Monday, 27 September 2010

Sootys blast past The Narrows

Sunday afternoon was spent sitting in the rain at The Narrows. A good strong NNE wind and plenty of birds already having past before I got there, I managed to note a few between 14.00 and 17.20.

The highlights: 6 Red-throated Diver, 105 Gannet, 52 Fulmar, 2 Manx Shearwater, 21 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel, 3 Bonxie and an immature Glaucous Gull.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Whale

A picture of the probable Humpback Whale that appeared at Spurn on Monday can be viewed on the Spurn website here and scroll down to Monday 20th.

All credit to the chap who took the photo... wish I had managed when it was a little closer in at The Narrows.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Huge fungi specimens

After going from the tiny probable Phyllonorycter leucographella (Firethorn Leaf Minor) to the huge probable Humpback Whale in my previous two blogs, it was time to get the tape out to measure mushrooms on Saturday at Tophill Low NR.

Despite the wind, it was a good day with plenty on display. A walk along the River Bank turned up some rather large fungi.

This stand of probable Prince, found on willow and privet litter, measured around 55cm across, and one of the specimens collected had a stipe measuring 25cms.

Seeing the pair of bins, and the book, in the picture gives a sense of scale of the size of the cap of the largest specimen, but this picture taken by Richard Hampshire here gives a better idea of just how big the cap is. For notes, the cap measured 33cm in diameter.

Still looking at the list for the site, but it appears several new species could have been added in recent weeks, but we have to check the list to make sure none have been missed off in error.

However, Sceleroderma sepa, several groups found around one tree and none elsewhere, appears to be definitely new.

Very few milk-caps are on the site list, so the finding of a single possible Lactarius quietus last weekend, and several more this weekend, could prove to be an addition to the site fungi list.

Other species which are the first we have found this season included Weeping Widow and Blue Roundhead.

Birding wise the best to report was a flock of c200 Linnet just south of the site while on site, it is 'Rant time, as the annual movement inland kicks into gear.

As the odonata season closes, albeit slowly, a few species are still on the wing. Counts today of 11 Migrant Hawker, 1 Southern Hawker and c28 Common Darter. Perhaps a few more could have been found if the sun had been out longer.

This posed a week ago, photographed by Doug Fairweather and identified as Pine Weevil Hylobius abietis. First one we've seen on walking around over the last decade or so. Need to check the list to see if this one is new!

And finally, a picture of some fungi taken today...

Anyone any ideas then please post a comment. Maybe Small Stagshorn???

Monday, 20 September 2010

Probable Humpback trundles past The Narrows

Decided to spend another afternoon down at Spurn Point at The Narrows.

Around 14.15, I was rather startled to notice a huge whale spouting c75-100 metres off the beach... in whale terms... it was showing well!!! It spouted and showed most of its body a couple of times then disappeared from view. After a couple of phone calls to folk at Spurn once I had a phone signal, I was joined by a couple of the locals, Adam Hutt, driver and another, (apologies I don't know every one's name). After no sign for several minutes, and a couple of seals playing just offshore, I was beginning to worry! However, it started spouting again and news was relayed to others via radio.

The whale eventually reached the seawatch hut, showing occasionally to those that had gathered, and continued north past Kilnsea and Easington Gas Terminal, Withernsea (Andy Gibson... who followed it up the coast) and from pager reports, had reached Tunstall after 7pm this evening.

The general view among folk (I don't know a great deal about whales... especially when one appears totally out of the blue and throws me completely) was that it was probably a young Humpback and this suggestion also came out on the pager message from the observer(s) at Tunstall. Unfortunately, I failed in all my attempts to capture the creature on camera. I'm not sure if anyone managed any, but I guess if any are available, then they may feature on the Spurn website. Link on the right.

The rest of the highlights 12.20-18.00:- (all south unless stated) 1538 Swallow, 72 Sand Martin, 58 House Martin, 6 Red-throated Diver, 53 Gannet, 1 Manx Shearwater, 21 Pink-feet, 17 Common Scoter, 8 Teal, 265+ Dunlin, 12 Grey Plover, 4 Golden Plover, 2 Arctic Skua, 7 Sandwich Tern, 47 Common Tern (birds starting to move just as I left), 15 Meadow Pipit, 1 Goldinch and 2 Linnet.

A couple of Little Egrets on the Humber just to the north of the Narrows.

Other things of note included 2 Migrant Hawker, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell - taken quickly south by passing Swallow.

