I guess by now it’s pretty common knowledge that quite a big ‘blow’ is forecast for tonight. Fortunately today as I opened up, despite a ‘bit of a blow’ and quite a lot of rain last night (8mm in rain gauge this morning), there is very little to report, apart from lots of leaves on the ground. Fortunately, Ed, Adam and the Lower Test team have already removed a number of potentially falling trees, so we should be O.K. , but here’s wishing Ed good luck for tomorrow, anyway.
Although there are a number of different species of woodland birds around, we don’t yet have large numbers, although one visitor did report seeing 100s of robin! There was a report of the bittern from Ivy North Hide and great white egret has also been seen. On the water there are increasing numbers of birds including over ten goosander as well as our tame (?) red-crested pochard seen from Lapwing hide.
The wind was really making the water quite choppy and most of the waterfowl were bobbing up and down. It put me in mind of one of my idle speculations about what would be the worst malady to have if you were a particular animal. (e.g. a cow with hay fever), but perhaps being a duck with a tendency to sea-sickness would be as bad.
The leaves accumulating on the paths reminds us of the approach of winter, but apparently this year, because of the hot summer, we are to be rewarded with a rich display of autumn colour (something to do with sugars in the leaves). Always supposing the wind tonight doesn’t strip all the trees. We already have a small foretaste of some autumn colour here.
Individual fallen leaves can be quite photogenic.
Sometimes even on leaves still attached to trees the pattern of colours from the fading leaf and the fungi growing on it make some brilliant patterns.
Quite possibly some of these fungi may only grow on particular host species.
The freshly cut faces of logs provides another interest like the rich russet of the recently cut alder ( I think) logs.
More obvious fungi have also been giving good value for money this year like this particularly fine crop of Shaggy Ink Cap or Lawyer’s Wig (Coprinus comatus), at the side of the path to Lapwing and Goosander hides.
The Lawyer’s Wig name seems obvious from the look of these, the ink cap name arises from the fact that, as they ripen, the gills ‘auto digest’ forming a black inky fluid which drips from the opening cap. Whether this was once used as an ink seems somewhat in doubt.
Autumn colour and finery are also to be found on the drake waterfowl as they come out of their eclipse plumage. This is adopted to make them less conspicuous whilst moulting their flight feathers, but they change into their breeding finery about now. This image, captured last week, is of a pair of mallard, who appear to have had a bit of a falling out.
Can’t imagine what she’s saying to him, but it looks like he’s in trouble. I heard it, but it was in ‘mallard’ , it might as well have been ‘double duck’ – or Mandarin??!