|Meadow Pipit - small numbers throughout the fell|
40 Redwing were roosting in a patch of Downy Birch along Waldridge Lane where the bird of the day, a Merlin, a female by the size of it, flew over the road then over the South Burn Woods towards the Hermitage. Excellent - its many years since I had one here but it looks like it could be a good year with a fair number being reported in the north-east. What I want now is Great-Grey Shrike and Rough-legged Buzzard. The fell is ideal habitat for both of these rare winter visitors. The Merlin, like Friday's Scaup is the first I have seen anywhere this year, so not a bad weekend. It looks like this regular watching is paying off.
Even though its getting very late for flora, there were still quite a number in flower, many, not surprising being ruderal weeds, ie plant species that are first to colonise disturbed areas. Amongst the plants I saw in flower today were late flowering Heather, Yarrow, Gorse, Ox-eye Daisy, Bramble, Wild Angelica, Meadow & Creeping Buttercups and Autumnal Hawkbit plus Scentless Mayweed, Prickly Sow-thistle, Red & Alsike Clovers, Red & White Dead-nettles and Common Ragwort.
Wild Angelica at Wanister Bog - still in flower
On the fruit front, due to the late spring and settled weather in mid summer it's an excellent autumn for fruit and berries with the trees and bushes on the fell still laden with things like Elder, Rowan, Bramble, Hawthorn, Rose-hips, etc. The large established Pear tree by the Fell/Daisy Hill boundary fence is absolutely full of fruit and masses have already dropped to the ground. They are a fair size too.
Fruit of the Pear Tree by Daisy Hill
Interestingly though, the Sessile Oak trees in the South Burn Wood had a mass of acorns earlier, but those on the fell and other woodlands have not done nearly as well. I suspect that many oaks at the former site are in fact hybrids and this may somehow account for it.
Fungi were nearly all gone with the wet and frost of the last week but there is still lots of Birch Polypore on the trees in Felledge Wood
|Fungi - Birch Polypore|
|Lichen - Net-marked Parmelia|