Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thame Valley Shabbington - Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border

A lunchtime walk along the River Thame on the Buckinghamshire bank downstream of Shabbington. I started the walk at 11:45 and finished around 14:00. 15°C and 90% cloud at the start but rapidly changing to 100% sun and 19°C.


The following were of note.

Insects:

Butterflies – one large unidentified insect flying at a distance and one White seen; the latter possibly a Small or Green-veined White (Pieris rapae or Pieris napi). However, I did get firm ids on two other butterflies – 1 ♂ Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) and 1 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

Dragonflies – I think I had a Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) though too distant to id with certainty and could not obtain a record shot. However, I did see some Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) with at least one pair in tandem and ovipositing.

♂ Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Flora:
The following were in flower:

Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides)

Not sure about this one! I am checking with the community on iSpot.
Input from the iSpot community suggests:
Great Yellow-cress (Rorippa amphibia)


Comment from allrounder: This looks from the picture like Great Yellow-cress and as the scientific name suggests is found in and by fresh water. Your picture shows a plant with a stout stem, lanceolate, toothed leaves and the fruits are oval with a style. All indicators of Great Yellow-cress. This plant is described as only locally common so a good find.

Birds:

Good views of the following were obtained:

• Mute swan (Cygnus olor) – the winter flock had 4 individuals in it.

• Redshank (Tringa tetanus) – 1 disturbed from the river; white pointed rump and broad edge to trailing wing edges very diagnostic. This is a first for me at any of my River Thame sites!

• Buzzard (Buteo buteo) – 2;

• Red kite (Milvus milvus) – 5+;

• Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) – 1;

• Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) – flock of 25 to 30 flying over.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Lea Park, Thame, Oxfordshire

A first for my garden in Thame! 2 Raven (Corvus corax) flying over and heading south.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Emmington - Oxfordshire

Today was not the best of days for a wildlife walk; however, as I had not been on one since August it was a must to get out into the field! I spent about 2 hours from 10:50 walking the footpaths around Emmington. The weather was pleasant to begin with at 15°C with light rain; however, the rain became heavier and the wind stronger by the time I got back to the car.


The following were of note.

Insects:

Hornet (Vespa crabro) – At least three where flying close to Great Covert, with one amongst the sunflowers in a strip planted as game cover.

Fungi:

Three interesting species of fungi were seen during the walk; 2 in Down Covert on tree trunks and one on Ash (Fraxinus excelsior). I am no expert at identifying fungi so I have loaded the following photographs to iSpot (http://www.ispot.org.uk/frontpage) to seek id support from the community. I will update the blog if ids provided.

The iSpot community did not let me down. Two ids provided plus a possible id.  See the captions under the relevant photographs for the species identifications. 

Pleurotus sp. poss. either P. ostreatus or P. cornucopiae. Need to revisit site to get improved images and images of the stipe. In P. cornucopiae the lamellae run down the stipe and criss-cross over each other to form a distinctive diamond pattern.

Pleurotus sp. poss. either P. ostreatus or P. cornucopiae. Need to revisit site to get improved images and images of the stipe. In P. cornucopiae the lamellae run down the stipe and criss-cross over each other to form a distinctive diamond pattern.
Pholiota adiposa

Pholiota adiposa
Silverleaf Fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum) on Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

Flora:

The following were in flower:

• White Dead-nettle (Lamium album);



• Red Clover (Trifolium pretense);



• Common Field Speedwell (Veronica persica);



• 2 species of Umbelliferae.




Birds:

• House martin (Delichon urbica) – small flocks;

• Swallow (Hirundo rustica) - small flocks;

• Buzzard (Buteo buteo) – at least 3 with one harassed by corvids;

• Red kite (Milvus milvus) – 6+;

• Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) – 2;

• Skylark (Alauda arvensis) – calling from recently drilled fields;

• Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) – 2 calling;

• Stock dove (Columba oenas) – possible the largest flock I have ever seen; 30+ individuals.


Mammals:

• 1 Brown hare (Lepus europaeus);

• Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) – evidence that they are feeding on maze hobs picked from the strips sown as game cover. Feeding stations found in Down Covert.