Sunday, October 28, 2012

October - 900+ and getting close

I will continue to keep you informed of my efforts to reach the one thousand total though my optimism is waning. I am up to 892 though. On Saturday 6th October we held our monthly Wildlife Explorer/Watch meeting on Cuerden Valley Park, where we concentrated on making bird feeders. I was hoping to make pine cone feeders but there have been so few cones, we changed our plans. There also seems to be a shortage of acorns and horse chestnuts. It may be only here in the North West of England, but I would like to know what others have noticed. We had been making the feeders for about a half hour when we heard the plaintive cry of a buzzard. Gazing skywards we saw two of these wonderful raptors soaring high above the park.

Tuesday 9th October I paid a visit to Brockholes on a lovely sunny day. Several common darters were skimming over most of the water bodies both in tandem and ovipositing, and a pair of buzzards were high over Boilton Wood. Near to the Wood I observed some shaggy inkcaps and candle snuff fungus.

Thursday 10th, I had to visit Chorley to buy a new watch strap and as I was passing St Georges Church the peregrine was easily visible even without binoculars. The picture was taken by Ivan Lynas. I then visited Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Mere Sands Wood and saw lots of species of fungus with more fascinating names. There is Leafy brain, witches butter, fragrant lepiota, plums and custard, and dead man's fingers. These were a boost to my list

  I have also been searching for knopper galls which I usually find when I see acorns. This year I don't think I have seen more than three acorns and only one horse chestnut. Probably too little sun has meant not enough pollenators. This gall is from last year, though I have seen just one this year

The last week in October I helped with river studies on Cuerden with Penwortham Girls High school where we found Minnow, Bullhead, mayfly nymph and even a lesser waterboatman. What was noticable was on Friday with the temperature down by 8 degrees C, much fewer samples were caught. We did see 6 roe deer and 3 buzzards though

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fungi galore and flowers add more

A few members of Chorley Natural History Society met at Rivington for a Fungal foray. A beech tree that was felled a few years ago usually has interesting fungi and didn't let us down this year with 8 species identified growing on it - lots of Sulphur Tuft, Glistening & Fairy Inkcaps, Sheathed Woodtuft, Turkeytail, Smoky Bracket, Artist's Bracket and Purple Jellydisc. A dead Willow tree had Blushing Bracket, whilst a fallen branch had the white jelly now known as Crystal Brain (Exidea nucleata) with obvious white granules/crystals visible inside. Nearby under trees were groups of Russet Toughshank and several Common Earthballs and one Ochre Brittlegill was found. Another dead tree had 2 Stereums, Hairy Curtain Crust & Bleeding Broadleaf Crust. Unfortunately, no fungi at all were found in the Pinetum!

Crystal Brain below
My thanks to Joyce Riley for both the identification of the various fungi and the first part of the posting 

Later in the same week,other sharp eyed members of the Society had let me know about two different flowers that tend to appear irregularly. Autumn crocus was observed at the western side of Astley Park. We mainly receive records from the Adlington area

And sowbread (cyclamen) was noted at the Chisnall reclamation site. It is at least three years since we had a record of this plant, so we enjoyed its return
It was not the only returning species. On Monday October 1st I heard some redwings flying over Cuerden Valley Park. Although lovely to hear and see, I had already got these in my challenge from the first winter period of this year

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Feast to Famine

I became very busy in August with several trips away from home.
August 4 to 11. I was helping Andy Lester, Conservation Director for A Rocha UK with a week at Lee Abbey in north Devon looking at Creation Care through the Psalms. We had walks, pond dipping. talks, rock pooling, a boat trip,beach art, bat walks and innovative styles of worship. For two of the evenings we set up a moth trap and had some reasonable catches. The two most popular were Setacious Hebrew Character, because of its name and Poplar Hawkmoth, because of its size.

Here also two pictures from our visit to the beach. There is the shell of a masked crab and some beach art. I still have no idea how they managed to balance all those stones. On the boat trip we were able to have good views of some porpoise

The following weekend, August 17 to 19 I went to the Bird Fair at Rutland Water. Two days I helped on the A Rocha stand and on the Sunday I worked for the RSPB. On a couple of the evenings we went to a hide on the edge of Rutland Water. There were scores of gulls, a few terns, a green sandpiper and we saw the ospreys flying low, dragging their feet in the water. We understand they were washing fish scales off their talons. The rarest thing to fly over was a Vulcan bomber, though I was more excited at meeting both Richard Lewington, the illustrator of butterfly and moth books and Clive Stace, the author of the flora.

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Early September I visited Northamptonshire as part of the A Rocha UK "Time Out" weekend. It is a time when we plan, pray, learn and chill together as a team. We did get the chance to check round some local lakes. This enabled Norman Crowson to photograph some Banded Demoiselles, a Golden Y moth and this Sacred Ibis. There were also several migrant Hawker dragonflies, a hobby and quite a few swallows on migration

New additions to my list are getting scarce as you can see. I could only add the two above in the first three weeks of September. I intend to keep searching up to the end of December since I still have not had waxwings or Michaelmas Daisy ..... yet.

Total at the end of September is 870