Saturday, 21 January 2017

Brambling

Lovely surprise while sat at the computer earlier this afternoon when I spotted a lovely Brambling in the bushes just below the window. Also nice views of the resident Bullfinches, they always show well when the light's non existent though!




Friday, 20 January 2017

Waxwings!

I saw my last Waxwings on 1st January 2013. Way too long ago! That's why I've been trying hard to see some this year. Today was my fourth attempt and fortunately a successful one, even though I had quite a long wait for them to show, and for a while I thought it was going to be another dip. There were ten in total and they were feeding on rose hips in the central reservation of the A38. Not the easiest place to get photos and definitely not very kind on the ears or the lungs. Waxwings are worth it though! Here's a few of my better efforts at photos, most were just of twigs or the sides of speeding juggernauts!





Thursday, 12 January 2017

Hazel Gloves and Golden Hair

Winter is still a good time for looking for Lichens and Fungi and especially a fungi which mainly lives in trees. The lack of foliage makes the task of seeing it so much easier, or should that be marginally less difficult! Hazel Gloves is quite a rare fungus which is virtually confined to the west coast of Britain, especially Scotland's Atlantic hazel forests. It also has a stranglehold in North Devon, which is where we went to look for it a couple of weeks before Christmas. It is thought to be parasitic on a fungus called Glue Crust commonly seen sticking branches together. If it was on every patch of Glue Crust it would be easy to see but it is only very occasional even in its favoured areas. We were given a location to search for it at a DWT reserve by a member of the Devon Fungus Group and we found it quite easily there, although saying that I walked straight past it at first! We also searched along a stretch of the Bude Canal near Virworthy and recorded another specimen there.


Glue Crust - Hymenochaete corrugata.


Hazel Gloves - Hypocreopsis rhododendri

This was a fair way up a tree along the Bude Canal (I could only just get my camera to it)
and with leaves on the trees it would have been almost impossible to spot.
The fungus is called Hazel Gloves because the tan coloured fruiting bodies are meant to look like
gloves but as you can see they don't always. These certainly didn't. However, just look at these ones from the DWT reserve.


This one even has finger nails!

Between Christmas and New Year we took a trip down to Cornwall to look for Golden Hair Lichen at The Lizard. Whilst in Cornwall it would have been rude not to look in on the Eastern Black Redstart at Mousehole which we saw but only a couple of brief glimpses as it was being rather elusive for a change. I'm not having the best of luck with birds recently. Unfortunately the views were too brief to get even a record shot. Nice to have seen it though. The Golden Hair Lichen was a bit easier to photograph. It's a lichen I've always wanted to see and I honestly can't say that about many of them!






Golden Hair Lichen - Teloschistes flavicans