One of the signs of summer fading to autumn at Blashford Lakes is the morning de-misting of the Woodland Hide windows, which today I had to do for the first time this season:
Another sign of the changing season was my first sighting of a wigeon since the spring, on Ibsley Water. A hobby has been a virtual resident of the north shore of Ivy Lake for a couple of weeks ,and today gave some spectacular demonstrations of its hawking (falconing?) prowess to visitors in Ivy South Hide, though I had reasonable views around Ivy North Hide myself this afternoon. Of course autumn is also the time of fruit and fungi. The parasol mushrooms which have graced the woodland paths over the last couple of weeks are now past their best and I just smelt (but didn’t see!) a stinkhorn fungus in the usual spot by the Woodland Hide. The hedgerows are full of fruit – the haws in the hedge along the western boundary of the reserve, alongside the A338 have been especially striking this year and I am sure that all of our visitors must have munched on at least a handful of blackberries each as they amble around! Of course the flip side to this is that activity at the bird feeders is reduced as the birds find food elsewhere.
Also in fruit on the reserve at the moment is this very fine cherry plum tomato:
A bit out of place one might think, but the observant amongst you will no doubt have noticed it is growing next to the drain/waste pipe from the centre. Two or three times a year someone tries flushing something down the toilets that just shouldn’t go there with the unfortunate consequence that the drain becomes blocked and toilet waste backs up and overflows, leaving us with a rather unpleasant tidying up and drain rodding job. As effectively as we do clear up it is inevitable that not everything gets picked up and as a result every other year or so we are treated to a very effective model of seed dispersal in action – the seed that these tomatoes have grown from have of course survived transition through someone’s gut and back passage to end up here with just enough light, water and soil to germinate and, perhaps surprisingly in this case given the stones, grow! It is quite a monster now, with ripening fruit for which I can vouch for their deliciousness, despite a somewhat less than salubrious start in life!
Near by I photographed this light emerald moth which had been attracted to, but not quite made it into, the light trap:
The trap itself held a reasonable variety of moths, if not quantity, with a few highlights posted here: