Sunday, 5 September 2010

A Meeting of Mushrooms

After a damp morning spent pulling Himalayan balsam with the volunteers along the Dockens Water the weather improved, apart from the occasional shower and after sorting a little paperwork I headed out onto the reserve. The recent rain has produced a good few fungi and under the trees along the Dockens Water I came across a group of parasol mushrooms including these two that had grown together as virtual mirror images.
I only made it as far as the Goosander hide, so it was not a wide ranging excursion, but it was productive. The bushes around the hide lived up to their reputation for small birds with several chiffchaff and at least one whitethroat, unusually it stayed still for long enough to allow me to get a picture as it paused between blackberries.
The shore below the hide is a regular spot for grey wagtail and there were two birds there, both spent a lot of time preening, showing off their bright rumps and under-tail coverts which contrast so much with the otherwise monochrome plumage. They almost look as though the tail end has been borrowed from another species and stuck on to brighten them up.
It is a good thing I got some picture of birds today as my usual stand-by, the moths, have let me down, or rather the moth trap has. First the plastic collar broke, so I made a new one, that went fine, but now the bulb holder has broken, so we will not be able to run it until I can get a replacement.

Having had some success with taking a few birds I decided to take the camera with me when I locked up and got some more form the Ivy South hide. It is interesting that since we replaced the hide the wildfowl seem to be much closer and less likely to be scared off when people enter, despite the larger windows. I think the trees felled into the water have helped giving loafing places for ducks, especially mallard and these decoy other birds in close to the hide. There always seem to be a few mallard perched on the tree trunks. The duck in the picture was clearly looking at me, but was not concerned enough to move away and maintained a casual one-legged stance showing just a flash of the blue speculum.
There are also regularly coot close to the hide, the adults, like the one in the picture have a large white shield above the bill, the juveniles, of which there seem to be a lot this year have much smaller ones which are also usually rather off-white. There is a huge growth of water weed in the lake this year and this is already attracting lots of wildfowl, as well as good numbers of coot there were 7 wigeon today, about 50 gadwall and a few teal.
A few shoveler have also been using the lake, I find them very difficult to get pictures of as they are either asleep or feeding frantically, often with their heads underwater. However today I did manage one shot of one with bill above water, although the spray of water shows it was not exactly still. It does show the huge bill it uses to sieve the water to obtain the minute items of food it seeks.
Other birds today included the osprey seen a couple of times by others early in the day, finally heading off west with a fish. Smaller birds include both sedge warbler and reed warbler in the reeds in the Ivy silt pond. The sedge warbler was a juvenile but it was singing quite loudly, although not very well, I assume it was practicing and sounded like a cross between a sedge warbler and a whitethroat. Possibly "Bird of the day" was a late swift, hunting insects over Ibsley Water with the hirundines. A fly-over yellow wagtail and a few blackcap rounded off the small birds. The only waders were single common sandpiper and green sandpiper. Buzzards were very much in evidence all day, with lots of noisy calling and chasing about.

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