Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wildfowl, Wasps and a few Butterflies

Bird News: Ibsley Water -green sandpiper 2, black-necked grebe 1, pintail 1 drake, hobby 1.
Rockford Lake - common tern 1 juvenile.
Ibsley North Lake - greenshank 1.
Dockens Water Woodland - crossbill 2+
We did the first waterbird count of the "winter" today, no great surprises, although on Iblsey Water 866 coot were notable as were 58 little grebe, although they are so hard to count that this will have been a fair bit fewer than were actually present.
The weather was fabulous, if a bit too hot and humid. The sun shone from the start, a real reminder of summer, or at least what we might have hoped for in summer but actually got in spring. That it was actually autumn was plain from the fungi sprouting all over the place, I found the ones below on the trunk of a cherry plum, they are vaguely like a hoof fungus, but I don't think that is what they are.
As I went between the lakes I also came across the bird of the day, which was crossbill, or probably crossbills, calling in the top of a tree along the Dockens Water path. I was on the edge of the lichen heath at the time investigating some nesting holes of a Colletes bee, the picture I got was of a wasp though, it seemed to be digging a nest hole. Only when I looked at the picture did I notice the fly beside it, I suspect it is the wasp's prey and there to provision the nesting hole, but that is just a guess.
There were also fungi out on the heath including the one below that looks like it belongs on a flower-pot man's head (ask your granny).
The sun brought out a few butterflies, there have been very few about recently, but today I saw red admiral, speckled wood, a very late meadow brown and the small copper below.
The butterflies that are out and about do not have much choice of flowers to nectar from, I found a few heath speedwell flowering.
One or two mid summer species are flowering again, a little anyway, one of these is the ox-eye daisy, I even saw a foxglove with a few flowers the other day.
I have not totalled all the counts yet but here are a few of the totals for all the counted lakes:
Coot 1555, little grebe 77, wigeon 54, tufted duck 186.

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