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Author Topic: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald  (Read 52133 times)

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #690 on: October 18, 2019, 02:42:13 PM »
Thanks Arnold, it,s good to hear that other people are interested in our exploits.









Giant willow aphid,


ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #691 on: October 18, 2019, 02:48:12 PM »


It,s that fox again.





A male Bearded tit.





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.





« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 12:26:35 PM by Maggi Young »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #692 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.










ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #693 on: October 22, 2019, 09:19:16 PM »


The blind deer.





A late Small Copper on Tansy.



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.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #694 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.



Mowing grass on one of the tracks.








ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #695 on: November 01, 2019, 04:16:47 PM »


Dog Lichen?



A late caterpillar.



A Buzzard overhead.



Large Wainscot



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.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 12:47:59 PM by Maggi Young »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #696 on: November 01, 2019, 04:28:25 PM »


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.

Robert

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #697 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.
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 #698 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.

Robert

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #699 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)
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 #700 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.



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.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 11:31:57 AM by ian mcdonald »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #701 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.







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.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 08:36:02 PM by ian mcdonald »

Robert

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #702 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.  :)
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 #703 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.

 

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