30 Days Wild – Day 9

I arrived at the reserve and opened the Tern hide and then had a bit of brief excitement, as there was what, at first sight, appeared to be a lesser scaup with the drake tufted duck. Lesser scaup is a North American species, rare in the UK but regular nowadays, although never yet seen in Hampshire, so was this going to “Break the duck?”. Lesser scaup look somewhere between a tufted duck and a scaup, but was this one or not?

duck 1

But is it a lesser scaup???

Sadly the answer was NO, although it looks pretty good the flanks are clean white, without any fine bars and the “tuft” is a little too prominent. the body shape is also very greater scaup in overall look and the conclusion was that I tis a drake hybrid between a tufted duck and a greater scaup. This picture was my attempt in rather poor light through the telescope, if you look at Jim’s post from the other day you will see much better shots.

As it was Thursday it was volunteer day and we spent some time distributing seeds in an area that was covered with rhododendron, in an attempt to restore the original woodland flora. Along the way we came across an especially fine example of a stinkhorn fungus, usually they are already in a state collapse by the time I find them, but this one was perfect.

stinkhorn

stinkhorn

Not an Osprey and a Bit of a Stink.

I was over at Blashford all day today and started with a walk out to the Goosander hide, it was a bit cold and there was light rain and perhaps this was why the sand martins seemed rather few. However on the way there I saw a patch of columbine near the path, this is a native plant, but these were garden escapes. In fact they are quiet common as escapes and are to be seen on roadsides all over the place. Unfortunately the garden forms are often doubles or pale colour varieties and they cross with wild plants diluting the “true” wild plant’s genes in the process.Columbine

In the same part of the reserve I was pleased to see that the seasonal ponds we put in a couple of years ago are holding water, admittedly with the weather we have had perhaps this is not a surprise, but still gratifying.

seasonal pond

seasonal pond

Up at the Lapwing hide I was impressed by the huge numbers of swift feeding over the lake, at least 550 by my estimate, forced to feed low over the water by the poor weather. If it continues they will delay or even fail to breed, so I hope things improve soon. I also saw the Egyptian geese that have taken up residence on the osprey pole, the male was stood up and while the female was sitting out of sight.

not an osprey!

not an osprey!

I was working in the office pretty much all day, but I did get out around lunchtime and found lots of damselflies resting up on the foliage.

damselfly head on

damselfly head on

I also caught the distinctive whiff of a stinkhorn fungus and quickly found two, of which this was the best.

stinkhorn

stinkhorn

The smell attracts insects, mainly flies, but in this case also a small click beetle.

small click beetle on stinkhorn

small click beetle on stinkhorn

I then realised there was something odd about the fly that at first I thought just was resting there.

stinkhorn with fly

stinkhorn with fly

It was dead and seemed to have been overwhelmed by some sort of fungus.

dead fly on stinkhorn

dead fly on stinkhorn