Friday, 15 November 2013
Wednesday 13th. November 2013
Another early start on what was going to be a very enjoyable day of idle banter and relaxed bird watching in the company of two like minded friends.
It was dark and cold, with a clear sky and a touch of frost, when I arrived at Keith’s at just past 5am. We soon packed all the gear into his car and set off on our two hour journey to meet up with Adrian at the RSPB’s Freiston Shore reserve near Boston in Lincolnshire, where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from…so the sign said!! Adrian was already there to meet us when we arrived at just past 7am. After a cup of tea and a chinwag while watching the sun rise, over the bird filled lagoon, into a cloudless blue sky we were ready to go and explore the reserve.
A Mute Swan, bathed in the early morning sunshine, takes it’s first flight of the day.
Unfortunately as we walked around the side of the lagoon to the hide the majority of the birds decided that the best place to be was over on the side that was furthest away from us! There were large flocks of Dark-Bellied Brent Geese noisily flying overhead on their way to feed out in the meadows and on the salt marsh. There was also very large flocks of Golden Plover that frequently took to the air and gave a golden shimmering display as they whirled around in the sunshine, sometimes completely obscuring the view.
We were soon up onto the sea bank and the start of our 3 mile circular walk around the ‘wetland trail’ with an excursion (a good mile round trip!) to the Cut End bird hide.
Adrian was all trussed up and loaded down with Bertha while Keith was contemplating a visit to the local supermarket to do his weekly shop!!
This was the first outing for Keith’s (shopping)trolley but he took all the ribbing and less than flattering remarks in good faith and we were more than grateful for it in the end, well up to a point!…more later.
Not many mountains around here!
Greylag Geese practicing their formation flying.
They tried to drag us in, but we managed to keep our freedom…just!
Eventually our destination is in sight…Cut End Hide.
Adrian decided to use the ungainly method of entry…we just used the gate!
Now this is where Keith’s trolley came into it’s own as he started to unpack coffee, soup and cheese rolls. It was a good idea after all….well maybe?…more later!
As we sat for a well earned rest and refreshment we took in the (flat!) view over The Wash.
Whilst sitting and taking in the pleasant sunshine I suddenly heard a melancholy sort of wailing sound, my first thought when I looked up and saw the long flowing locks was…mermaid!…but no! it was only Keith, who had been exploring and was just cursing the fact that he had stepped into some rather deep and smelly mud!
Alf kept a keen eye out for any rarities that might have put in an appearance.
With well over half the distance of our walk completed it was now that Keith’s trolley, or it could just have been Keith, had a bit of a poor showing!
“Would anyone like an apple?” was the question, as we sat on a bench for another short rest…after much rummaging, muttering and a partial unloading of the said trolley the next refrain to greet our ears was “o f*** it, I’ve left them in the car”….It was a good job that both me and Adrian had turned down the offer of an apple….we weren’t too disappointed!
There were a lot of ‘watchers’ along the route.
I wonder if I could get a fringe like that?
As I mentioned earlier there were a lot of Dark-Bellied Brent Geese around but uncannily they seemed always to be on the furthest side of the reserve to us…apart from this one, who we called Billy no mates!
Our trek was now coming to and end and we were soon back at the car park where Adrian again did the honours with the tea and coffee. As luck would have it amongst the Mallard the Wigeon and the sheep that were feeding on the grass in front of the lagoon there was a good number of Redshank and Black-Tailed Godwits, with possibly a few Bar-Tailed Godwits mixed in!
Is this a Barwit or a Blackwit?
It was soon time to make tracks for home and after a brief reflection on how good the day had been we said farewell to Adrian and wished him all the best until the next we meet up, most probably, in the new year.
It was a great day with good company…we put the world to rights, had a few laughs, a nice walk in pleasant weather and plenty of birds to see. What better way to spend a day?
Before we left we gave this fella instructions to keep an eye on things until our next visit!
Monday, 11 November 2013
Whilst sorting through and processing some fungi images that I took towards the end of last month it became apparent that a few of them were of some rather small and delicate specimens, not only of regular shaped fungi but also of some jelly discs and a couple of slime moulds….