Another surprise for the day was a Hornet which flew south and appeared to land in the among the square shaped sea defences.

Once again, spending life in nature's playground turns up another surprise when you least expect it! And I fulfilled a long held ambition to find a whale from dry land. Better than a boat!!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Fungi is more than minor interest

During the fungi extravaganza that was Saturday at Tophill Low NR, Doug Fairweather encountered this tiny moth.

After some time of looking through books and scouring the internet, the conclusion is that it is a possible Phyllonorycter species, none of which appear to have been recorded at Tophill Low NR. It is thought that it is possibly P leucographella Firethorn Leaf Minor.

Remembering Bella the Labrador

As I blogged... whilst cursing as the Woodlarks at Skipworth, showing down to a few feet, took flight in disgust...

'and then along bounded a great big Labrador...'Bella! Get here Bella!' and then they all flew away! Good to know the Common is used as a fantastic habitat for the pet dog to show off its field skills at stick fetching rather than being a site primarily used for enjoying the wildlife!'

Must mention I showed great restraint in Houghton Moor woods on Friday when some stupid dog owner decided that it would be fun to enable his pets to run up, growl and jump up at me as I walked defenceless in the woods. In fact he, the owner, was so far away from, and in a total lack of control, of his animals, that it was pointless even trying to enter into any discussion with him that his well loved pets should have been on a lead as the SIGNS say. I'm sure if I'd have kicked one of his dogs, or entered into conversation with the idiot, I would have been seen as spoiling the fun.

Enjoy the read...

And I suggest adding the blog to favourites...

And I'll end with saying that in the dog owning world, from experience, IT IS THE MAJORITY of dog owners, not the minority, who enhance giving themselves such a bad name!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Spectacular display

A carpet of Fairies' Bonnets or Trooping Crumble Cap - Coprinus disseminatus

As is typical of a Saturday, I wandered to Tophill Low NR and with the cool weather conditions - no moths of note, very few dragonflies - a rough estimate would be 10 Migrant Hawker and 4 Southern Hawker - Doug Fairweather and myself went looking for fungi.

Spending the afternoon combing the north end in search of mycological excitement was a worthwhile exercise with about 30 species noted... and a bit of head scratching at the end as we attempted to put names to some specimens collected that we couldn't manage to identify at the spot of growth.

The visual highlights included this display of Spectacular Rustgill.

This Blushing Rosette was discovered near North Marsh.

These Pholiota flammans brightened a dark spot near the car park...

and the first fresh Candle Snuff proved difficult to get a decent photograph of.

Some of the other species noted included probable Brick Tuft, Sulphur Tuft, Root Rot, probable Oak Milk-cap, probable Larch Bolete, Purple Pore and several Common Earthball... a Tophill tick for me!

Birdwise it appeared quiet though not much birding was undertaken. Gutted to read the pager saying an Osprey had flown over while we where 'deep in the jungle' but you can't really have it both ways! A high flying skein of 10 Pink-footed Geese 'wink winking' their way south east over the car park late afternoon was the birding highlight.

The identification bug

Something perhaps that gets looked over, Tree Damsel Bug Himacerus apterus photographed at Tophill Low NR by Doug Fairweather in late August.

Still got a few to on work from the summer!

Red Alert

After posting last weekend with probable Fly Agaric... here are some proper ones from Houghton Moor wood in all their glory. Deadly beautiful.

Plenty of others still to be identified. One of the other interesting specimens seen along the way was this red slime mold type thing. Anyone have any thoughts? Note it is a pine stump.

Birdwise, the Red theme continued with a Red Kite over the woods. Also Buzzard, Marsh and Willow Tit, several Siskins and many Jays.

Fewer dragonflies on the wing in cooler temperatures with singles of Migrant Hawker and Common Darter noted.

Received comment about the lack of bird photos, and too much in the way of mushrooms on here... all in good time is all I can say!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Fungi identifications cause lots of head scratching

More pictures from the weekend fungi finding. These ones taken along the footpaths that cross the centre of Houghton Moor.

As ever when unsure, I'm naming these as possibles and probables!

Possible Common Earthball

Here we have what looks like probable Fly Agaric - note it has lost the scales on the cap, but the skirt on the stem suggests it is an Amanita species.

Slime molds will probably never be my strong point, but this looks like it could possibly be Fuligo septica.

And then I have these probable bolete species that I'm struggling to get my head around... and going to forgot about until I return to the field as I have to revise other things.

Any thoughts and helpful comments welcome.

