 April 2019 through 12 May 2019 in your area?

All of this seem a bit unusual including the behaviour of the jetstream. The weather pattern here in California may turn rainy and cool for the next 5 to 6 days. It would not be the first time this has occurred in May, but it is very unusual. There has been some of odd weather patterns this year to date.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 13, 2019, 12:39:31 PM
Hello Robert, you are right about un-usual weather patterns this spring. Last spring (2018) was quite a prolonged cold and wet one. This year we had warm days towards the end of February but this is not un-usual. However, this changed in March when we in this area, experienced cold and windy weather. In the UK we have a saying, March winds and April showers. It seems in the last couple of decades that the weather patterns can no longer be predictable, even in the UK where our weather is constantly changing. Apart from an odd day or two since early April it has been mostly cold and wet in this area. This has had an influence on flowering plants which seem to be later coming into flower. I don,t often look at weather forecasts but I noticed yesterday that our weather looks like it is coming from europe (east) when it mostly comes from the prevailing west winds. At the moment we are set for a few dry warmer days. We are not really surprised at the weather conditions in the UK. If rain clouds are formed over the Atlantic, then we have a lot of water to the west, with prevailing wind from that direction. Most of the rain falls along the western part of the UK, with the Pennine hills running North-South this means it is usually drier in our part of the country unless we get winds from the East. The Flora along the Western part of the UK contains a greater variety of ferns, mosses and lichens due to the milder, wetter climate there. I hope this is of some use to you.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2019, 04:12:14 PM
The last few days have been sunny and hot. This has caused an emergence of four spot chasers and green tiger beetles. The extra activity of the dragonflies have given the Hobbys a feeding boost, with acrobatic displays to catch the insects on the wing. A Mediterranean gull was reported to be on site yesterday but I did not see it. The warblers are singing in many parts of the site, often heard rather than seen. I saw my first Red Admiral of the season on Wednesday but failed to get a photo. A hare was feeding at the edge of a field, a rare sight these days. When it cooled down yesterday afternoon the Hobbys dispersed and their place was taken by a large number of Swifts. Five roe deer and five red deer were seen in different areas. I counted 104 Grey Lag Geese on one of the pools. Now that the warmer weather is here there are more butterflies on the wing, those seen were, Brimstone, Peacock, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Small Copper. In the next few weeks we expect to be recording Large Heath butterflies. Herons have been putting in an appearance on the site in the last couple of weeks, not a common bird at the site. A Yellowhammer was heard singing from a bush, again this is a decreasing species and not recorded often enough these days, due to habitat loss, i.e. lack of hedgerows and no fields left un-cultivated during winter.   Another bird hardly ever recorded in the area now is Corn Bunting. Again, this is due to habitat loss. Management work on the site is lacking due, I have been told, to DEFRA concentrating on tourism instead of conservation. It seems that a budget of over £2 million is being spent at two local sites in order to involve the public in projects that do nothing for wildlife. Maybe Natural England are no longer giving value for public money and have given up their role as Government advisor for the Environment? Most Science based recording is being carried out by the public. It is a good thing that the public care about wildlife, even if the public organisations do not any more. It is a pity but not unexpected that big business make government policy in most or all countries. When governments are presented with statistics from the Scientific community regarding declining wildlife and destruction of habitats there is much wailing among the politicians but no action. In the meantime, all we can do is record the declining numbers of species. This is happening because hardly anyone can be bothered to comment to decision makers. If they do they are called names, such as "greens" as if they are a different race of people. The losers are the ones who do nothing to protect our wildlife. Having said that, the people who take the time to go out and look at our wildlife and enjoy seeing it, are the winners.

Birds-eye speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys.

[attachimg=1]

Hawthorn, the scent of the flowers is said to be an aphrodisiac.

[attachimg=2]

Crane.

[attachimg3]

Silverweed, Potentilla anserina.

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Dandelion clocks.

[attachimg=5

Birds-eye speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys.]





Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2019, 04:26:38 PM
[attachimg=1]

Red deer.

[attachimg=2]

Small Copper.

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

Field forget-me-not, Myosotis arvensis.

[attachimg=5]

Tormentil, Potentilla erecta.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2019, 04:34:49 PM
[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

Creeping cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans.

[attachimg=3]

Orange tip.

[attachimg=4]

Common yellow sedge, Carex demissa.

[attachimg=5]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2019, 04:47:06 PM
[attachimg=1]

Birds foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus.

[attachimg=2]

Finally, not a common plant on the site, Daisy, Bellis perennis.

Birds seen or heard were, black headed gull, gadwall, coot, mallard, teal, black necked grebe, shoveler, shelduck, garden warbler, whitethroat, blackcap, chiff chaff, crane, willow warbler, sedge warbler, magpie, wood pigeon, grey lag geese, reed bunting, cuckoo, lapwing, crow, robin, wren, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk, hobby, buzzard, tufted duck, little grebe, swallow, swift, meadow pipit, stonechat, heron, redshank, yellowhammer, kestrel, chaffinch blackbird and moorhen. Also seen were, small copper, red admiral, brimstone, peacock, speckled wood and orange tip. Red deer and roe deer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on May 17, 2019, 09:06:04 PM
 Lotus corniculatus is  one  of  my  favourite  wildflowers. I think most  folk overlook it.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 17, 2019, 10:13:45 PM
You are right, Maggi. Many people, myself included, tend to see "ordinary" flowers and don,t give them a second look. This is why I,m starting to include the more common ones in the article. I suppose this might bore the more dedicated botanists but it may also encourage everyone to look again at our native plants?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on May 18, 2019, 11:05:08 AM
I think your  whole  diary  is encouraging folk to  get  out and  pay  more attention, Ian!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on May 18, 2019, 09:48:37 PM
Hi Ian,

I agree with Maggi.

You are accomplishing a great deal and certainly must encourage and inspire others with your diary.

We have no control over what others do, so making a positive impact, as you do, is the best anyone can do.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on May 18, 2019, 10:23:24 PM
Well said, Robert - and the  same  can be  said  of you  and your  diary reports.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 23, 2019, 05:08:47 PM
The last few days have been sunny and warm. This has encouraged the flowers and insects to appear. This in turn has meant dining opportunities for predators, such as Hobby. The going has been very slow in order to notice the increase in wildlife activity. Bushes have been searched for the various species of caterpiller feeding on the leaves, such as woolly bear (garden tiger) and scarce vapourer. Also seen were yellow tail and lackey. I found an additional colony of Adders Tongue Fern, about sixty plants. The black headed gulls are sitting tight on their nests and hatching must be close. They will have to keep a sharp watch on their chicks or they will be taken by marsh harriers which will also want to feed their young. Shelduck are still on site and maybe nesting here. Also Redshank. There are fairly large numbers of Grey Lag Geese in flocks and these are perhaps non-breeding birds. Sedge Warblers are commonly heard singing in reed beds but are a secretive species and seem to stay low down most of the time. The flowering plants are now growing fast, after the cold start to the season. Common Twayblade, Listera ovata, are showing along one of the paths but are still in bud. More sedges are beginning to flower on tracks. Sedges are a group of plants easily overlooked and thought of as grasses.  As a rule, sedges usually have a triangular flowering stem. Sedges can be difficult to identify, sometimes minute details need to be observed, such as the shape of the fruit. One orchid was seen in flower, a common spotted, D. fuchsii. A water scorpion was seen on the track.

[attachimg=1]

A woolly bear.

[attachimg=2]

A heath moth.

[attachimg=3]

[attachimg=4]

Marsh arrowgrass.

[attachimg=5]

Male catkins of Bog Myrtle.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 23, 2019, 08:13:09 PM
Hawthorn has a range of colours between white and red. The scent of the flowers is very strong.

[attachimg=1]

Hawthorn.

[attachimg=2]

Two Green Shield Bugs.

[attachimg=3]

Soldier beetle, Cantharis livida?

[attachimg=4]

Mouse-ear Hawkweed.

[attachimg=5]

Common Twayblade, Listera ovata, in bud.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 23, 2019, 08:25:25 PM
Carex sylvatica on a path.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

Adders tongue.

[attachimg=3]

White sedge, Carex curta.

[attachimg=4]

Long horn beetle, Rhagium bifasciatum.

[attachimg=5]

Cranberry.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 23, 2019, 08:30:40 PM
Young fronds of Royal Fern.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

Water scorpion.

[attachimg=3]

Hobby hunting dragonflies.

[attachimg=4]

Scarce vapourer.

[attachimg=5]

A carpet moth on daisy, Bellis perennis.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 23, 2019, 08:38:39 PM
A male Marsh Harrier taking a rest.

[attachimg=1]

Birds noted were, black headed gull, coot, mallard, marsh harrier, buzzard, whitethroat, meadow pipit, hobby, linnet, stonechat, cuckoo, shoveler, willow warbler, water rail, shelduck, lapwing, blackcap, robin, tufted duck, sedge warbler, teal, swift, crow, redshank, grey lag geese, wood pigeon and black necked grebe. Many 4-spot chasers and green tigers were about as well as several small coppers.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2019, 04:12:14 PM
The weather has been mixed this week. It started off sunny and warm until Wednesday afternoon, when it clouded over with a cold wind. We checked a site, a grass field, where we found a colony of Northern Marsh Orchids in 2011. There were 89 flowering spikes at that time. As far as I know this was the only existing colony in the district. By 2016 the colony had increased to around 1300 flowering plants. The field has been mowed in past years but not for a couple of years, by Natural England. The field is being taken over by more aggressive species of grass due to the lack of management. We struggled to find 12 flowering spikes of the orchid, with several non-flowering rosettes. On a better note, I mentioned scrub clearance work over several days during the last winter. This work was carried out on private land adjacent to the main site. The clearance was to encourage a rare plant to spread its range. The species was found there in the past by a local Naturalist. A visit to record the plants in the 1980,s found about 120 plants.When we re-found the species in 2012, there were about 25 plants. The site was overgrown and it was difficult to record the area. In 2016 I visited the site and could only find 16 plants. Likewise a visit in 2017 only turned up 11 plants. It seemed that a last ditch effort was needed to improve the chances of the plants survival. We visited the site on Wednesday and at first there seemed to be little difference in the overall state of the habitat, ( apart from the lack of dense vegetation). However, on careful inspection, we started to find small plants. We started a count and were surprised at the number of plants we were finding. The overall count stood at 147. In the past we may have missed some plants due to the "jungle" but I don,t think we missed such a large number. It shows that with such a little effort a great deal can be achieved. I wonder why NE are not carrying out Conservation management and are concentrating on visitor numbers? I have asked several times for the grass field, with the Orchids, to be mown to no effect. There are three colonies of sedge on the main site, which have been recorded as Carex riparia, greater pond sedge. Each colony has different characteristics. I have noted each detail in the plants and apart from the difference in habitats cannot be certain that they are the same. So far, the conclusion I have come to is that Carex riparia is variable. The cold wind on Wednesday meant that many of the insects were sheltering in bushes away from the wind. This made photographing the invertebrates slightly easier.  Not being an Entomologist I relied on my companion to provide names. The Scarce Vapourer caterpillars were very colourful, some variation in their patterns were seen.

[attachimg=1]

An old willow which had fallen over and sprouted new stems.

[attachimg=2]

Celery leaved buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus.

[attachimg=3]

A ditch through one of the woods.

[attachimg=4]

The opposite view.

[attachimg=5]

A looper caterpillar.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2019, 04:29:21 PM
[attachimg=1]

Doves-foot cranes-bill, Geranium molle.

[attachimg=2]

Common vetch, Vicia sativa.

[attachimg=3]

Fairy flax, Linum catharticum.

[attachimg=4]

Oval sedge, Carex ovalis.

[attachimg=5]

Woody nightshade, Solanum dulcamara. Sometimes confused with deadly nightshade.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2019, 04:40:37 PM
[attachimg=1]

Yellow flag, Iris pseudacorus.

[attachimg=2]

A Caddis which has camouflaged itself with grass stalks.

[attachimg=3]

Long horn beetle, Agapanthia villoviridescens.

[attachimg=4]

A Cardinal beetle.

[attachimg=5]

Cut-leaved cranesbill, Geranium dissectum.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2019, 04:51:58 PM
[attachimg=1]

Short winged european chinch bug.

[attachimg=2]

An Ichneumon fly.

[attachimg=3]

Black ant, Lasius niger.

[attachimg=4]

Scarce vapourer.

