Fine morning and a fair bit of overhead traffic. Over/on the south brooks at 08.00 small numbers of swallows, yellow wagtails, siskins, skylarks, pied wagtails and single grey wagtail. Also noted a hobby, a spotted flycatcher (perhaps my last of both this summer?), and a stonechat (my first on the brooks here this autumn). At least 7 ruff and 3 black-tailed godwits on north brooks.
I've been dancing with the pixies amidst the fairy rings!
Right now, there are so many mushrooms and toadstools emerging around the woodland and heathland trail... you could find fenugreek milkcaps that smell enticingly of curry, brightly coloured russula, the classic toadstool from fairy tales (the fly agaric) and much much more. Some of my particular favourites are the amethyst deceiver - a beautiful purple creation,
the false death cap whose Latin name Amanita citrina describes its slightly luminous yellow colour
and Boletus luridiformis - a great spongy mushroom with a red stem that bruises blue-black when damaged.
Slightly less pleasant are the stinkhorns which you can smell before you see - these start off as jelly-filled balls known as witches' eggs!
Whilst foraging for fungi I also spotted a grass snake and several lizards.
I've created a 'fungi trail' which takes you around the outer loop of the heathland trail where you'll find a huge variety of shapes, sizes, colours and textures. If you pop into the visitor centre you can pick up one of our 'fungi top trumps' spotting sheets to help you identify the mushrooms and discover which are the slimiest, smelliest and most toxic. Once you've done your spotting you can take the sheet home and make your own set of top trumps cards and challenge you families and friends to a game!
Juvenile little stint from Jupp's view this lunchtime, along with 5 dunlin, 4 black-tailed godwits and 8 or 9 ruff. Other waders today reported include curlew sandpiper, green sandpiper and common sandpiper. Plenty of teal and increasing numbers of wigeon present on the north brooks. Still a few migrants around the trail - spotted flycatcher, lesser white throat and chiffchaff.
An early (and chilly) start today for our monthly Wetland Bird Survey. Clive and I were assigned the North Brooks so started off at the Hanger View to get a feel for what was around. The ducks are becoming more numerous every day now with over 300 teal, in excess of 70 wigeon and a handful of shoveler and pintail. It's the first time this autumn that I've seen any number of wigeon and it was lovely to hear their gentle whistling as they grazed the brooks - I've missed them over the spring and summer. We picked up a few waders - dunlin, ruff and black tailed godwit and the hedgerows all around the trail were busy with chiffchaffs.
Out onto the river bank to count a few mute swans and moorhens, but also enjoy great views of yellowhammer, reed bunting and large charms of goldfinch feeding on the thistle seeds. We also spotted several bird species with white backsides - wheatear, bullfinch and jay! The Environment Agency are currently reinforcing the bank of the River Stor on our northern boundary - the wheatear seem to be finding this bare mud irresistible and were showing well perched atop the lumps of earth.
Then back to the centre for a much-needed mug of tea!
The north brooks this morning looked like autumn with a small flock of rusty-brown wigeon (nearly 50) and a variety of waders - a few black-tailed godwits, dunlins, ruff, snipe and many lapwing. Sadly, no sign of yesterday's curlew sandpipers. There was also this splendid fox sitting in the sunshine in front of Jupp's view, going through its morning wash-and-brush-up rountine.