As far as I can tell this fungi doesn’t appear to have an English name. It’s a short lived, just over 24 hours, Inkcap that grows on the dung of herbivores (horses mainly), this one was growing in the leaf litter by the side of a bridleway. It grows to about 7cm – 3” tall and the cap to about 2.5cm – 1” dia.
Common Rustgill (gymnopilus penetrans)
As the name suggests this is the most common of the Rustgills. This is a very young specimen at about 4cm – 1 1/2” tall. They are mostly associated with conifer trees and can grow up to 7cm – 2 3/4” tall with a cap dia. of 8cm – 3” either solitary or in dense clusters.
Shaggy Scalycap (pholiota squarrosa)
Mostly found in spectacular clusters at the base of broadleaved trees these fungi can grow up to 15cm – 6” tall with a cap dia. of 11cm – 41/2”. This small group was about 8cm – 3” tall.
Snapping Bonnet (mycena vitilis)
This member of the bonnet family has a stem that when broken ‘snaps’ audibly, hence the name. It grows to about 11cm – 41/2” tall with a cap dia. of 2cm – 3/4”. It is widespread and common in deciduous woodland.
Clustered Bonnet (mycena inclinata)
This bonnet is usually found in large in large clusters on the dead wood of deciduous trees and grows to around 10cm – 4” tall with a cap dia. of up to 4cm –11/2”. These particular ones are being attacked by the bonnet mould spinellus fusiger, a type of pin mould, characterised by it’s pin like appearance.
Common Bonnet (mycena galericulata)
Again, as the name suggests, a commonly seen fungi growing either solitary or in clusters on decayed wood of deciduous trees. Grows to 10cm – 4” tall with a cap of 6cm – 2 1/2” dia.
Not sure on this one…
…possibly the Funnel fungi clitocybe costata which grows in mixed woodland. This one was around 5cm – 2” tall with a similar sized cap.
With this next one I’ve failed on two counts…
…Firstly, I’ve no idea what it is and secondly, I failed to take note of what type of tree it’s growing on. It was growing on a branch that was about 1mtr – 3ft above the ground and is about 5cm – 2” tall.
Black Bulgar (bulgaria inquinans)
A flat, rubbery textured, round button shaped fungi hence it’s more common name – Bachelor’s Buttons. Starting out as a small round cup that gradually flattens and splits as it matures. It is gregarious and grows to around 4cm – 11/2” in dia. on dead deciduous wood, typically on fallen Oak and Beech. Those above are around 1cm – 1/2” and 2.5cm – 1” in dia. respectively.
Now for some Jelly….
Beech Jellydisc (neobulgaria pura)
A Common pink jelly fungus that is usually found in swarms, as the name suggests, on Beech trees. It starts off globular then becomes cushion shaped with a flat or concave upper surface and has a slightly raised edge. It’s usually distorted as a result of many fruiting bodies growing closely together. The ones seen here were about 2cm – 3/4” in dia.
Purple Jellydisc (ascocoryne sarcoides)
Similar to the Beech Jellydisc above and found in the same locations. It has a dark purple colour and grows to around 1cm – 1/2” dia. but is usually distorted into a brain like appearance. The ones depicted above are very young and are still in the globular stage. You can get some sense of scale by comparing them to the moss which is also in the image.
Time to add some Slime….
Slime moulds, once thought of as fungi, are now recognised as Protozoa. They start off life as single-celled amoeboid organisms that are free living and feeding on bacteria and fungi. When feeding conditions are good and they find suitable mating partners they coalesce into a – plasmodium - stage and it is this, often brightly coloured stage, that we see in the autumn coating vegetation and fallen wood. Also at this stage the mass is able to move, albeit very slowly. As the food supply begins to run out the spore producing stage – sporangium – appears.
This diagram, taken from the internet, shows the life cycle of a slime mould.
Wolf’s Milk (lycogala terrestre)
In it’s plasmodium stage, the pink colour will fade to a grey colour as it ages. These puffball like spheres are around 2.5cm – 1” in dia.
This next slime mould which I think is hemitrichia clavata is in the sporangium stage.
The little orange spheres which are about 2.5cm – 1” tall will eventually harden off and split open releasing thousands of tiny spores.