[attachimg=5]

Southern Marsh Orchids, Dactylorhiza praetermissa, just beginning to flower. Some are pink others are red.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 31, 2019, 05:01:24 PM
Birds etc. seen this week, cuckoo, black headed gull, shoveler, lapwing, curlew, gadwall, tufted duck, swift, kestrel, house martin, willow warbler, wren, chiff chaff, blackcap, blackbird, teal, mallard, whitethroat, robin, buzzard, marsh harrier, cettis warbler, garden warbler, shelduck, pheasant, chaffinch, great tit, blue tit, wood pigeon, hobby, yellowhammer, coot, swallow, crow, reed bunting, stonechat, cormorant, meadow pipit, grey lag geese, sedge warbler, heron and black necked grebe. Also seen were a roe deer and an american mink.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Lyttle on June 02, 2019, 10:12:28 AM
Hello Ian,

Its a rather slow Sunday afternoon here with cold southerly rain showers coming through. More or less the start of winter. I have been seeing a lot of familiar plants on your blog some of which are thriving in my own garden. Here they are considered weeds so no photos from me unless my SRGC friends want a thread on displaced wildflowers! So a partial list; Geranium molle, Geranium dissectum, Vicia sativa, Solanum dulcamara, Linum catharticum and Veronica persica. A marvellous blog with lots of interest. Your patch seems very rich in wildlife particularly birds.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on June 02, 2019, 12:11:05 PM
From Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh :
Recording Rare Plants and Lichens

RBGE is asking mountaineers, climbers and scramblers to help record rare plants and lichens that grow in some of Scotland’s  remotest  places.
"Many rare and endangered plants and lichens grow in such remote and/or exposed locations that conservationists remain unsure of exactly how many populations exist, and where monitoring and protection should be focussed. Mountaineers, climbers and scramblers are the most likely people to see these plants, and we are asking the mountaineering community to contact us with any sightings by emailing raremountainplants@rbge.org.uk and including GPS coordinates, or an OS map six figure grid reference of the location, and if possible a photograph. Details of our three target species - Alpine Blue-Sowthistle, Tufted Saxifrage and Alpine Sulphur Tresses - are included  in the  link below..... "

https://www.rbge.org.uk/science-and-conservation/recording-rare-plants-and-lichens/?fbclid=IwAR0XRXunjlxI2QJHxKCgy3cfK4QueR1glNrHhYQfQOXaGhmB5Nzg6j1cJZI (https://www.rbge.org.uk/science-and-conservation/recording-rare-plants-and-lichens/?fbclid=IwAR0XRXunjlxI2QJHxKCgy3cfK4QueR1glNrHhYQfQOXaGhmB5Nzg6j1cJZI)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on June 02, 2019, 02:26:00 PM
Hi Ian,

I enjoy your photographs immensely, especially the photographs of the insects.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 02, 2019, 02:53:34 PM
Thanks David and Robert, good to know my efforts are appreciated. Maggi, I think the BSBI recorders and members would be able to provide records for the RBGE.

[attachimg=1]

Sometimes officials of wildlife organisations will not help non-members so in turn non members don,t help those organisations. A loss to natural history.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on June 02, 2019, 04:01:08 PM
David, the "patch" is one of the best areas in the country for its variety of wildlife. This is due to the variety of habitats at the site. The Managers of the site, a government advisor on the Environment, Natural England, seem to have had their role reversed. Their overseers, the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, (Defra), seem to have instructed NE to diversify into tourism, business etc. which conflict with Conservation. At least, that is the impression the public now have of NE. Naturalists (citizen scientists as we are now referred to) are ignored when we suggest where management needs to be carried out to protect and preserve wildlife species. We carry out much recording on sites where a consultant would charge huge sums of money for a second rate job and we do not even get recognition from government. I  am not a "birder" but notice birds and other wildlife as I look for the plants on the site. I would encourage anyone who is interested in wildlife to look at their own area and record what is there before it is lost. Don,t be afraid to speak up for our wildlife, it needs all the help it can get.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 21, 2019, 05:29:10 PM
I have been away from the local patch flower spotting. Here is some of the wildlife seen while looking for flowers.

[attachimg=1]

jackdaw.

[attachimg=2]

red grouse in the rain.

[attachimg=3]

ring ousel, it was feeding young and singing.

[attachimg=4]

buzzard on a rock.

[attachimg=5]

coastguard on an exercise.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 21, 2019, 06:43:42 PM
[attachimg=1]

dragonfly

[attachimg=2]

red throated divers.

[attachimg=3]

male golden eye.

[attachimg=4]

red deer conversation, they were used to people.

[attachimg=5]

mountain avens.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 21, 2019, 06:49:33 PM
[attachimg=1]

bladder fern, Cystopteris sp.

[attachimg=2]

ground beetle?

[attachimg=3]

I don,t know what was in this case but it moved when I touched it.

[attachimg=4]

draba incana.

[attachimg=5]

wall rue.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 21, 2019, 06:58:11 PM
[attachimg=1]

holly fern.

[attachimg=2]

yellow saxifrage.

[attachimg=3]

mimulus x burnetii.

[attachimg=4]

sedum anglicum.

[attachimg=5]

asplenium marinum.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 21, 2019, 07:03:39 PM
[attachimg=1]

white flowered thyme.

[attachimg=2]

common sandpiper.

[attachimg=3]

raven.

[attachimg=4]

sea spleenwort and black spleenwort.

[attachimg=5]

hard fern.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 22, 2019, 12:54:05 PM
[attachimg=1]

A small sedge, possibly C. pauciflora.

[attachimg=2]

sea anemone.

[attachimg=3]

A fern growing on limestone.

[attachimg=4]

Fragrant? orchid on limestone.

[attachimg=5]

Gold ringed dragonfly.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 22, 2019, 01:03:11 PM
[attachimg=1]

A sea plant in a rock pool.

[attachimg=2]

Toad.

[attachimg=3]

Gall on nettle, caused by rust fungus Puccinia urticata?

[attachimg=4]

Northern eggar.

[attachimg=5]

Slow worms.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 22, 2019, 01:10:27 PM
[attachimg=1]

Bog asphodel.

[attachimg=2]

Burnet moth.

[attachimg=3]

Sheeps-bit scabious.

[attachimg=4]

A fly past.

[attachimg=5]

Hares-foot clover.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 22, 2019, 01:18:27 PM
[attachimg=1]

Bog pimpernel, only found due to the directions from the local BSBI recorder. It was growing on short turf.

[attachimg=2]

Bush vetch.

[attachimg=3]

Wild marjoram growing on limestone.

[attachimg=4]

Melancholy thistle.

[attachimg=5]

Golden rod, S. virgaurea.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 22, 2019, 01:23:32 PM
While looking in an old quarry for plants I noticed something move. A small animal ran under a rock and I waited to see if it appeared again.

[attachimg=1]

I think curiosity got the better of it and it wanted a closer look.

[attachimg=2]

The best photos. I have of a stoat.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ashley on July 22, 2019, 01:27:31 PM
A small sedge, possibly C. pauciflora.

Or perhaps flea sedge, C. pulicaris?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 22, 2019, 09:35:19 PM
Could be Ashley, I did not have the book with me and sedges and grasses are not really my topic.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 23, 2019, 10:04:44 PM
[attachimg=1]

Juncus balticus.

[attachimg=2]

coral root orchid.

[attachimg=3]

sea milkwort.

[attachimg=4]

burnet rose.

[attachimg=5]

war and peace.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 23, 2019, 10:10:19 PM
[attachimg=1]

common birds foot.

[attachimg=2]

lesser butterfly orchid.

[attachimg=3]

star sedge, C, echinata.

[attachimg=4]

pale butterwort.

[attachimg=5]

early marsh orchid.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 23, 2019, 10:15:54 PM
[attachimg=1]

heath spotted orchid.

[attachimg=2]

scottish primrose, why do cameras always record them as blue instead of pink?

[attachimg=3]

ringed plover.

[attachimg=4]

moonscape with water.

[attachimg=5]

one for the Doric speakers.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 23, 2019, 10:20:21 PM
Another.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

Fossilised stromatolites?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 24, 2019, 01:00:27 PM
Back to the local patch. Yesterday was hot, 30c. The birds seemed to be keeping out of the sun in many cases. Butterflies on the other hand, were conspicuous.

[attachimg=1]

Buddleja, an introduction which becomes invasive and out-competes native plants.

[attachimg=2]

Weld, the taller cousin of mignonette.

[attachimg=3]

A fungus on a willow branch.

[attachimg=4]

Another fungus on willow.

[attachimg=5]

A young giant puffball?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 24, 2019, 01:07:35 PM
[attachimg=1]

Lesser spearwort in one of the wet woods.

[attachimg=2]

A pair of hoverfly? on spear thistle.

[attachimg=3]

A small skipper on spear thistle.

[attachimg=4]

A comma on ragwort.

[attachimg=5]

Red admiral on burdock.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on July 24, 2019, 01:12:29 PM
[attachimg=1]

Small tortoiseshell on burdock.

[attachimg=2]

The dune helleborines are mostly in seed now.

[attachimg=3]

Yellow loosestrife.

[attachimg=4]

Greater yellow rattle are just in flower.

Birds seen were, reed bunting, mallard, gadwall, lapwing, pheasant, linnet, crow, wood pigeon, willow warbler, cettis warbler, kestrel. Butterflies were, comma, small tortoiseshell, red admiral, small skipper, speckled wood, meadow brown, small white, large white and ringlet.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on July 24, 2019, 01:49:24 PM
Lots to see, Ian!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 02, 2019, 01:20:58 PM
Most of the forecast heavy rain fell at night, with flooding in other parts of the country. I have had to bin my "waterproof" over-trousers as they are no longer water-tight. My first visit this week saw the discovery of two more additions to the plant list, dwarf mallow, M. neglecta and corn mint, Mentha arvensis. Later in the day I met a local naturalist and the senior site warden. We went along one of the tracks in search of a small bee which feeds on fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica. We found a couple of the bees, Epeolus sp. We also saw a small moth, Apodia bifractella. Yesterday I met two bird watchers. They told me I had just missed three wood sandpipers and an egret. Some mowing has been carried out, with a view to increasing the flowering plant diversity. I found a gall on the stem of one species of hawkweed, Hieraceum umbellatum. The hawkweeds are a large group of plants and are not easy to identify. I know these species because a Botanist friend told me which they were.

[attachimg=1]

Difficult to see due to being tall plants but the hawkweed on the left is H. vagum and the one on the right is H. umbellatum, leafy hawkweed.

[attachimg=2]

Hieraceum umbellatum with a gall on the stem, this may have been caused by the gall wasp, Aulacidea hieracii.

[attachimg=3]

A bee, Epeolus sp. on fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica.

[attachimg=4]

A micro moth, Apodia bifractella, on fleabane.

[attachimg=5]

Dingy footman on ragwort. Who on earth invents these names?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 02, 2019, 05:22:05 PM
[attachimg=1]

Himalayan balsam, Impatiens glandulifera. An aggressive alien which out-competes all other plants.

[attachimg=2]

Another alien, though not as aggressive, canadian fleabane, Conyza canadensis.

[attachimg=3]

Marsh thistle, Cirsium palustre. Sometimes the flowers are white.

[attachimg=4]

Goats-beard or jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, Tragopogon pratensis. So called because the flowers tend to close at mid-day.

[attachimg=5]

Goats beard.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 02, 2019, 08:03:36 PM
[attachimg=1]

Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris.

[attachimg=2]

Dwarf mallow, Malva neglecta.

[attachimg=3]

Corn mint, Mentha arvensis.

[attachimg=4]

Wild angelica, A sylvestris.

[attachimg=5]

Sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 02, 2019, 08:15:20 PM
[attachimg=1]

Meadow brown.

[attachimg=2]

Gatekeeper.

[attachimg=3]

Skullcap.

[attachimg=4]

Green veined white.

[attachimg=5]

Following the mechanised scrub clearance several years ago there is re-growth of birch where there was no treatment with brush-wood killer.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 02, 2019, 08:21:51 PM
[attachimg=1]

Large skipper.

[attachimg=2]

Brimstone on burdock.

[attachimg=3]

Small copper.

[attachimg=4]

10 spot ladybird.

[attachimg=5]

?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 02, 2019, 08:34:33 PM
[attachimg=1]

Sympetrum striolatum?

[attachimg=2]

The underside of a painted lady.

[attachimg=3]

Topside.

[attachimg=4]

On reply 577 I mentioned clearance work for a rare plant. The plants are Marsh pea, Lathyrus palustris. The numbers have risen from approximately 11 to 140.

Birds noted were, blackbird, mallard, grey lag geese, lapwing, willow warbler, robin and juvs. wood pigeon, crow, hobby, reed bunting, linnet, sedge warbler, pheasant, yellowhammer, great spotted woodpecker, tufted duck, black headed gull, water rail, whitethroat, snipe, jay, and stonechats. Butterflies were, brimstone, peacock, small skipper, large skipper, small white, meadow brown, speckled wood, gatekeeper, small copper, common blue, painted lady, large white and green veined white. Also seen were a pair of roe deer and a frog.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on August 02, 2019, 09:23:12 PM
I'd say the dragonfly is ruddy darter, S. sanguineum. Darker red abdomen, black legs and larger black marking towards the tip of the abdomen. S. striolatum has yellowish legs and an altogether paler browny-red colour.

