Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Somerset Levels 29/12/14 - Bearded Tits, Goosanders etc

Arrived at a very cold and frosty Ham Wall at around 08:30. Everywhere was covered in a thick layer of frost making a 'Narnia' type scene, really beautiful. The levels took on a truly magical quality!  The frosty look only lasted an hour or so as the temperature increased and then a quick thaw.
We made our way towards the new hide taking in the beauty of the scene along the way.  Most areas of water were well frozen forcing duck species etc out to the middle of the water areas.  Plenty of smaller bird species flying around Robin, Blackbird,Dunnock, Long Tailed Tit, Blue & Great Tit.  From the first platform we caught a fleeting glimpse of a Bittern one of 3 we would see today. From both platforms there were plenty of Shoveler, Tufted, Gadwall and Lapwings.
The highlight of the day had to be seeing a male and female Bearded Tit feeding with a Reed Bunting on the path very near the entrance to the new hide, only there for a minute and then gone but wow!!!! Had a good fleeting view of a Water Rail from the new hide also.
On the Shapwick side we were surprised to see 3 Goosander on the canal, but each time anyone got close they soon took flight but always returned.   Plenty of Kingfishers also along the canal bank today probably because their usual areas were frozen.  We were also lucky to see a couple of Marsh Harriers , another 2 Bitterns and 2 Great White Egrets.  In the wooded areas plenty of Goldcrests and a Treecreeper etc. Other birds of note were a Stonechat and a few Chiffchaffs.
At Greylake which was also frozen there were plenty of Widgeon a few Snipe, Kestrel, Buzzard and once again some great but fleeting views of Water Rail.
All in all a top class birding day with 44 species seen.  Most photos record shots but just so good to see all those birds! 

Frosted trees at Ham Wall

                   Frozen Canal

    Winter sun on the Levels

                    Beardies on the path - record shot but so good to see!


                   Marsh Harrier

   Greylag Geese - large numbers on Noah's lake

                    Great White Egrets - taking flight from the canal edge

   Goldcrest - very flighty in this cold weather!

                    Goosanders on the canal Shapwick side.


                    Snipe on ice

   Water Rail - plenty at Greylake but you have to be fast to get a photo!

                  Reed Bunting - great looking birds

Monday, 3 November 2014

Fungi Galore another Mendip Trek 1/11/14

We decided to return to Dolebury Warren for a great Autumnal walk which also took in the Rowberrow area and part of Blackdown a total of 8 miles. We trekked through woodland, field and downland all these various environments yielding some great fungi.  Highlights of the day were finding the stunning purple Amethyst Deciever and finding a Cep which was massive, did not realise that a type of fungus could grow so big. Must have found over 30 different fungi types on our walk each one perfect in its own way! Still a good number of Fly Agarics to be found in different areas as well.
So good to have the sun with us on our trek, the light on the trees and fallen leaves producing an array of amazing Autumn colours. Great time of year!

Parasol in the woods

                        Porcelain fungus (Oudemansiella mucida) on fallen Beechwood 

Porcelain fungus

                 Beechwood in Autumn - a copper carpet

     Unknown fungi - Dolebury Warren

                Great set of gills - Dolebury Warren

More gills - another fungi type on Dolebury Warren

                   Looked like a chocolate fungi - Dolebury Warren 

     Creme Brûlée? 

   ID unknown 

                   Small pink fungi - Dolebury Warren 

  Yet another unknown - great colour

                   Common Puffball gathering 

Unknown - a great group of colour though

                    Blackening Waxcap?

   Life in the trees 

                  First sighting of a Cep - well chunky!

    A Cep, this one was massive. The biggest fungi we have ever seen! 

                   Found in with the conifers a great colour but ID unknown 

    Yellow Stagshorn - a good sized group found in with the conifers 

                   Brittlegill of sorts

   Beautiful Fly Agaric

               Amethyst Deciever coming through the Beech leaves. So pleased to have found these fungi at long          
               last.  What a stunning colour

    Amethyst Deciever 

                Golden Spindles found walking down the track on Blackdown

    Autumn on Blackdown

                 Autumn fruits!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Mendip Fungi Foray- 25/10/14

Our walk started at Burrington Coombe and took us up the steep Link Lane to the bottom level of the heights of Blackdown.  A few more fungi species are appearing now in the woodland edges of Link Lane, must be due to all the recent rain and mild weather!
Blackdown looks amazing with its copper tones of leaves and Bracken but our path was leading us on towards the grassland of Dolebury Warren.
The total walk was only 5 miles across upland and through woods. A walk of great Autumn colours and views and a fantastic amount of different fungi species of all shapes, sizes and colours. 
The surprise of the day was the discovery of a great 'gathering' of Fly Agaric, the sight was pure magic and believe it or not made me a bit emotional because of the beauty, colour and perfection of what we saw.  This has to be one of the best walks for fungi and we will return!

Mycena? With pin mould. One fungus attacking another ( thanks to Steve Balcome for info)

                   Deep in the woods

Tiny unknowns - life everywhere 

                                                 Tiny fungi in the grass on the warren

Parasol - banquet for some!

                   So delicate - a work of art

Looks good enough to eat!!!

                   Tiny 'hats' within the grass

Pettycoat Mottlegill

                Parasol - there were plenty across the warren, a massive size as well quite spectacular 

Young Parasol?
                   Macrolepiota excoriata- a smoother cousin of the Parasol

Meadow Puffball - plenty of these in the grassland

                    Meadow Puffball

Grassland Puffball? 

                     Unknown fungi - almost sculpted growing into the grass

Tiny puffball? In the moss

                  Puffball type this time in the woods

Tiny and delicate in the grass

                  Fallen Parasol - bit of a breeze this morning!


                   Crimson Waxcap - only a few found in the grassland, but what colours!

   Crimson Waxcap and friend

                  Life in the woods

Pushing through the leaves

                    Autumn woodland scene - golden leaves and huge Bracket fungus on a large old Beech

Colour in the moss

                   Deep in the conifers!

Fly Agaric - a young one

                   Autumn scene 


                   Pure magic! Speechless!!

   Where are the fairy folk?

             White Spindles or Pointed Club?