Monday, 12 April 2010

Martins, Morels and a Monster Larva

I was impressed with the number of Sand Martin coming into the bank at Goosander hide yesterday, so I thought I would go back and try to get a few pictures as the light was so good today. Impossible to get the full effect but I did get a few shots of groups coming into the bank, one of the best is below. Some have probably finished their tunnelling as some birds were arriving with nesting material. They might be "only" Sand Martins but it is a great spectacle, something to just sit back and take in, they are often passing within a metre or so of the windows, a really magical experience. It does seem to be best in the morning though, with much less activity after midday.
It was a day of few birds, the winter finches seem to have gone now and there were no new migrants around. It was not without interest though, one notable find was a False Morel fungus growing beside the path to the Ivy North hide, quite some way from where I have seen them before. The occurrence of this species on the reserve is something of a puzzle as they are usually found under pines, but all of ours are nowhere near any pines. It is a very strange fungus with a brain like fruiting body on a short white stem, although that cannot be seen in this picture.
One of the odd-jobs I did today was a sample of invertebrates in the Dockens Water, it had the usual mix that confirm good water quality, lots of freshwater shrimp, mayfly larvae and stonefly larvae. I did turn up one large larva that I failed to identify though, it was really big with anchor-like hooks on the rear end. Whatever it is the larva of it must be a pretty big insect.

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