Are you seeing a lot of painted ladies? We had 15 in the garden today!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 04, 2019, 01:14:25 PM
Thanks Tristan. I,ve only seen a few painted ladies so far.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on August 04, 2019, 01:21:10 PM
We've  been getting  painted  ladies  in our  Aberdeen garden - such nice  butterflies, it  is a  pleasure to  see  them.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Leucogenes on August 04, 2019, 04:11:59 PM
What a beautiful English name... "painted ladies". Here with us it is called "Distelfalter"... I especially like the underside of the wings.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on August 05, 2019, 07:36:13 PM
It is a beautiful name isn't it?

Sadly the origins may be less glamorous (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/painted%20lady)...
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Leucogenes on August 08, 2019, 04:24:55 PM
Just now a rather large specimen of Vanessa cardui felt comfortable in the rock garden and enjoyed the last sunbeams of the day.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 09, 2019, 05:14:07 PM
This weeks weather has been mixed, with warm sun and rain with winds. Common bladderwort is flowering well in some of the ditches. Butterflies are numerous in species and numbers. Hemp agrimony is flowering and being visited by many insects. I visited a wet wood and saw a number of small frogs. Dragonflies are frequent and are still being hunted by the remaining hobby,s. I was told of black tailed godwits and managed to see three with a group of lapwings and a snipe. While scanning the area from a raised mound I noticed a couple of cranes in the tall vegetation about 300 yards away. Two female pheasants were seen along a track, both with very young chicks. Rhododendron leaf hoppers, introduced from North America, are active on re-grown rhododendrons.

[attachimg=1]

Common bladderwort.

[attachimg=2]

A fungus on a birch tree.

[attachimg=3]

A nymph of ?

[attachimg=4]

A large white willow.

[attachimg=5]

Sympetrum striolatum.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 09, 2019, 08:03:03 PM
[attachimg=1]

A black darter.

[attachimg=2]

Field bindweed.

[attachimg=3]

Wild parsnip, usually taller. The sap can cause blisters on the skin.

[attachimg=4]

Hemp agrimony.

[attachimg=5]

Lapwings and three black tailed godwit.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 09, 2019, 08:13:00 PM
[attachimg=1]

Female pheasant with chicks. It must be a good year for insects to breed this late.

[attachimg=2]

Green shield bug nymph.

[attachimg=3]

Southern hawker.

[attachimg=4]

Female black darter?

[attachimg=5]

Phyllobrotica 4-maculata.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 09, 2019, 08:19:00 PM
[attachimg=1]

Common hawker?

[attachimg=2]

Rhododendron leaf hopper.

[attachimg=3]

A puff ball.

[attachimg=4]

Field forget-me-not, Myosotis arvensis.

[attachimg=5]

A feather but who did it belong to?

Birds recorded were, mallard, tufted duck, crow, pheasant, lapwing, wren, wood pigeon, crane, yellowhammer, linnet, stonechat, swift, black tailed godwit, pied wagtail, coot, blackbird, robin, teal, meadow pipit, little grebe, buzzard, hobby, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk, cettis warbler, blue tit, great tit, willow tit, jay, green sandpiper, great spotted woodpecker, grey lag geese, swallow and gadwall, while butterflies were, peacock, comma, painted lady, brimstone, meadow brown, gatekeeper and red admiral.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on August 09, 2019, 09:42:33 PM
Definitely a common hawker Ian.

The Dragonflies of Great Britain and Ireland by Cyril Hammond is a really good reference for these with some excellent illustrations.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on August 09, 2019, 09:45:00 PM
PS loved the bladderwort - you don't often see it flowering so prolifically.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 16, 2019, 07:40:26 PM
This weeks weather was changeable. Sun and warm then very windy. There were still a good number of butterflies on the wing during the first half of the week. Sedge warblers are still singing but not as much. Perennial sow-thistle is in flower. A sign that summer is almost over. Dog daisy,s are a welcome sight in some areas. A tiny member of the Campion family, Thyme-leaved-sandwort, was seen on a bare track. Quite a few narrow buckler ferns are growing on wet ground among cotton-grass. There is still plenty of activity with dragonflies and damsels. I noticed a small bird of prey flying close to the ground and thought it may have been a Merlin. Fungi seem to be around fairly early this year, perhaps a result of the wet spring we had. Heather is in flower now. An ominous sign for "game" birds. A local farmer/naturalist remarked that there was not much cotton-grass in seed this year. Perhaps another result of the cold, wet spring? Later in the week I met another naturalist and we decided to look at one of the wet woodlands, out of the wind. A number of different fungi were seen. Most were not identified. Mosses and lichens were looking healthy, some on the ground, others on trees. We saw a number of micro-moths, which my colleague is interested in, among other wildlife. As we were slowly moving about I noticed a tiny fly moving on a bramble leaf. One thing that attracted me to it was that it was moving sideways. I also noticed that the light was reflected off its wings like the colours of mother-of-pearl. I took several photos. Not easy as it was about three millimetres in length. My colleague has a camera with a better macro facility and he took some better images. I have since looked at a site on the internet with photos. of flies and it may be Acletoxenus formosus. If this is correct there are only a few sites for this species in the UK. That is according to the NBN Gateway site. We shall have to wait and see what the experts say. It was good to see that swifts and house martins are still here, also a green sandpiper is still hunting along the edge of one of the pools. It has now turned cold and I have put my vest on again.

[attachimg=1]

Narrow buckler fern.

[attachimg=2]

Perennial sow-thistle, Sonchus arvensis.

[attachimg=3]

Thyme-leaved sandwort, Arenaria serpyllifolia.

[attachimg=4]

Common blue.

[attachimg=5]

Dog daisy,s.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 16, 2019, 07:59:40 PM
[attachimg=1]

Great willowherb, Epilobium hirsutum, also known as Codlins-and-cream.

[attachimg=2]

Hedge bindweed, Calystegia sepium.

[attachimg=3]

Emerald damselfly.

[attachimg=4]

Ruby Tiger caterpillar.

[attachimg=5]

Un-identified fungi.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on August 16, 2019, 08:17:59 PM
Great willowherb, Epilobium hirsutum, also known as Codlins-and-cream.

 "Codlins-and-cream" - what an interesting name - nver  heard  it  before  -what are  codlins, I wonder?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 16, 2019, 08:31:22 PM
[attachimg=1]

Dead mans fingers fungi.

[attachimg=2]

Nettle Tap moth.

[attachimg=3]

Tree Damsel Bug, Himacerus apterus.

[attachimg=4]

Argyresthia goedartella.

[attachimg=5]

A sawfly larvae?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 16, 2019, 08:34:44 PM
Maggi, according to foodsofengland, codlins are small sour apples. I don,t know what the connection is though.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on August 16, 2019, 08:40:12 PM
Maggi, according to foodsofengland, codlins are small sour apples. I don,t know what the connection is though.
  Fancy that - does  seem  odd...  Thanks, Ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Tristan_He on August 16, 2019, 09:10:54 PM
Definitely not a sawfly larva Ian, they look like caterpillars but with more suckers. The thing in your picture looks more like a ladybird larva of some sort (not the common one though) or perhaps a lacewing larva.

Tristan
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 16, 2019, 09:13:58 PM
[attachimg=1]

An un-identified fungus.

[attachimg=2]

Possible Acletoxenus formosus?

[attachimg=3]

Un-identified Sheld Bug.

[attachimg=4]

Smooth Newt.

[attachimg=5]

Heather.

Birds noticed this week were, linnet, stonechat, lapwing, lesser black back gull, greater black back gull, mallard, teal, crane, sedge warbler, whitethroat, tufted duck, little grebe, house martin, pheasant, blue tit, wood pigeon, long tailed tit, robin, heron, crow, marsh harrier, willow warbler, reed bunting, merlin? green sandpiper, pied wagtail and swift. Butterflies were, small tortoishell, painted lady, peacock, gatekeeper, red admiral, common blue, speckled wood, meadow brown, small skipper and green veined white.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 21, 2019, 05:27:58 PM
Yesterday was sunny with strong winds. I noticed that the predominant colour of flowers just now is yellow, similar to spring flowers. The insects were making the most of the open flowers and I decided to try to take pictures of the insects but I know little about them. Perhaps someone can identify the unknown ones? While looking for insects I did not notice an adder and only saw it when it scurried under a bramble. Swifts, house martins, sand martins and swallows are still with us. I heard and saw a reed warbler next to a track. Also heard was a Grasshopper Warbler, I don,t know if this is late in the year for the bird, my only record of the species this year. Along a track I came across Marjoram, usually the flowers are purple but this specimen had white flowers. Normally a plant of limestone areas it is a first record for the site as far as I know.

[attachimg=1]

Bulrush, or to give its correct name, greater reed mace.

[attachimg=2]

Water plantain, Alisma plantago-aquatica.

[attachimg=3]

Vervain, Verbena officinalis, is spreading further along the track.

[attachimg=4]

Bee on fleabane.

[attachimg=5]

? on fleabane.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 21, 2019, 09:48:23 PM
[attachimg=1]

Heath Groundsel, Senecio sylvaticus.

[attachimg=2]

Hover fly.

[attachimg=3]

Bee?

[attachimg=4]

Ploughmans spikenard, Inula conyza.

[attachimg=5]

Anybody know this one?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 21, 2019, 09:56:02 PM
[attachimg=1]

????????

[attachimg=2]

Small spider.

[attachimg=3]

????????

[attachimg=4]

????????

[attachimg=5]

Rose bay willowherb. Found in areas across the site.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 21, 2019, 10:12:02 PM
Perhaps I should start a quiz for Entomologists but I don,t know the answers.

[attachimg=1]

Marjoram.

[attachimg=2]

Carnation sedge, Carex panicea.

[attachimg=3]

Common St. Johns-wort, Hypericum perforatum.

[attachimg=4]

Wood small-reed, Calamagrostis epigeios.

[attachimg=5]

Pyrausta aurata.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 21, 2019, 10:26:44 PM
[attachimg=1]

????????

[attachimg=2]

????????

[attachimg=3]

Michelmas daisy,

Introduced from America.

[attachimg=4]

Common knapweed.

Birds this week were, swift, house martin, sand martin, stonechat, pheasant, crow, tufted duck, mallard, teal, lapwing, snipe, reed warbler, sparrow hawk, pigeon, heron, linnet, blue tit, crane, great tit, grasshopper warbler, peregrine?, moorhen, grey lag geese, green sandpiper, marsh harrier, goldfinch and lesser black backed gull. Butterflies were, green veined white, meadow brown, gatekeeper, red admiral, painted lady, peacock, small white, small copper, small tortoishell and speckled wood. As I entered the site I had good views of two juvenile roe deer just a few yards away, the camera was not to hand. It was good to see the adder at this time of year when they are more active in the sun.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 29, 2019, 04:41:56 PM
Tuesday was a very hot day, for our area. Most birds seem to be keeping out of the sun. I met a fellow naturalist on site and we went to look for the Marjoram I found last week, as he had not seen it. While walking along a track he noticed a bird flying about 200 yards away, in the same direction. The bird was a raptor (bird of prey). It was light in colour and the same shape as a Harrier. We noticed that it had a light coloured rump. The bird was smaller than a Marsh Harrier. My companion rang the local bird recorder and described what we had seen. It turned out that the bird was a Montagu,s Harrier. A little further down the track my companion found a Spiked Shield Bug on bracken. He then saw a Looper caterpillar on a birch bush. We flushed a couple of cranes later on. Dragonflies and butterflies are still seen in good numbers. My companion had seen a Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher the day before. We decided to look for the birds again in the same area but were not lucky this time. Perhaps they were keeping under cover because of the heat, or had moved on.

[attachimg=1]

[attachimg=2]

Spiked shield bug.

[attachimg=3]

Gall on Crepis? stem, possibly caused by the gall wasp, Aulacidea hieracii.





Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on August 29, 2019, 04:46:16 PM


[attachimg=1]

Common blue at rest.

Birds seen were, Montagu,s harrier, mallard, teal, gadwall, lapwing, reed bunting, stonechat, crane, grey lag geese. Butterflies were, peacock, gatekeeper, painted lady, small tortoishell, red admiral and common blue.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 06, 2019, 01:03:24 PM
The weather this week was mixed, hot and humid at first then sunny with a cool wind. The wind makes photographing flowers difficult. I met one of the local naturalists on site and the first bird we saw was a Wheatear, a summer visitor to the UK they will be making their way South to sunnier countries for the winter. Later in the week I saw three juveniles?  Grey lag geese are arriving in greater numbers and spending the days on open water. My companion pointed to a Little Egret on the far side of one of the small lakes. It was too far away for a good photo. A member of the Heron family it is only the second time I have seen one. The first time was when I was in the back garden with a cup of tea. A heron seemed to take a dislike to the egret and a short argument followed, with the egret taking off. Later in the day it was back and while trying to take a decent photo. (and failing) a Red Kite flew over. My camera would not pick up the bird against the sky so I failed again to get a photo. We walked through a birch woodland and saw, or heard, several species of Tits with a Tree Creeper and a Goldcrest. In another birch woodland we heard the short call of a Turtle Dove. These will be leaving for their winter areas soon. Two adders and several lizards were seen along another track. House Martins and Swallows are still here in good numbers. The sun is still bringing out many butterflies but in lesser numbers.

