Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Fyne Court, Somerset - Hawfinches etc

The news was out that Hawfinches had been seen around the Fyne Court / Broomfield area in Somerset. As this was a 'lifer' bird for us we just had to have a go at trying to locate it. In fact we had two visits in the same week. Our first visit saw us arriving early at Broomfield but alas we didn't have any sightings until late afternoon and then our first view at the very top of a tree. A distant view but wow it was a Hawfinch.
Our second visit saw a couple of fleeting Hawfinches in the morning and some more distant views at the top of the trees. The afternoon saw 2 Hawfinches come in a little closer to feed off a Yew tree, I located them whilst searching for a Brambling that other folk were looking at. We never did see the Brambling! Fellow Hawfinch seekers had also gathered and the camaraderie between us all was just brilliant on both days.  It's fantastic how nature brings so many people together. In between looking for the Hawfinches we took a couple of walks around Fyne Court and the Autumnal colours were just stunning. The area also was very productive for other birds including Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Creeper, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.
Just have to mention as well the the Yew tree and its berries was a fantastic food source for a great variety of birds. It was both fascinating and captivating to watch the comings and goings of so many species.

   Good numbers of Redwings feeding off the Yew Berries

                  Grey Wagtail one of two seen in the woodlands

  First ever Hawfinch sighting at the top of a tall Leylandi tree


   Hawfinch, still so distant and the light was fading



                  Beautiful Autumn colours

   A stunning male Sparrowhawk circles nearby


   Very pale Buzzard

                   The Buzzard started circling with the Sparrowhawk 

   A Nuthatch got in on the act gathering Yew berries

                   Off he goes!

   Hawfinch at the top of an Oak tree



   Still distant but a prime view! 

                    Can you see me?

                   Top of the tree again

   Mistle Thrush

                   Plenty of Mistle thrushes around the area

  Charismatic Robin

                   At last a closer Hawfinch on the Yew tree


   Wow! Look at that bill






   Stretching up




Thursday, 9 November 2017

Late Autumn Mendip Fungi 6/11

A beautiful sunny morning for a trek on the Mendips. Our walk started at Tynings farm and took us through wood and forest towards the lower slopes of Dolebury Warren.  Along the way we searched the woods for fungi but alas no signs anywhere! We watched for some time a Sparrowhawk try to catch a Magpie and also saw a Kestrel, Buzzard, Ravens and flocks of Redwings fly over.
Up the steep steps to Dolbury Warren where the grasslands revealed some lovely fungi finds mainly Waxcaps. We love finding the Crimson Waxcap almost as much as spotting a Fly Agaric.  We even saw 2 butterflies today a Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell trying their best to find sheltered sunny spots.
Our walk then took us back up the woods to join the path on Blackdown. Much of Blackdown has now been harvested of its bracken (the bracken used for fuel) and I wonder how this will affect cover for wildlife?
Still some superb Autumn colours out there on what was a challenging hilly walk but none the less very enjoyable with some lovely fungi discoveries along the way.




                   Along the trail

   Great Autumn colours



                   Just can't beat a beech tree for colour

   View across Dolebury 

                   Crimson Waxcap


                    This emerging Waxcap was massive

                    Red Admiral catching some rays

  Honey Waxcaps?



                   Scarlet Waxcap

   Snowy Waxcap


                   Unknown fungi

   Love the gills


                   Small Tortoiseshell, last of the season?

   Surprised to see a Violet flowering


   Meadow Waxcap




   Fallen Funnels



                   All leaves fallen, winter woods

   Typical 'Blair Witch' woods!