Peziza positive for Tophill Low

News reaches me that we have a positive identification on the Peziza species Doug Fairweather and I found at Tophill Low NR earlier this month which was sent away to an expert to cast his eyes over. Named as Layered Cup Peziza varia it means we can now add this to the list. Many species are impossible to identify without help and guidance. Sorry for showing it again... but now we have the name for it then it is a shame not too.

Also Doug was pleased his thoughts on the identification of this earthball at Ryton, North Yorkshire, were proven correct when it was looked at by a higher authority. He is now adding Scleroderma cepa to his list and here it is pictured!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Fair Isle sea area

The latest news from my North Sea correspondant is that there is no further sign of the grey morph Gyr seen yesterday by noon today. Nothing more than selection of common migrants to add. Wheatear, Willow Warbler and Meadow Pipit all noted in the the last 36 hours. A group of 10 Cormorants on a rig was noticeable. Apparently still in the Fair Isle area, any future reports will be published.

Birder turns down Bonelli's to look at fungi...

I could have gone to Bempton to see the Western Bonelli's Warbler. Seen one in the hand, and another giving crippling views and several abroad... so the thought of paying a parking fee to see one didn't inspire me.

So I spent the day looking for fungi. Got a lot of photos, a lot of specimens, cursing as I can't name them all.

But this one looked rather smart and I think I know what is...

I'm thinking it is probably Scaly Earthball. More head scratching to do with the rest but I've learned a little more to progress to next week when I go out into the field again.

However, comments are invited if I've made a mess of identifying it!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Pinions and Parasols

Not the best picture, but this Tawny Pinion, attracted to one of the lights set last night, is a first for Tophill Low NR.

As we move into September fewer moths are on the wing. Interesting moths trapped overnight included several Dark Swordgrass, the first Large Wainscot of the season, and several Silky Wainscot.

Most of the day was taken up with fungi finding. Although difficult to put a name to everything, Doug and I have been trying hard to carry on the great work that the late Keith Allison put in over the years. Having found several new species for the site with Keith, and added some since he left us, albeit with some hard thinking, today could be called our first proper entry into the field without a tutor... the start of a new season...

Such a difficult subject for a pair of novices, the words possible and probable are very likely to appear before any species named! A disclaimer if you like but its what we think they may be are. And if anyone wishes to contribute to identifications... then the floor is open. Nothing like learning a bit more.

So what did we find... well plenty!

We'll start with fingers!

The long slender Dead Moll's Fingers

And these, perhaps looking like a turd... Dead Man's Fingers.

A little brighter are the yellow Stagshorn species.

Small Stagshorn above, and below is probable Pale Stagshorn. Under the trees in dark areas, it is very hard to get a great photograph of these.

Some of the larger species encountered included this clump of Sulphur Tuft.

The darkness in which we found this probable Blushing Bracket didn't help photo opportunities.

But alongside the probable Blushing Bracket were these Bay Polypore, part of an excellent display of the species at the north end of the site.

At the south end of the site, what looks like possible Scurfy Twiglet is present in abundance.

A little brighter, and excuse the photos taken in the dark is a probable Oysterling species... perhaps Variable Oysterling?

September is always great for Inkcaps... something I know about fungi. Here is a selection... Keith used to say they made good eating!!!

Judge's Wigs... I prefer Shaggy Inkcap. Here in various stages.

Hare's-foot Inkcap, again in various stages.

And this is Glistening Inkcap, photographed by Doug Fairweather.

Also captured on camera by Doug is this Stinking Dapperling

And this fine example of Plums and Custard, top is Doug's photo, mine is the one below, both taken around the same time but the woods are so dark.

From the photos taken it is obvious there is plenty to see, not mentioned yet that we encountered Yellow Brain, probable Weeping Widow, various other Bracket spp, Coral Spot, Rust on Coltsfoot and many others we walked past as it gets just to diffcult. There is a selection of pictures that are being worked on to see if they can be identified, This below we can't put a name too but the stand looked rather smart - even thought the photo doesn't do it justice.

This clump of Jews Ear was found in D Wood.

Slime molds aren't to everyones fancy... this is possibly Fuligo septica

And we'll end fungus spotting day one with these... Turkey Tail

And these Shaggy Parasol... apparently a cream sauce is nice with these but as a novice on the subject, or even if I hit 'good' level, I'm never going to eat one!

Little counting dragonfly wise. This one of 8 Common Blue Damselfly encountered late in the season.

Birding wise very dull... other than the spectacular display of Teal on the marshes very little was to be seen.