[attachimg=1]
Wheatear

[attachimg=2]

Little Egret in flight.

[attachimg=3]

Yellow Stags-Horn fungus, Calocera viscosa.

[attachimg=4]

Stinkhorn, Phalus impudicus.

[attachimg=5]

Rhododendron leaf hoppers, introduced on plants from North America and now fairly common in the UK.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 06, 2019, 08:07:26 PM
[attachimg=1]

Heron and Little Egret fall out.

[attachimg=2]

Lavae cases? under Rhododendron leaves.

[attachimg=3]

Black covering on Rhododendron leaves which contained the lavae cases.

[attachimg=4]

Grey Club-rush.

[attachimg=5]

On one of the tracks.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 06, 2019, 08:15:38 PM
[attachimg=1]

A Harvestman, note the divided palps.

[attachimg=2]

A basking Adder.

[attachimg=3]

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium.

[attachimg=4]

A pool with Grey-lag Geese.

[attachimg=5]

Nodding Bur-marigold, Bidens cernua.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 06, 2019, 08:28:25 PM
[attachimg=1]

"Sputnik" galls on Dog Rose, caused by the gall wasp, Diplolepis nervosa.

[attachimg=2]

Another view of the pool with Grey Lag Geese.

[attachimg=3]

 Comma butterfly, showing the under-wing with the white comma.

[attachimg=4]

The seed of Burdock. As children we used to throw these at the clothing of other children. They were difficult to remove, due to the hooked bristles.

[attachimg=5]

A distant view of a Greenshank.

Birds this week were, wheatear, grey lag geese, little egret, buzzard, marsh harrier, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, tree creeper, goldcrest, sparrow hawk, wood pigeon, turtle dove, hobby, whinchat, red kite, crow, great spotted woodpecker, gadwall, teal, tufted duck, robin, blackbird, house martin, swallow, wren, lapwing, snipe, magpie, blackcap, chiff chaff, greenshank, canada geese, mallard, pheasant, linnet and kestrel.  Also seen were adder, lizard and rabbit. Butterflies were, common blue, comma, green veined white, red admiral, speckled wood, small white and small tortoishell.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on September 07, 2019, 07:58:06 PM
(Attachment Link)

An un-identified fungus.

This is Earthfan (Thelephora terrestris).
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on September 07, 2019, 08:00:01 PM
(Attachment Link)

Anybody know this one?

One of the Ear moths, possibly Large Ear, but difficult without dissection.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 07, 2019, 09:32:19 PM
 Thanks Chris.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 14, 2019, 11:55:44 AM
Thursday started out warm with no wind. Shortly after arriving on site the wind started and was quite strong. I met a colleague and we decided to walk to the southern edge. We saw a good number of House Martins passing through with a few Swallows. There are more Grey Lags and also many Canada Geese. Four Buzzards were displaying along with a Marsh Harrier. We stopped at the Nodding Bur-Marigold site so my colleague could photograph it. A hobby was hunting, quite a late sighting for the species. Not so many butterflies were noted, perhaps due to the wind. Small frogs were seen along the tracks. We had a look in a dry birch wood where Rhododendron had been cleared. Maybe due to the previous dense cover there was little of interest that we could see. The wood was mainly Downy Birch, Bracken and Bramble. Along another track we passed the site where Rannoch Rush, Scheuchzeria palustris, had been known in past times. Discovered here in about 1830 it began to decline due to drainage of the site. The last known "official" record was of one plant in 1870, although a noted local Naturalist recorded seeing the species at another location on the site in the 1940s? I re-found the original site after Rhododendron clearance a few years ago. The site, along with several other similar sites, was known as a "well." These were permanent deep clear water pools which were said to be bottomless. They are marked on old Ordnance Survey Maps of the site. The "Wells" contained a number of species which are now probably absent from the site, including White Beak Sedge, Rhyncospora alba, the three Sundews native to the UK, Bog hair-grass, Deschampsia setacea and Bog Sedge, Carex limosa. Other notable plants formerly recorded from the site were Viola stagnina, Peucedanum palustre, Calamagrostis stricta and Dryopteris cristata. Although these species have not been recorded from the site in recent times, due to the size and difficulty of access to many areas, they may still persist unseen. Along another track we disturbed what we at first thought was a cricket. Looking at the photo. it looks like a Long Winged Conehead, Conocephalus discolor. We went to look at the "sputnik" galls on Dog Rose I found last week so my colleague could photograph them. Earlier he had found a pea gall on Dog Rose. As we were leaving we saw a Greenshank looking for food on the dry edges of one of the pools.

[attachimg=1]

A larvae which my colleague thought might be a sawfly.

[attachimg=2]

In a dry Downy Birch woodland.

[attachimg=3]

The site of Rannoch Rush, long dried out due to drainage.

[attachimg=4]

Long Winged Conehead?

[attachimg=5]

Cep? on peat path.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 14, 2019, 12:13:25 PM
[attachimg=1]

A Small Copper at rest, quite a late record for the site.

[attachimg=2]

Carabus granulatus.

[attachimg=3]

Pea gall on Dog Rose.

Birds seen were, crow, teal, gadwall, mallard, grey lags, canada geese, tufted duck, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, buzzard, marsh harrier, kestrel, hobby, bullfinch, wood pigeon, willow tit, robin, blackbird, house martin, swallow, little grebe, goldcrest, lapwing, jay, coal tit, pheasant, greenshank and pied wagtail. Butterflies were green veined white, small white, small copper and speckled wood.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on September 18, 2019, 09:57:48 AM
The squammules on the stipe are too dark for cep, Ian. This is Leccinum aurantiacum, the orange oak bolete. A misnomer as it has nothing to do with oak but associates with creeping willow Salix repens.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on September 18, 2019, 10:44:46 AM
The squammules on the stipe are too dark for cep, Ian. This is Leccinum aurantiacum, the orange oak bolete. A misnomer as it has nothing to do with oak but associates with creeping willow Salix repens.
Had to look this  up!! ...... Squamules are  small scales or  lobes  and the  stipe  is the  stem, hope that's  right!
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 18, 2019, 09:08:43 PM
Thanks Chris, that is interesting. As far as I know there is no creeping willow in that area. The only examples I know of are about 1Km. away. There are other willows, S.cinerea, for example.

Yesterday was hot and sunny, more like a summers day. The difference being that the vegetation is now looking Autumnal. The Common Cotton-grass has turned to its Winter colour of reddish brown. I went to look at an area at the Northern edge of the site. This area is usually under water but due to the dry period we have had it is damp peat. In winter ducks, geese and waders use it for resting and foraging. While I was there a small group of Pink Footed Geese flew past. I had a call from the Site Manager about the management of an area where Dune Helleborine grows. This species is not common in our area and the area where it grows is being managed by the site team. Another area consisting of dense grass with a few flowers is to be managed, by mowing, as a flower meadow to encourage invertebrates. A female Common Blue butterfly was seen and it was noticed that its colour had faded. At first I thought it might be a Brown Argus. Bladderwort is still flowering in ditches. No Hobbys were seen yesterday. On one of the pools a good number of Grey-lag and Canada Geese were making a noise as a Marsh Harrier flew over. A Water Rail was heard "squeaking" from cover somewhere. Gadwall and Teal were on the pool but only a small number of Mallard. Several small birds were on wet peat scurrying about after insects but they were too far away for an identification. A telescope would be useful but it means it and a tripod would have to be carried. A Yellow Wagtail was seen searching among clumps of rushes on the damp peat. I saw the site manager again and as we were talking a female Marsh Harrier flew by and caused 15 Snipe to take to the air. This is quite a large number for the site, usually  I have only seen up to four. Butterflies were in smaller numbers and species yesterday. An adder and a common lizard were seen along one of the tracks.

[attachimg=1]

On the way to the site I stopped and photographed a wild clematis, C. vitalba.

[attachimg=2]

Leaf mines on a Meadowsweet plant.

[attachimg=3]

Cocoon on a Ragwort.

[attachimg=4]

Part of the dried area of peat.

[attachimg=5]

Another view showing pine tree stumps in-situ.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 18, 2019, 09:20:50 PM
[attachimg=1] 

Female common blue.

[attachimg=2]

Another view of the same one.

Birds noted were, crow, sparrow hawk, yellow-hammer, kestrel, marsh harrier, pink footed geese, grey lag geese, gadwall, teal, water rail, mallard, wood pigeon, goldfinch, linnet, magpie, buzzard, pheasant, common snipe, yellow wagtail and canada geese. Butterflies were small copper, red admiral, small white and speckled wood.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on September 19, 2019, 09:42:06 PM
The squammules on the stipe are too dark for cep, Ian. This is Leccinum aurantiacum, the orange oak bolete. A misnomer as it has nothing to do with oak but associates with creeping willow Salix repens.


I am no expert on this but in Norway L. aurantiacum is associated with aspen, oak, birch, sallow, beech..
http://www.risken.no/media/1091/leccinum-hoestsopptreffet-2018-weholt.pdf (http://www.risken.no/media/1091/leccinum-hoestsopptreffet-2018-weholt.pdf)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on September 27, 2019, 08:30:18 AM
I am no expert on this but in Norway L. aurantiacum is associated with aspen, oak, birch, sallow, beech..
[url]http://www.risken.no/media/1091/leccinum-hoestsopptreffet-2018-weholt.pdf[/url] ([url]http://www.risken.no/media/1091/leccinum-hoestsopptreffet-2018-weholt.pdf[/url])

Hi Both

I've been away so just picked up on your comments. I mentioned creeping willow specifically as I thought that the most likely at your site. However, it associated with most willows and particularly likes aspen and I've seen it with birch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 27, 2019, 04:56:04 PM
Thanks Chris, there are some more in todays diary. Yesterday was dry with some sun and clouds. The forecast rain held off. I met a fellow naturalist on site and we looked at various habitats. We noticed several house martins and swallows were still here. More grey lag geese and pink footed were arriving. Four Marsh Harriers were seen flushing ducks from the pools. A large gull was roosting on a tree stump in one of the pools. My colleague said it was there the day before and seemed to have a drooping wing. He thought the wing was damaged. A snipe was seen at the side of one pool. Tuesday was rain all day and this had flooded some of the pools which had dried out. A few butterflies were seen including a late Painted Lady. Two Cranes were seen in the distance, they will be leaving soon for the Winter. A small flock of Golden Plovers flew passed us as we were deciding where to go. While going along a track to a wet woodland a Cettis Warbler was heard calling from ditch-side bushes. This loud bird is hardly ever seen on the site but is easily heard due to the intensity of its call.
Before we entered the woodland we heard the roar of a stag and hoped we would not come face to face with the animal. Luckily we did not. Contractors are on site with machinery clearing drains. We came across a flattened Adder along one of the tracks. There was little bird life observed in the wood, perhaps they were keeping a low profile? A single Hobby was seen, still chasing Dragonflies. Dragonflies and Darters are still fairly common, especially in sheltered areas of woodland. It is getting cooler now as soon as the sun goes below the horizon. Some Tansy plants are still in flower, we noticed galls on some of the flowers, probably caused by the gall midge, Rhopalomyia tanaceticola. A good number of Fungi were seen, many not identified by us. We did find a number of dead mans fingers on a fallen willow. Possible Russulas, puff balls and a cep as well as Orange Peel? Autumnal colours are well advanced now but the birch trees are still mainly green.

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Autumn colours.

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Orange peel fungus?

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A silver Y moth.

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Puff ball?

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Tansy flowers with galls.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on September 27, 2019, 05:06:03 PM
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Cep?

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Adder, recently flattened by machinery?

Birds noted were, snipe, marsh harrier, hobby, house martin, grey lag, pink foot and canada geese, teal, gadwall, crow, crane, buzzard, long tailed tit, blue tit, bullfinch, chiff chaff, cettis warbler, jay, pied wagtail, stonechat, meadow pipit, swallow, robin, wren, golden plover, blackbird and mallard. Butterflies were, comma, small white, red admiral and painted lady.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Chris Johnson on September 28, 2019, 06:46:28 AM
Yes to all three fungi. It's proving to be a good season.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 09, 2019, 05:33:38 PM
Last week was too wet for exploring the site, but good for the habitat. Areas which had become damp peat are now flooded again. One of the first birds I saw yesterday was a Great Crested Grebe. They are fairly common on large ponds and lakes in other areas but not often seen on our site. The day started sunny with a light breeze. By mid-day the wind had increased. I went along the Eastern edge of the site and could hear a red deer stag roaring in the distance. Sound carries a long way on the site. I could also hear chain saws. Tree clearance is once again taking place. I decided to walk along a track towards the deer calls, which were coming from a birch covered area and soon found that the track sides were covered in dense bracken. Not wanting to surprise a stag by suddenly appearing close by I began to whistle and shake the metal shooting stick I was carrying. The roaring ceased and I carried on slowly. Reaching another track which was at 90 degrees to the right and well mown, I carried on up this path with more confidence. About 300 yards up the track I saw a late Comma butterfly and stopped to photograph it. Afterwards I turned round and saw a figure in what appeared to be dark clothing. I looked through the binoculars and saw that the figure was a stag which was trotting towards me. It stopped and stood looking at me as if un-decided what I was. It started towards me again for quite a distance and then stopped again. After the stag came towards me for the third time I thought that the animal may have mis-taken me for a rival and decide to charge so I shouted, come on, and it realised what I was and dis-appeared into the dense birch scrub but not before I managed three photos. of the event. I notice from the nearest image that it had twelve points, making it a Royal. I was told that the local stags are larger than the Scottish ones due to them being better fed. I noticed a small flock of Goldfinch feeding on seed-heads further on. I also came across one of the contractors felling the trees. He told me they expect to be on site until the end of November. A male Marsh Harrier flew by low down, hoping to flush small birds or animals. I had a brief glimpse of what looked like a Hobby, late in the year for the species here. A snipe flew up from one of the tracks I was on. Two Jays were calling in the distance and I flushed another from some willow bushes. I noticed a Chiff Chaff or a Willow Warbler in a bush, not easy to identify unless they are singing. A single swallow flew past as I was walking along another track. Four red deer hinds were seen as singles in various places. As I was re-tracing my route on another track, something moved among the tall grass near by. It was a fox and it hadn,t seen me. I took a couple of pictures but it was hidden in the Glyceria, (a tall grass which grows in wet areas). On my way off site I saw about twelve stonechats along the main track. Fungi are doing well this year.

