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Author Topic: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald  (Read 34391 times)

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #525 on: January 10, 2019, 04:25:53 PM »
Will do, Robert.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #526 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.



Pintail.









One of the large willows in the wood.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 12:59:21 PM by ian mcdonald »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #527 on: January 24, 2019, 12:56:52 PM »


Nuctenea umbratia





Evernia prunastri.



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.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 04:22:58 PM by ian mcdonald »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #528 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.



Lamproderma sp. The tiny black blobs.



Platyrhincus resinosus.



Hibernating wasp.



« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 03:01:48 PM by ian mcdonald »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #529 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.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #530 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.



« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 02:20:40 PM by ian mcdonald »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #531 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.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #532 on: February 22, 2019, 04:50:16 PM »


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



Possibly dry rot?

« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 04:52:20 PM by Maggi Young »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #533 on: February 22, 2019, 04:55:10 PM »


A female winter moth?



Bronze shield bug?



An emerging adder.



Two male adders.



In the alder wood.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #534 on: February 22, 2019, 05:03:38 PM »


Tiny insects in their "cases."



A fly species, perhaps a picture wing?



Siskins on alder.



Long tailed tit.



Short eared owl.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #535 on: February 22, 2019, 05:05:50 PM »





Robert

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #536 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.  ???
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #537 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.

Robert

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #538 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).
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #539 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.



Veronica persica.



Area of cleared Rhododendron.



Whooper swans.



Male alder catkins.



Male aspen catkins.

 

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