Friday, 24 March 2017

Town Hall Clocks and Jews-ears

2 days of wind, rain and even snow,  not the weather for boosting my list, but I needed to get out so yesterday I nipped out of the square to Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve. The reason - it has a hide, so somewhere to sit and drink coffee while its tipping down. Dry but not warm, the stone-built thing is always freezing whatever the weather, even in summer. It was worth it as I also got my first Little Ringed Plover of the year, it flew in while I was halfway through my sandwich.

Little Ringed Plover at Rainton Meadows.  My and the reserve's first of the year but sadly not in my square

The moth trap was only out the once and wind & rain stopped play,  so I haven't caught a thing the past couple of days.

A few days ago I caught a couple of small(-ish) bees both feeding on Dandelions while I was out on the fell. They have been in pots in the fridge, so as it was still raining this morning I got the Microscope out amd Falk's Field Guide to Bees of Great Britian and spent an hour or so keying them out. I managed to identify them down to species, both of which I have seen on the fell previously and had been confirmed by an expert,  so I'm fairly confident I've Id'd them correctly. They were

236. Andrena scotica (Chocolate Mining-bee) - male  
237. Lasioglossum cupromicans (Turquoise Furrow-bee) - female  

I popped ou mid afternoo for a couple of hours and picked up a couple more common mosses

238. Grimmia pulvinata (Grey-cushioned Grimmia
239. Amblystegium serpens (Creeping Feather-moss) 

Whilst out this afternoon in Felledge Wood I watched a Wren wanting to enter the brickwork of a viaduct over the stream but I was putting it off. I scrambled down the bank for a quick peek when presumbably it's mate flew out of the fully formed nest, well advanced for so early. Not really exciting but I cover this square often so know most of the plants and their whereabouts, but I found I was standing in a large 6 square metre patch of Moschatel ,  all in flower. The flowers are green, and in groups of  of five, and is also known as 'Town Hall Clock' because the flowers face out in four directions, like the four faces of a town clock. .Not a rare plant but new completely ,not just for the square,  but I've just checked,  and its new for the tetrad.

Adoxa moschatellina (Moschatel)  - a new tetrad record

240. Adoxa moschatellina (Moschatel)  

When I was a young birder first starting I remember reading and being told about identifying Crows. If there's more than two they are Rooks, as you never see Carrion Crows in groups, they prefer the solitary life. And it was true, but how things change. Rook numbers have dropped by 17% since 1995 where as Carrion Crows have increased by 13% in the same period. Now if you see a group of crows it could be either. On the fell late this afternoon I had a bit of a smile as little groups of Carrion Crows started arriving in a few trees by one of the paths. Eventually there were 63 in these trees, flying around, cawing and doing what crows do. A young woman was walking her dog along the path when the crows all took flight but instead of flying away they circled above her making quite a bit of noise. Her dog ran back and she must of thought it was Hitchcock's 'The Birds' all over again and she turned around and rapidly went back the way she came following her brave doggie.

The Birds

I wandered through the woods for a while picking up a few more plant species including the old boy,  the famous Black Poplar, the leaves are beginning to burst so there's still life in the him yet.

Look at the bark on that! Black Poplar -  Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia

241. Pinus nigra subsp. laricio  (Corsican Pine)       
242. Plantago lanceolata (Ribwort Plantain) 
243. Cirsium vulgare (Spear Thistle)
244. Rumex sanguineus (Wood Dock)
245. Impatiens glandulifera  (Himalayan Balsam) 
246. Mercurialis perennis (Dog's Mercury) 
247. Salix x fragilis (Crack Willow)
248. Aegopodium podagraria (Ground-elder)
249. Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia (Black Poplar)

Nearly every Elder around the edge of the wood has Auricularia auricula-judae (Jew's-ear Fungus) on some of their branches. Not just here but everywhere I go I'm seeing it at the moment  I've never as much as this year.

Auricularia auricula-judae (Jew's-ear Fungus)

250. Auricularia auricula-judae  (Jew's ear Fungus)

There' a few more but it's getting late so I'll finish on a nice round 250

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