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A red deer hind watching from cover.

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Fly Agaric.

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Fox and cubs still in flower.

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Un-identified fungus.



Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 09, 2019, 09:14:33 PM
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Another un-identified fungus.

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Water chickweed still in flower.

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A late Comma.

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A stag investigates an intruder into his patch.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 09, 2019, 09:18:34 PM
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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 09, 2019, 09:26:13 PM
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Common darter.

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Alder buckthorn with flower buds.

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One of the Stonechats seen.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 09, 2019, 09:34:14 PM
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A Fox hunting in the tall grass.

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You can just see its ears behind the left end of the fallen tree.

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Rose hips.

Birds seen were, teal, mallard, great crested grebe, goldfinch, magpie, marsh harrier, tufted duck, hobby? crow, long tailed tit, blue tit, wood pigeon, blackbird, wren, robin, snipe, jay, chiff chaff/willow warbler, swallow, jackdaw, pheasant and stonechat. Four red deer hinds and a stag, one frog.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 16, 2019, 06:08:24 AM
Hi Ian,

I have been enjoying your postings.  8)

I do have one question - For how many years have you been going out to your patch?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 16, 2019, 07:43:55 PM
Hello Robert, I first visited the site in 1972 with a local naturalist. He had found a bronze age trackway. I used to carry out voluntary work in the local museum and was invited to see the trackway. I joined the local natural history society and we visited the site several times between 1980 and the mid 1990s. I carried out a botanical survey of another local site about 2005-2006. I then decided to survey the present site in 2010. I have been going most weeks since then. I am still finding plants that have not been recorded there before and plants that are appearing in other 1Km. squares. I record plants on a 1Km. square basis because the records will be repeatable in the future. (Providing that maps are not altered). I also keep a look out for birds, animals, butterflies etc.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on October 17, 2019, 12:56:47 AM
Hello Ian,

Thank you for sharing your background and experience at your patch. I admire your long-term dedication to the patch. I now have a greater appreciation for your efforts and your written diary. I hope you can continue your efforts and I look forward to your next posting. I am progressing in my studies and application. Maybe in 6 years or so, I will be in a position to ask pertinent questions regarding your activities at the patch, however I hope that I can continue to express my support and encouragement on a regular basis.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 17, 2019, 10:34:57 PM
Thanks Robert. This weeks weather was mixed, with more rain, wind and cooler. Luckily the two days I usually go to the site were dry and mostly sunny, although the wind started by early afternoon making the air cold. I met another local naturalist on site on both days and we went to the south of the site on Tuesday and the North-East today. Many pink-footed geese are flying in, in one area of farmland approaching the site there were about 1000. Smaller skeins were coming in on both days. Stonechats are quite common along one of the tracks. My colleague heard a chiff chaff (my hearing is not as good). A few early Redwing were seen flying over. A goldcrest was seen among birch trees hunting for food. Water rail was heard calling (a Squeek) from a ditch. My colleague heard a siskin calling. A group of snipe flew up from a rushy area, 23 in all. We stayed until dusk on Tuesday hoping to see Short-eared owl. Eventually two were seen high up flying near a Marsh Harrier. My colleague found a Giant willow aphid on a fence. We think this is a first record for the site. Today was a good day for birds. Early on we saw a Marsh Harrier flying with a Kestrel. Then a Buzzard came into view. A dog? fox was seen hunting in grass, possibly the same one as before as it was in the same area. Red deer were heard roaring in the distance. We heard a Cettis warbler calling from an Elderberry bush and went to look. Two flew out of the bush. Cranes were calling a long way off but not seen. We decided to walk along a track where Bearded Tits have been seen and managed to see seven, both sexes. Too far off for decent photos. As we were returning along the track two Sparrow Hawks flew out of a tree next to my colleague. A Lesser Redpoll flew passed us, calling. Later we saw a Peregrine fly across a field, scattering a number of birds. The site staff are busy mowing paths now that they have their machinery back from repairs. Fungi are found on woodland trees and on the tracks, most are not identified by us.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ArnoldT on October 18, 2019, 03:10:49 AM
I'd like to thank Ian and Robert for taking me on such a wonderful ride these past months.

I've seen and 'been' to places that have left me in a state of wonder.

Keep up the good work it is much appreciated.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2019, 02:42:13 PM
Thanks Arnold, it,s good to hear that other people are interested in our exploits.

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Giant willow aphid,

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 18, 2019, 02:48:12 PM
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It,s that fox again.

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A male Bearded tit.

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Birds seen this week, pink footed geese, skylark, kestrel, stonechat, marsh harrier, chiff chaff, redwing, bullfinch, goldcrest, tufted duck, gadwall, teal, mallard, long tailed tit, missel thrush, jay, water rail, coal tit, siskin, pied wagtail, snipe, yellowhammer, mute swan, short eared owl, pheasant, buzzard, goldfinch, magpie, cettis warbler, jackdaw, crane, crow, bearded tit, lapwing, sparrow hawk, lesser redpoll, peregrine, great spotted woodpecker, starling and moorhen. Animals were red deer, roe deer and fox.





Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 22, 2019, 09:00:29 PM
Today was dull but dry. I met a fellow naturalist on site. He had seen a group of Whooper Swans before I arrived. Along a track we saw a Red Legged Partridge, an un-common bird for the site. Fieldfares and Redwings are arriving from their summer areas. A group of Goldfinches were feeding in the tree tops along with a couple of Greenfinches. Greenfinches have declined over the last few years. We decided to walk along the Northern edge of the site. This has been difficult in recent years due to the track being overgrown with brambles etc. Someone has cleared a route through and it was easy walking. My colleague pointed to a Red Deer hind which trotted on to the adjacent field. It was moving in a zig zag route and stopped when it came to a small ditch. Then it turned and came back towards us. My colleague said that he could see that its right eye (the side nearest to us) was cloudy. A few Red Deer on site are blind. It is thought that the problem is hereditary due to a restricted gene pool. A Red Deer stag was brought from Scotland to alter the gene pool but the local stags would not let it stay. It is the policy to shoot blind deer at the site. Later on we heard a Tawny Owl call from a wood. Lesser Redpoll were heard calling as they flew over. We saw a Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier together. Also seen were several Kestrel and a Sparrow Hawk. Many fungi were growing among willow trees, including Fly Agaric and Blewits. My colleague heard a Goldcrest calling. Later in the afternoon we decided to look at one of the larger pools to see if any Winter visiting birds were there. We noticed a female Goosander in company with a female Red Breasted Merganser, maybe the same bird we saw last winter. As we were leaving we had good views of a Roe Deer buck by the track.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on October 22, 2019, 09:19:16 PM
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The blind deer.

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A late Small Copper on Tansy.

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The Roe Deer buck.

Birds seen were, kestrel, redwing, skylark, pink foot geese, sparrow hawk, marsh harrier, goldfinch, red legged partridge, lapwing, fieldfare, greenfinch, lesser redpoll, bullfinch, snipe, pheasant, magpie, buzzard, tawny owl, goldcrest, stonechat, starling, water rail, cettis warbler, great spotted woodpecker, teal, gadwall, tufted duck, mallard, little grebe, willow tit, goosander, red breasted merganser, coal tit, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, chaffinch, crow, grey lag goose, pigeon, wren, robin and blackbird.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 01, 2019, 04:05:26 PM
We were lucky with the weather this week. After days of rain we had clear skies for a few days. It has turned to rain again today. A local farmer and naturalist keeps rain fall records and says we have had 51/2" of rain in October. This is much more than usual. Water levels on the site are high, which is good for the site. I met a colleague on site and we walked along one of the paths which was being mown to reduce the grass height. We noticed small flocks of Fieldfare and also starlings. My colleague heard a Lesser Redpoll calling as it flew past. Skeins of Pink Footed Geese were arriving all day on both days. We flushed two Snipe from a wet area, one was a Common Snipe, the other a Jack Snipe. A Cettis Warbler called from a bush in an area I had not heard them before. They seem to be on the increase. Marsh Harriers and Buzzards are seen on most visits. Buzzards mostly hunt from a higher elevation than Harriers, which tend to rely on flushing prey from the reed beds. Several Kestrels were hovering in different parts of the site. We stay until dusk to observe birds coming in for the night. Once the sun has gone down the air soon turns chilly. We are now getting mild frosts. Most trees have turned yellow or brown, soon to shed their leaves. It seems to me that the Autumn colours are about a month later than they were in the 1980s. There are not many oaks on the site, mostly juveniles. Those that we have are still mainly green. It is now time for woolly hats, gloves and thick socks. We are warm enough when we are moving but soon cold when in one place looking for birds in the gloom. We were rewarded by a Hen Harrier and three Short Eared Owls. Also seen were two Roe Deer browsing on the vegetation.

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Mowing grass on one of the tracks.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 01, 2019, 04:16:47 PM
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Dog Lichen?

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A late caterpillar.

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A Buzzard overhead.

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Large Wainscot


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My colleague found several rose hips which had minute growths on them. He posted a picture of the hips and people thought the growths were bristles. The roses are R. canina, which do not have bristles on the hips. Closer inspection reveals that the growths have small dark spore cups on the ends. They seem to be tiny fungi, growing out of the hips.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 01, 2019, 04:28:25 PM
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Dusk.

Birds seen or heard were, fieldfare, siskin, kestrel, stonechat, buzzard, lesser redpoll, marsh harrier, starling, long tailed tit, goldcrest, chiiff chaff, common snipe, jack snipe, pink footed geese, pheasant, crow, magpie, blackbird, chaffinch, blue tit, wood pigeon, pied wagtail, redwing, cettis warbler, sparrow hawk, bearded tit, grey lag geese, reed bunting, hen harrier and short eared owl.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 02, 2019, 07:24:03 PM
Hi Ian,

I know so very little about your site, but I am presuming that high water levels at the site have something to do with the conservation goals at the site. Based on your photographs it appears that the site is being maintained as a wetland ecosystem. You made reference to oak trees, Quercus I presume, somewhere at the site. Are there drier locations at your site? On a previous posting you also mentioned the removal/thinning? of birch (Betula). It is difficult for me to understand why they are being removed; they seem to be a native species. It seems that they would be part of a pioneer type succession forest that would eventually become a nursery for an oak forest. This is a lot of guessing on my part.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 02, 2019, 09:52:56 PM
Hello Robert, there are many habitats on the site. The oaks, mostly Q. robur, are on the slightly raised, not so wet, ground. The birch, B. pendula in drier areas and B. pubescens in wetter areas, colonise ground that is not permanently under water. The birch quickly take over ground that dries out in summer. This has an accumulated drying effect due to transpiration through their leaves. The aim is to restore the site to a raised bog, although this will probably not cover the whole site. Due to around 200 years of peat removal, small scale at first, then mechanised, the ground surface is not level across the whole area. The centre of the site is about six feet above the surrounding areas. It is this area which contains the remains of the bog flora and its associated invertebrates. The aim is to re-wet the surrounding ground to allow the bog species to spread out from the centre of the site. It is a long term project. The site is the largest area of lowland peat bog in the country. Seen from above the site looks flat but there are many subtle changes in the topography. This is why there are so many habitats and these support a wide range of wildlife. We are finding species that have not been recorded on the site before and some are new to the County. You are right in thinking that the succession from birch to oak would take place, especially if the site became too dry. This is not what is wanted. In this country we have destroyed over 90% of lowland peat areas. (I think the figure has been quoted as 98%). Also lost has been the wildlife that depend on this type of habitat. The second half of this year has been wetter than normal, with present water levels at the site quickly replacing the water losses over the "summer." Our area is in a rain shadow and the recorded rain in October is up on previous years.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 02, 2019, 10:56:29 PM
Ian,

Thank you so much for the brief overview of the site. It helps my understanding considerably. It also helps me put your activities into perspective.

