A quick update on recent sightings at Dove Stone. On one of our regular guided walks yesterday, this time up to Chew Reservoir, there were sightings of quite a few Meadow pippits, Wheatear, Sparrowhawk and House martins all seen from the Chew path. Up on the tops there were Red grouse and although we couldn't confirm for sure there was a very small bird of prey spotted which we think could have been a Hobby. On the way down from the bog sightings of Goldfinch around the thistle heads and a late Willow warbler on the old Fletcher's pond. Aside from the birds yesterday's heat bought butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies out with sightings of Red admiral, Peacock. Small tortoiseshell, Green veined white and Painted Lady. Painted Ladies arrive in the UK each year having migrated from northern Africa; unfortunately these spectacular butterflies can't survive UK winters - they either die or it's thought that some make a return journey back to northern Africa.
This Sunday we have a fungi foray ( full details on the events pages on this site ) with Dave Winnard from Manchester Mushrooms. Check out Dave's site: www.manchestermushrooms.co.uk .
At the moment there are plenty of really stunning Fly agaric ( Amanita muscaria ) at Dove Stone as well as plenty of Amethyst deceiver ( Laccaria amethystea ) and Blackening waxcap ( Hygrocybe conica ) amongst others. Last year's foray produced records of over 60 species of fungi. It will be interesting to see how many we get this year, on this slightly earlier-in-the-year walk.
I was given a really interesting document recently that is a list of translations of fungi latin names. Some of the translations indicate info about the fungi such as protentosum - monstrous; coryleti - pertaining to Hazel and myrmecophilum - loved or benefited by ants. Other translations are somewhat more obscure or poetic such as rivulosa - with sinuous lines like rivers on a map; jasonis - pertaining to Jason and the golden fleece and, one of my favourites, tintinnabulum - pertaining to a little bell. Fungi are truly fascinating !
As ever with fungi if you are out on your own foray please be aware that some rare fungus species are protected by law and must not be picked or their habitat disturbed. Also worth a mention that some species of fungi are DEADLY POISONOUS. At the very least invest in a decent fieldguide. Edible fungi can easily be confused with poisonous ones if specimens are not thoroughly examined; extreme care is therefore essential when gathering wild fungi to be used as food. The rule is if you’re not 100% sure what it is then don’t eat it. But aside from that, have fun !
A great bat talk and walk last night with thanks to Steve Parker from the South Lancs Bat Group for a entertaining and informative talk on these remarkable mammals and to all who set out despite the weather - it actually turned out to be a warm, still night with the rain holding off. You can read more of the work that South Lancs Bat Group does here http://www.slbg.org.uk/
A highlight of the evening was finally seeing a Daubenton's bat ( Myotis daubentonii ) flying low over Dove Stone reservoir. We've thought that Dove Stone must support Daubentons but this is the first time we've actually see one on one of our bat talks and walks. Check out this link for more info on Daubentons as well as other useful info from the Bat Conservation Trust http://www.bats.org.uk/publications_download.php/214/daubentons.pdf and this link too from the Natural History Museum http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/biodiversity/loss-of-habitat/myotis-daubentonii/index.html
The evening also gave us sights and sounds of Common pippistrelle, Noctule and Whiskered brandt as well as the sounds of Tawny owl - themselves natural predators of bats.
2011 is also the year of the bat. Check out the website: http://www.yearofthebat.org/