Very  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 07, 2019, 11:24:39 AM
Not much to report this week except rain, rain and more rain. I paid a visit to the site but the mist was quite low and visibility poor. Birds were very few, the ones I did see were reed bunting, snipe, kestrel, marsh harrier, mallard, crow, pink footed geese were heard somewhere in the mist but not seen.

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The leaves of birch are mainly yellow now and it will not be long before they have fallen. The grasses, especially Molinea caerulea, are also in their final colours. Still, we can look forward to new growth in a few weeks time.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 13, 2019, 08:30:40 PM
Today saw a break in the monotonous rain, with clear skies and very still. We have been reliably informed that unscrupulous persons are researching areas where hen harriers frequent and passing the information to game keepers etc. The point of this is to kill the hen harriers. Sometimes by shooting and sometimes by poison.  All birds of prey are supposedly protected by the Law. The rich people who own large estates used for shooting grouse and pheasants don,t want wildlife interfering with their "sport." There have been very few cases where the landowners or their staff have been successfully prosecuted for illegally killing birds of prey. Red Kites in Scotland are being killed just because they are birds of prey. Red Kites are scavengers. I wonder how long it will be before the public ask why this is allowed to happen in the 21st. century. We took a walk today to see how much the water has risen in already wet areas. There is to be a one day search for Sphagnum mosses at the end of the week. Several Stonechats were seen perched at the top of bushes. A small group of Black Headed Gulls were on one of the ponds, they are not seen very often now the breeding season is past. Three Goosanders flew by as we were scanning the areas. One Snipe was flushed by a drain. Small groups of Fieldfare and Redwing were feeding on Hawthorn berries. My companion heard Bearded Tits calling and we saw several at the back of tall reeds along a track. Further down the track we stopped for a hot drink and heard a Cettis Warbler calling from a willow bush. As it was getting dusk we saw a Short Eared Owl hunting. Then a Barn Owl flew past us. The Short Eared Owl did not like the competition and chased the Barn Owl. A large flock of Pink Footed Geese were seen in the distance. By this time we were cold from standing about and left as it was getting dark.

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We saw several yellow puffballs. I don,t know if the colour was due to their age or the weather.

Birds today were, stonechat, marsh harrier, black headed gull, mallard, goosander, snipe, fieldfare, redwing, reed bunting, kestrel, buzzard, blue tit, long tailed tit, bearded tit, great tit, cettis warbler, short eared owl, barn owl, pigeon, crow, wren, robin, grey lag geese and pink footed geese.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 14, 2019, 02:37:58 PM
Hi Ian,

We have many of the same difficulties here in California. There are thresholds, some known others yet to be discovered. There are plenty of consequences to the shooting of raptors and we all will have to deal with the consequences. My attitude is that these things have always happened on this planet. It is still very sad. Unless something changes, "business as usual" will destroy humanity on this planet. Those of us that care about such things have to travel against the flow and accept what others do. I have always been amazed at the power of setting a good example and let good actions speak.  :)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 14, 2019, 03:09:18 PM
Robert, we are still a long way from being civilised but I suspect it is due to apathy.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 21, 2019, 09:47:06 PM
It was mixed weather this week, with frost at first then dull and cold. Water levels are still rising across the site. It has not rained here for a few days but the excess rain we did have is still making its way slowly to lower areas. I met a colleague on site and we walked along a track which was wet but passable. Birds were few at first until we reached an area of bushes and trees. Fieldfares and redwings were feeding on hawthorn berries. There are not as many redwings here this year. No ducks were seen on the first day but pink footed geese are still arriving in good numbers. Starlings are coming to the site in small flocks, making several hundred in all. We stayed until it was quite dark, getting good views of a barn owl hunting. It was joined by a second barn owl. We also saw a short eared owl. When the light had almost gone a large dark bird flew past us and my colleague thought it may have been a long eared owl. We were told of contractors on site who are planting sphagnum in areas where sphagnum is scarce. We were not able to find them so I decided to look again today after being told where they were likely to be. The sphagnum species are ones which have been recorded at the site and they have been grown commercially for restoration projects. Several thousand plugs have already been planted. I went to look at the work being carried out and passed a small lake on the way. Many mallard and teal were on the lake along with a shoveler. I also heard wigeon calling and saw several, which were joined by another group flying in. The wet woodlands are now flooded, even though the "new" pump was running. I suppose it will be a case of keeping enough water on site during winter to compensate for next "summers" hotter temperatures.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 21, 2019, 09:58:49 PM
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Bags of sphagnum plugs waiting to be planted.

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Sphagnum plugs recently planted.

Birds seen were, kestrel, stonechat, teal, mallard, reed bunting, marsh harrier, wren, robin, fieldfare, redwing, blackbird, buzzard, goldcrest, blue tit, long tailed tit, starling, crow, wood pigeon, pink footed geese, grey lag geese, snipe, water rail, barn owl, short eared owl, pheasant, bullfinch, wigeon, shoveler, great tit, great spotted woodpecker, jay and magpie. Also seen were three roe deer and a fox.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 23, 2019, 05:56:44 PM
Hi Ian,

Thank you for the informative posting. I appreciate the time you took to answering some of my questions regarding your “patch”. Your answers to my questions helped me acquire a greater degree of clarity regarding the processes and long-term objectives at your “patch”. With some clarity on my part, I find your postings much more interesting and easier to follow.

I also have a great deal of admiration toward your long-term dedication to our “patch”. We need more concerned and motivated people like you on this planet. Thank you for your efforts and dedication.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 23, 2019, 07:09:56 PM
Thanks Robert. I am not a trained naturalist. Anyone with a love of wildlife can go to their local area and observe plants and animals going about their daily business. If people are not able to get far outdoors they can also record the wildlife that visit their gardens, if they have one. Putting out food and growing plants that are useful to all members of the wildlife community is a great start to building knowledge. Also important is the publics determination not to allow the destruction of the countryside for the profit of the minority. I think, as I,m sure many people do, that their local site is a special place. My local site is under constant pressure, even from those who are supposed to be responsible for protecting our wildlife and habitats. Destruction is only possible if the general public don,t care what happens to habitats. Good hunting on your quests.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on November 24, 2019, 10:00:47 AM
I am also reading your postings, Ian. It is very interesting. Your flora and fauna is somewhat similar to ours here. Now it is a kind of "war" going on. The demand for "clean" energy has prompted building of wind turbines. And people have been aware that the turbines (on land) need a lot of space including roads. So now remote areas previously not of interest for the industry are proposed for building turbines. The increasing number of electric vehicles in Norway (approaching 10% of the total) demand "clean" energy which doesn't exist. People seem to believe that electric cars do not emit CO2 or other pollution. They do not consider the necessary mining industry to extract the rare earths and the energy needed to charge the cars.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 24, 2019, 10:55:24 AM
You are right Trond. My local "patch" is surrounded by wind farms, making the area look like an industrial landscape. I think that wind farms should be erected where the electricity is needed i.e. london etc. (Hyde Park).  I take photos. that do not show the monstrosities. If people like the look of wind farms why don,t they have them in their areas? The fact that these sources of energy are needed is well known? I wonder if the wind does not blow near the large cities that need more electricity. Better planning of the locations of these structures is needed.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on November 25, 2019, 06:53:05 PM
Ian and Trond,

You both bring up some interesting and important points. Here in California we also have a campaign to adapt and switch over to electric vehicles. I too question where the electricity will come from to power all the proposed electric vehicles. At this time, so-called “green” and renewable sources of electricity seem unrealistic, as a primary power source for the millions of proposed electric vehicles and the remaining electrical needs of California. I do not see how a large consumption of fossil fuels can be avoided to both produce electricity and maintain the production and infrastructure of electric powered vehicles. CO2 diffuses quickly through the atmosphere, so sending it somewhere else does nothing to ameliorate global atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Then there is the issue of the rapid expansion of the electric power grid. This too will require fossil fuels both to produce and accomplish. And what about our recent and chronic electric power outages in Northern California? One is not going to be driving their electric car very far if the electric grid is down and they have not been able to charge their electric vehicle. In addition, there is the issue of energy return on energy invested. How efficient will this be? As you can see, for me there are many unanswered questions regarding electric vehicles and how they will truly reduce carbon emissions here in the state of California. I do believe that some effort should be made to ameliorate the carbon issue, but currently the solution has the appearance of more of a money making scheme and a “look good” propaganda campaign.

In California, electric wind turbines cause the death of unknown numbers of wild birds each year. California was once a major migration flyway for birds. Now we wonder where the birds have gone, we just do not see them any more. Globally, wild bird populations are dropping at an alarming rate. The causes for this are many, however electric wind turbines are certainly contributing at least a small portion to the global decline in wild bird populations.

On the positive side, I agree with Ian 100%, the positive actions of concerned citizens (and hopefully eventually a large portion of the population) is most likely the only way positive change will be accomplished. The “Save the Earth”/ ecology action of the late 1960’s and 1970’s was nothing more than a now long gone fad. It is only those truly committed to living consciously and deliberately on the Earth to the best of their ability that continue and persist to today. It seems very important that concerned citizens continue despite seemly having to go it alone and swim upstream against a very strong current. The purpose of “business as usual” is to make money and maintain the status quo. Its track record for altruistic change is extremely poor. It is not realistic to expect anything other than superficial meaningless change from “business as usual” and a continuation of how it has been running the planet for, at least, the last 4 to 6 thousand years.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on November 28, 2019, 08:04:54 AM
Birds are a big problem. Here one wind farm alone has killed 100 white tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in a few years and many other birds.

https://www.tu.no/artikler/faktisk-no-100-havorner-funnet-drept-av-vindturbiner-pa-smola/475269 (https://www.tu.no/artikler/faktisk-no-100-havorner-funnet-drept-av-vindturbiner-pa-smola/475269)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 28, 2019, 10:12:28 PM
The grey, wet weather continued this week. On tuesday the sun came out about 30 minutes before it set. Today the visibility was so poor that the scarlet caps on Cladonia turned out brown on the photos. On tuesday we saw 7 marsh harriers circling to the east of us. We only walked a short distance on both days due to the threatening rain clouds. I think that this year will be the wettest on record in our area, which is normally fairly dry. Walking along one track we saw a small dark fox, possibly a vixen. Three roe deer were also seen. My colleague spotted a tree creeper searching for insects at the base of a small birch tree. Pink footed geese are still arriving but in lesser numbers. Goldcrest are more easily seen now that the leaves have fallen. Snipe can be heard calling from areas of cottongrass tufts. On tuesday a light- coloured female marsh harrier was seen perching on a tree overlooking one of the pools. Barn owl and short-eared owl were seen as it was getting dark. A large gathering of starlings (murmuration) was seen displaying in the distance. My colleague thought he had seen two cranes in the mist. This would be a late record for the site. The raptors were flushing good numbers of fieldfare from their evening roosts.

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The light coloured female marsh harrier, the females on site are usually darker brown.

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The sun came out just in time to set.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on November 28, 2019, 10:22:20 PM
[attachimg=1]

The Cladonia spore capsules look brown in the poor light. There are two species in the photo.

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A tiny yellow fungus beside an old log.

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The water in this ditch is much higher than normal, with water starwort and possibly Glyceria fluitans.

[attachimg=4]

Greasy tough-shank, Collybia butracia?

[attachimg=5]

Birds seen this week were, marsh harrier, robin, stonechat, kestrel, grey lag geese, snipe, pink foot geese, tree creeper, goldcrest, crow, pigeon, long tailed tit, blue tit, teal, wren, fieldfare, sparrow hawk, barn owl, short eared owl, reed bunting, mallard, redwing and starlings.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 01, 2019, 02:53:48 PM
I have found out that the brown colour of the capsules on post 713 is due to the lap-top and not the camera. I have down-loaded a true colour photo. on my old computer and the capsules are red. I don,t know why the lap top sees the colour as brown. On my old computer the colour is red but on the lap top it is brown, looking at the forum site. What colour do members see?
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Maggi Young on December 01, 2019, 03:14:50 PM
I take  it  you  mean these, Ian    - "The Cladonia spore capsules look brown in the poor light "   ?
On my laptop they appear orange.    I  presume  individual machine  settings  vary ??
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Nicholson on December 01, 2019, 08:39:10 PM
Orange on my iPad too.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 02, 2019, 10:37:55 AM
I have just taken three photos. of a red subject with the camera. I used different settings on the camera, allowing for "close up" settings which I used for the Cladonia. All three pictures are red on the camera and lap top. I don,t know why the Cladonia should appear as a different colour. Another mystery.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on December 02, 2019, 04:37:20 PM
On my Mac they appear red-orange so I didn't quite understand what yo talked about ;)

Maybe I see that colour because I am used to see them red! Like this:

[attachimg=1]

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Lyttle on December 04, 2019, 08:44:48 PM
I have just taken three photos. of a red subject with the camera. I used different settings on the camera, allowing for "close up" settings which I used for the Cladonia. All three pictures are red on the camera and lap top. I don,t know why the Cladonia should appear as a different colour. Another mystery.

Hello Ian,

Very much enjoy your visits to your "local patch". Always lots of interest there. the question of the orange Cladonias has intrigued me - they should be the beautiful red colour shown in Trond's photo. I have taken the liberty to download your photo and play with it a bit as I thought your white balance settings might be wrong. No joy there which leaves the camera. Very unlikely as it's a fairly capable model Your laptop might be the problem but my screen via the world wide web displays your Cladonias as orange and Trond's as red so unless your photo processing software is doing something bizarre there is unlikely to be a problem there. However cameras do not always see the same colours that the eye sees. Here is my explanation. The photo was taken with flash. We see red Cladonias because they reflect red light therefore Cladonias that are orange are not reflecting red light. Red light is absent or in short supply because the flash does not supply enough red light. If this is so you should be able to test it by re-photographing your Cladonias with the flash turned off. For my own photography I only use flash as a last resort as I consider it gives an un-natural colour rendition to the subject.

A photo from my "local patch" taken a couple of days ago ISO 5000 f11 1/40 sec hand held. Modern dSLRs have amazing capabilities. The orchid is Earina mucronata an epiphytic orchid that grows on trees.This photo was taken under trees in low light.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 04, 2019, 10:11:01 PM
Thanks for your input David. I don,t use flash either as I prefer natural light, even in poor light conditions. I have in the past used flash and found the results poor. I should be on the site again tomorrow and will look for fruiting Cladonia to see if the results are the same.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: David Lyttle on December 05, 2019, 07:58:40 AM
Thanks for your input David. I don,t use flash either as I prefer natural light, even in poor light conditions. I have in the past used flash and found the results poor. I should be on the site again tomorrow and will look for fruiting Cladonia to see if the results are the same.

Sorry I misread the metadata details that are embedded in your image; it says your flash was off and did not fire but your white balance setting was for flash which would explain why the colours were not rendered correctly.

So much for my original theory.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 05, 2019, 08:16:17 PM
Thanks David. I don,t know how to look at the details in the image unless it,s on the camera. I will have to look at the camera manual to see how to alter the white balance.
Today was dull with a cold wind after six days of sun and frost. I was late on site and my usual companion had met the site manager and gone to the south of the site. I met up with them about mid-day. We walked through the flooded main track, the water was about eight inches deep in some places. Birds were keeping out of the exposed areas most of the time. We saw a female marsh harrier hunting over the reed beds. A group of birds were flitting about in the tops of birch trees and I thought they were redpolls. We stopped in the shelter of some reeds for a hot drink and heard a buzzard calling. Fieldfare and redwing were eating hawthorn berries along the main track. We also noticed several small fish swimming along the track, in deep water. Both the old and "new" pumps were working but we have had so much rain in the last three months that little effect is noticeable in the water levels so far. A party of long tailed tits were seen in the bushes along the track. These groups of tits are worth taking the time to look at as other small birds join them in winter. We made our way to our usual advantage point where we can scan a large area for birds. Soon after arriving two cormorants flew past. Three roe deer were seen grazing not far away. As it was getting dusk a short eared owl appeared near by.

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Polytrichum commune?

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A winter scene on one of the tracks.

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The flooded main track.

The site is dismal looking in winter with dull skies and the vegetation has lost its summer green-ness. We have to be well wrapped up with several layers of warm clothing, coats, hats, scarves and gloves but it is still much better than sitting at home looking at the walls. You never know what you are going to see and maybe come across un-common wildlife.

Birds today were, reed bunting, blackbird, marsh harrier, crow, mallard, redpoll, buzzard, starling, fieldfare, redwing, long tailed tit, blue tit, wren, cormorant, short eared owl and snipe.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 12, 2019, 12:56:50 PM
Yesterday was a bright clear start but by early afternoon the wind got up and turned the sky grey. Summer seems a long time ago now but in a couple of weeks we will be having more daylight. I entered the site at the eastern end. The idea was to get a view of the starlings we had seen from our vantage point in the West, coming in to roost. The largest reed bed is in the North-Eastern part of the site. First of all I walked to a large flooded area to look for ducks on the water. I was rewarded with several species. The largest number were mallards. They were swimming with a good number of wigeon. Wigeon make a high pitched whistling sound. The males have a dark brown head with a golden stripe. There were a few teal and five goosanders. Also there were several tufted duck. I also noticed a couple of duck which I did not recognise at first. They were quite large, with upward pointed tails. I realised that they were pintail. They are not recorded on the site very often. The "new pump" was running and moving a lot of water but the woods are still flooded and in-accessible. This is good for the site as a whole as we don,t know what the coming summer will be like. We need plenty of water on site in case next summer is a long hot one and evaporation becomes a problem. I saw several goldfinch, feeding on teasel heads. Along a track were two cettis warblers, whose song is short and loud, usually starting with two clear notes and ending with a trill. A flock of about two hundred lapwings flew past as I was walking along a track. A goldcrest was looking for insects among a group of blue tits, in willow bushes. Magpies were making a noise at the top of a tall bush then a fox appeared out of the vegetation a little way in front of me. At first it was busy looking for something then it noticed me and ran off. It was a big animal, probably a dog fox. Blackbirds, fieldfare and redwing are still feeding on hawthorn berries, which are not that common on the site. A grey squirrel ran across the track and dis-appeared up a large willow tree. They are not seen all that often on the site, keeping to the periphery where trees are more common. A yellowhammer was in a large hawthorn, again, these are not seen very often. A male and a female marsh harrier were hunting over the reeds in the hope of flushing something. As it was getting dusk I made my way to the large reed bed and stood among some birch bushes in the hope of seeing a starling "murmuration." I had only been there a few minutes when a group of starlings appeared from the west. They are not seen very often during the day. They started wheeling above the reeds and were soon joined by other groups. When a male marsh harrier approached they bunched together in a rapidly moving display. There were not the huge numbers seen on TV in other parts of the country but I estimated that there were around 1500 birds and probably more to arrive. The noise they made as they landed in the reeds was quite something and this continued after they had landed.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 12, 2019, 02:28:00 PM
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Flooded woodland.

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The fox on the track.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 12, 2019, 02:33:26 PM
[attachimg=1]

The large reed bed.

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The first group of starlings arrive.

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More starlings.

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The starlings bunch up at the arrival of a harrier.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 12, 2019, 02:42:15 PM
[attachimg=1]

The starlings start to drop into the reeds.

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They did not loiter once they had decided to settle.

Birds seen were, blue tit, goldfinch, crow, cettis warbler, blackbird, mallard, wigeon, lapwing, robin, long tailed tit, teal, tufted duck, goosander, goldcrest, pheasant, magpie, marsh harrier, kestrel, grey lag goose, chaffinch, moorhen, pink footed geese, great tit, pigeon, starling, wren, fieldfare, redwing, yellowhammer and pintail.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on December 15, 2019, 06:08:36 AM
Hello Ian,

I enjoy following your thread.

I notice many straight tracks on “your patch”. I presume they are a remnant from past land use practices?

By any chance is there any discussion of how this ecosystem may have looked and/or functioned 6,000 years ago? I am presuming that humans have had their imprint on this site for a very, very, long time. As you have stated, the restoration plan is to turn the site into a well functioning wetland ecosystem, but I was wondering if there are ideas how the site may have functioned sometime after the end of the last ice advance.

Here restoration projects appear to be based on something that might have existed 200 years ago. Now, with atmospheric CO2 levels above 400 ppm and rising at 2% per year, I question the wisdom of attempting to restore a specific type of ecosystem to a site that may not be able to support it now. During the California Gold Rush, the activities of the 49ers so altered large portion of the state that previously existing ecosystems no longer resemble or function as they did before the Gold Rush. Now we have similar alterations taking place, but for different reasons. Other perspectives concerning the risks of this new forest management are not heard by the general public. I have been watching what is going on for a number of years now. I can see that the efforts are energy intensive, only effective for a few years and create a feed back loop that reestablishes and reinforces the previously existing unhealthy conditions. Our forests are being turned into a monoculture farm fields. The loss of biodiversity and the fragmentation of plant communities is mind-boggling. I wish this report was encouraging, however I feel the need to state things as I see them.

It is certainly encouraging to hear about the successes taking place on the patch.  :)   8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 15, 2019, 05:15:10 PM
Hello Robert, I,m in no way sufficiently learned to comment on the geology of the area. I am interested in the site and its formation since the last ice age but it is just a passing interest. I have looked at work published by Geoff. Gaunt, a geologist who has spent many years on fieldwork and research into the local geology. In short, the landscape of the area of the site is flat and mainly agricultural. Solid geology is buried. Sometime after the last glaciation alluvium  was deposited. Rivers meandered across the area. Clay was also deposited making the land swampy and difficult to work for subsequent agriculture. Vegetation colonised the area and in wetter places a thin peaty layer was formed. In some areas the peat became extensive, forming raised bogs. In 1878 peat was recorded as 6.1m in thickness. More recent investigation proved the peat to be no more than 3.0m. This reflects the amount of peat extraction. Peat removal in later years has reduced the peat even further, to more or less nothing in some parts of the site. This is due to using peat for horticulture. As far as I know, the site functioned as it had for centuries up until the late industrial age when peat removal became mechanised. The early records of visiting naturalists in the 1800s suggest that a thriving wildlife community was still on the site. Some of the tracks were used to remove peat from the site and are becoming flooded due to the recent water level management of the site.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on December 16, 2019, 08:48:10 AM
Hello Ian,

when you say peat, is it sphagnum peat? You showed a photograph where they had just planted plugs of sphagnum moss. Is it no live sphagnum left?

Sphagnum capillifolium

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 16, 2019, 11:18:52 AM
Hello Trond, it is mostly Sphagnum peat but there may be Fen peat as well. There is much live Sphagnum on the site. The areas where Sphagnum plugs have been planted was taken over by Rhododendron ponticum. These areas were cleared of Rhododendron a few years ago by machines. The shading caused by the dense Rhododendron excluded most other plants so there has been restoration of Sphagnum to "kick start" Sphagnum growth here. I have some pictures of the cleared site and will post them when I find them.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 16, 2019, 12:22:12 PM
[attachimg=1]

This is the area in which the Sphagnum plugs have been planted, during scrub clearance.

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The area after scrub clearance.

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A general view of the area after scrub clearance.

The site is so large and the habitats so diverse that a single policy of restoration for the whole site would not take into account the huge variety of wildlife species that depend on the site. The removal of Rhododendron and birch was undertaken by machine due to the amount of work needed and the constraints of time. This has meant that large areas are now covered in small pieces of branches. These will rot down in time. The area shown in the photos. is but a small part of the whole site.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on December 16, 2019, 05:34:58 PM
Ian, I have read about removing Rhododendrons in UK. Interesting to see what happens next. Will not rhododendron and other seeds in the soil germinate when they get light?

I don't think we have any similar projects going on here in Norway, not in that scale anyway. Protected areas are left to restore themselves. Often people are allowed to do what they did previously: walking, hunting and letting livestock feed there. And we have more bogs than fens I think.

Is this what you would call a fen?

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 17, 2019, 12:06:06 PM
Hello Trond, I think there is a chance that Rhododendron may germinate over the cleared areas, as you suggest. We will have to see what happens. Where Rhododendron "stumps" have been left they re-grow and have to be sprayed with herbicide, sometimes several times. I,m not trained in Botany or Horticulture but my impression from your photo. is that it shows a pool in a bog? If the soil is peat then that is how I would describe it. It looks as though bog myrtle fringes the pool. I,m not altogether convinced by the method of giving habitats a classification by number as there are so many variables in nature but I suppose it gives an idea of what a habitat consists of. Your "pool" reminds me of Rannoch Moor, in Scotland, where white water lily, bogbean and bog myrtle grow together in pools. To me, a Fen is a wet habitat with reeds (phragmites), and possibly more alkaline than a bog. I have looked for descriptions of Bog and Fen in "The British Isles and their Vegetation by A. G. Tansley 1953." It seems that there is some chance that the habitat types are open to discussion. The local site has many habitat types, due to human interference, but was a raised bog, as opposed to a blanket bog. I think we have destroyed about 98% of raised bogs in the UK, (much of the destruction was to provide bags of peat for growing plants in which do not normally grow in peat).  The work carried out at the local site was to remove Rhododendron and much of the birch then raise water levels to drown any re-growth of these species. The birch are native but an excess causes water loss through transpiration. It is not proposed to remove all the birch and there are two wet woodlands on the site which contain large willows, S. fragilis and S. alba.
If the local site was left to recover by itself it would turn into a different habitat, probably a rough woodland with pools in the wetter areas. We would loose the largest Raised Bog in the country and with it the rich wildlife that depend on it. No-one knows how many species live there as new records are being discovered every year, due to the efforts of mainly local naturalists.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on December 18, 2019, 02:25:56 PM

....... I,m not trained in Botany or Horticulture but my impression from your photo. is that it shows a pool in a bog? If the soil is peat then that is how I would describe it. It looks as though bog myrtle fringes the pool. ...

Ian,  thank you for the explanation. I think my picture isn't the best one to show the site. The pool is just a little part of it ( a little slow creek actually). Most of the vegetation is not moss but grasses, sedges and similar plants. It is also orchids, grass of parnassus there and other interesting plants. Regardless of what it is called it is very different from the more common sphagnum moss bogs around here.

Marsh pennywort is one of the plants found here.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on December 18, 2019, 02:36:39 PM
..........

I don't think we have any similar projects going on here in Norway,  .....


Have to correct myself! I just read that they restore some bogs close to Oslo. They started this summer (2019). The bogs were drained 100 years ago. Pear was also taken from at least one of them. No rhododendron to remove, only pines. The limbs are used to dam the canals which were dug once.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 19, 2019, 01:31:35 PM
Yesterday was thick mist and cold, down to freezing point. At first there were no sightings of wildlife, except a lone robin, also two fieldfare on a hawthorn bush. I wondered if I would see anything else, although the weather forecast was for the mist clearing later. A colleague had reported finding another site for Harts Tongue Fern, A. scolopendrium, so I went to see it. There were at least twenty plants close to the main track. I have passed this spot hundreds of times and not seen the fern. It shows how easy it is to walk past plants and not see them. The ferns were growing at the edge of a flooded wood, which looks a bit like the Everglades just now. Next, I went to a large pool where last week I saw goosander and pintail. Yesterday there were many mallard and a few teal. Along another track I noticed what looked like a white object in a bush. It turned out to be a small bird, which did not mind me approaching it. I took a photo. of the bird before it flew off. The bird was a chiff chaff. Some of our small song birds are now over-wintering here instead of migrating to warmer areas. In the early afternoon the mist began clearing and I even saw the sun once. I carried on along the track, stopping to photograph the bark at the base of a large aspen. The bark had interesting patterns. While there I noticed a fungus on the ground. It looked like a collared earth-star, Geatrum triplex. A sparrow hawk rose from a small tree along the track and a few minutes later a kestrel flew past me. A goldcrest was among a small party of mixed tits looking for food in willow bushes. The female marsh harrier with the white shoulders was hunting over the large pool, hoping to flush something to chase but the ducks sat tight. I noticed a small holly bush by the track and couldn,t resist a seasonal photo. which I think compliments one of the robin. I heard a great spotted woodpecker giving its contact call, a repeated single note which sounds like a "chick." A wren flew into vegetation as I passed by. They are not easy to photograph here as they keep moving from one bush to another. While I was talking to one of the site staff a greenfinch flew passed us. Once common, they are not seen very often on the site these days. A water rail was making a noise in a wet bushy area, they seem to have quite a range of strange calls. As I was leaving I flushed a snipe from the side of a track. I noticed a roe deer not far away and it did not seem bothered by my presence. I took a photo. which has turned out "misty." It was joined by another deer which I had not seen. I think the days misty weather must have got into the camera.

[attachimg=1]

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Harts tongue fern.

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Christmas robin.

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Chiff chaff.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 19, 2019, 01:43:31 PM
[attachimg=1]

Collared earth-star?

[attachimg=2]

The aspen tree with patterned bark.

[attachimg=3]

Birch with moss and fungi.

[attachimg=4]

Roe deer "in the mist."

[attachimg=5]
Holly

Birds noticed were, robin, pheasant, fieldfare, grey lag geese, crow, redwing, mallard, teal, cormorant, sparrow hawk, kestrel, marsh harrier, blue tit, long tailed tit, great tit, goldfinch, goldcrest, blackbird, pink footed geese, wren, great spotted woodpecker, pigeon, greenfinch, chaffinch, snipe, stonechat, water rail and chiff chaff.

I would like to take the opportunity of wishing everyone all the best for the Christmas season and the year to come, ian.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on December 22, 2019, 09:31:20 AM
Ian, your weather is similar to here!

Interesting with all the birds you spot also. It is a lot of different birds here also during winter. More species seem to stay rather than leave nowadays. But cats are a problem. People let their house cats go out and around not bothering about the birds and animals they kill.

Is hart's tongue fern rare there? It is very rare here. It is never growing in the ground only on steep cliffs.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 22, 2019, 11:11:59 AM
Trond, in this region harts tongue is more common to the West where there is limestone. It is sometimes found growing in the mortar of brick walls. I did not expect to find it on the site as it is mainly peat, although the site contains different habitats. It is not a surprise to find wildlife on the site which usually occur in other areas.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on December 23, 2019, 08:13:11 PM
Tomorrows weather forecast is for rain so I decided to visit today. I met two local naturalists on the site and we decided to look at a small alder wood, out of the cold wind. There were several fungi which looked interesting, one a Blewit. A kestrel was seen hovering and a marsh harrier was also hunting. In the wood we flushed eight woodcock, singly, which flew quite close to us but I was not quick enough with the camera to get a photo. We saw an Alder leaf beetle which we did photograph. Also found was a white fungi which may be related to Witches Butter. I found several small brown fungi on a bare elderberry stem (see photo 5.). We came away earlier than usual due to the light fading sooner and the expected traffic rush at this time of year.

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Blewit.

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Alder leaf beetle.

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Birds seen were, kestrel, pheasant, meadow pipit, stonechat, marsh harrier, teal, pigeon, blackbird, woodcock, fieldfare, redwing, barn owl, crow, grey lag geese, mallard, lapwing and stock dove.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 03, 2020, 08:23:32 PM
Yesterday was dull and cold and quite windy. I met a colleague and the site manager on site. We went to look at some grass snake eggs my colleague had found on a previous visit. It seems they had been dug up by something, a fox perhaps. My colleague then showed me some tiny "fungi" he had found a few days ago, growing on an elderberry bush. They are about the size of a pin head. The orange one has been tentatively identified as Octospora wrightii and the grey one as Badhamia panicea. He is waiting for confirmation of his ID. We also found another colony of the "Badhamia" on another elderberry a few yards away. I had trouble trying to get my camera to focus on Macro as it kept shifting the focus point to the nearest piece of moss instead of the fungi. I took a photo. of the "Badhamia" a few feet away with my gloves in the picture to give an idea of the size of the colony. My colleague spends quite a lot of time inspecting branches for interesting wildlife. He thinks these fungi are new records for the site and are un-common in the country. After spending quite some time taking the photos. of fungi we walked along four paths and ending back at our starting point. On the way we passed a large piece of open water and saw many mallards out in the open. Also there were a few teal, goosander, tufted duck and pintail. We also saw a female/juvenile golden-eye. We saw the golden-eye dive several times and also "sky-pointing." We saw a couple of buzzards, also marsh harriers and a sparrow hawk. Later we made our way to the large reed bed where starlings roost for the night. We did not see many starlings but my colleague heard a cettis warbler and several bearded tits calling. My hearing is not so good and I have difficulty hearing high pitched bird calls. While watching for starlings we saw a flock of lapwings circling around, perhaps looking for a roosting spot. The flock divided suddenly and we saw a peregrine plummet towards the ground, perhaps with a bird. Although cold and windy we thought it was a good start to the year.

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Grass snake eggs.

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Badhamia panicea? above and right of the right hand glove (a light coloured patch).

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A close up of Badhamia.

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Possible Octospora wrightii.

Birds seen were, magpie, crow, pigeon, buzzard, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk, long tailed tit, bullfinch, chaffinch, robin, mallard, teal, goosander, tufted duck, golden-eye, grey lag geese, pink foot geese, jackdaw, rooks, cettis warbler, water rail, great spotted woodpecker, blackbird, bearded tit, lapwing, pintail and peregrine.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 08, 2020, 05:22:42 AM
Ian,

Thank you for your first report for this season. I will be following along and will be very curious how the season progresses.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 15, 2020, 09:19:42 PM
This week the weather has been mixed. Yesterday the forecast was for rain in late afternoon but by mid-day it started with light rain then came more persistent. I went to look at a small wood which contains alder trees of different ages. The wood contains much ground water in the lower parts. I flushed a woodcock while walking along a track. I noticed a tree which had an orange growth on the trunk. I showed a picture of the organism to  a colleague and he thinks it is a Trentepohlia, an algal growth. Among the tops of the alders a mixed flock of birds were feeding. I noted blue tits, chaffinch, goldfinch, brambling and redpoll. A few white lichens? of various shapes were growing on the trees. I also saw a brown mat of something on a fallen tree, which I thought might be a moss which had changed colour due to the weather but a Bryologist friend said is not a moss. Further investigation is needed. Today was bright but with a very cold wind. Birds were not showing much but I did see two male and one female goosander on a pool. I met another naturalist and we went to see how the site of marsh pea was progressing. Scrub clearance here took place to remove over-shadowing trees. The last few months of rain had caused surface water to stand on the area. We will check the site again in a few months. We decided to see if any early emerging adders were out as it was fairly mild in sheltered areas. None were seen. We had good views of a hunting kestrel though.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 15, 2020, 09:22:53 PM
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Trentepohlia sp?

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 15, 2020, 09:29:19 PM
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Another Trentepohlia

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An early bee.

Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 15, 2020, 09:32:11 PM
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Site of marsh pea


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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 15, 2020, 09:52:29 PM
Birds were, pheasant, stonechat, woodcock, marsh harrier, mallard, teal, blue tit, chaffinch, goldfinch, brambling, redpoll, grey lag geese, pigeon, blackbird, reed bunting, great tit, long tailed tit, crow, goosander, buzzard, kestrel, pink foot geese, starling and fieldfare.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Robert on January 16, 2020, 05:38:23 AM
Ian,

As I can see from your posting, even in the winter there are many fascinating things to observe.

Thank you for the posting.  8)
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 16, 2020, 04:10:04 PM
The brown/orange "lichen" on post 745 has been identified by the British Lichen Society as Trentepohlia, an algae. More study is needed to see if the one on the tree and the posting on 745 are the same species. I also have one in the garden. Trentepohlia is new to me.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: Hoy on January 17, 2020, 08:24:05 AM
Many interesting details in a special landscape!

Regarding Trentepholia, have you ever seen Trentepohlia iolithus? It grows on rocks. It is very common here. In rain it smells like a violet and therefore it is called fiolstein (violet rock) here.

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(Picture borrowed from https://www.idunn.no/kk/2018/01-02/norways_mysterious_modernist_konrad_mgi_and_the_micro-ec (https://www.idunn.no/kk/2018/01-02/norways_mysterious_modernist_konrad_mgi_and_the_micro-ec) )
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 17, 2020, 11:43:21 AM
Hello Trond, I am not familiar with the Trentepohlia as a family, although I must have seen it on trees etc. A colleague noticed it on trees at the site and traced it to a family. I think more work is needed on our part to try and get it to species level. I have seen algae on trees and rocks but not tried to name them.
Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 24, 2020, 04:17:54 PM
 This week has been dry, sunny and cold. I met a colleague on site and we went to re-photograph the Trentepohlia and the "orange mat" I previously found on a fallen sycamore, (post 745). Also seen in the wood were tiny brown fungi which were identified as the Ozonium state of Coprinus disseminatus, Fairies Bonnets. After visiting the small wood where the previously mentioned specimens were, we walked a short distance and saw a Merlin flying low in front of us. Marsh harrier and kestrel were also hunting. Two cranes were seen in the distance. A flock of lapwing were circling the area, perhaps looking for a resting site. Many of the small islands and exposed mud are now covered with water due to several months of rain. A barn owl was seen hunting as it was getting towards dusk on the first day. Yesterday I met my colleague again and the site manager. Skeins of pink footed geese were flying overhead as the mist cleared. On one pool a couple of whooper swans were lazily drifting about. One looked like a juvenile as it did not have the yellow patch on its bill. Also on the pool were tufted duck and gadwall. Later we saw three male and a female goosander on the water. Five marsh harriers and a buzzard were seen in one area. Several daisys, B. perennis, were seen in flower on a track. Hazel catkins are flowering now. Stonechats can be seen perching on low bushes in some areas of the site. Two flocks of lapwing were seen yesterday, totalling about 650 in all. We stayed until dusk in case there were any owls but we did not see any.

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Fairies bonnets.

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Eggs of Vapourer moth on heather found by my colleague.

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Title: Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
Post by: ian mcdonald on January 24, 2020, 04:27:49 PM
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Whooper swans.

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Goosanders.

Birds seen were, robin, pheasant, crow, pigeon, blackbird, woodcock, mallard, teal, blue tit, great tit, marsh harrier, merlin, kestrel, grey lag geese, jay, crane, lapwing, barn owl, fieldfare, pink foot geese, gadwall, tufted duck, stonechat, meadow pipit, reed bunting, long tailed tit, whooper swan, goosander and buzzard. Three roe deer.

The latest regarding the Trentepohlia is that the specimens may be T. aurea and/or abietina.  The one on the Alder tree (post 744) might be T. abietina and the specimen on the log (post 745) might be T. aurea. A microscope is needed to confirm the identities with filaments more than 10 micrometres wide possibly T. aurea and filaments less than 10 micrometres wide possibly T. abietina. Thanks to Professor David John of the Natural History Museum for the information.