Nature Report – W/e 24th Nov 2013

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower – Albert Camus

Weather

The worm has turned, weather wise this week.  What started off as crisp blue sky days quickly turned into wet, blustery, cold ones.  The kind of weather that makes you want to stay in bed all day and certainly not venture outside, although I did and managed to get caught in rain showers twice!

I’ve even had trouble getting Mouse to go out for a walk in this rain.  As much as she loves walking, a walk in the rain is something altogether different and she puts the breaks on and will go no further until we retreat home.

However as cold as it’s been this week  (we even had a frost on Monday morning), there have still been periods of sunshine which has got me out and about walking.  I also managed to capture a beautiful sunset this week too.

Habitats

This week I’ve ventured out into urban quarters, parks, and got to spend time at the beach.

Birds

The ring neck doves, of which I counted 6 in the garden the other day, appear very happy to sit about, pecking and pruning all day without moving.  Intermittently a pair of great tits and blue tits flit between the feeders and in the early morning sparrows take up their place to feed on both the table and feeders.  Late in the afternoon the robin makes his final feed for the day on the table.  I was hoping that by increasing the black sunflower seed within the feed it would encourage the finches but I haven’t seen one yet, although apparently the goldfinches head off to France and Spain at this time of year, which to be honest I can’t blame them.

Had a rather interesting find just walking along today.  In a field, about 2 miles from the sea I came across a flock of curlews getting some wormy snacks.

Mammals

I saw our resident grey squirrel this week jumping between trees.  He looked like he was busy, also saw a couple in the park on a walk too this week.  The park has houses just for squirrels, high up in the trees.  I’d never even noticed them before until I saw the squirrel dart up to it.  The little Mouse (not the pooch), has now made his way to the bird seed on the floor.  I saw him a couple of times this week although I am sure he’s not alone.

Wildflowers/Plants 

Nothing really new to report this week.  I have noticed many gardens have got bright yellow plants, on tall stems with spiky looking leaves, on show at the moment, which I’ve never noticed before.  I believe they are called Mahonia japonicas.  Now I see them everywhere!

Trees

I saw the most beautiful Japanese Acer in someone’s garden as I walked past it the other day.  It was much bigger than our Acer but the colour was really vibrant red.  I’m guessing the weather has been perfect for the leaves to turn this colour because they really do stand out against all others at the moment.  Sadly though even their leaves are dropping now.  Only the beech and oak hold steady with their leaves now.

Fungus 

I’ve got an ID book!  I must say it’s still not easy though.  The identification of fungi comes not only from it’s colour, size and shape but also from how it grows (in clumps, or singularly), where it grows, and what can be found on it’s stem.  I was surprised at how many ‘odd’ looking mushrooms can be eaten although there are many more that can’t so I don’t think I’ll be picking them any time soon.  In the mean time I’ll ID them as best I can when I see them.

I came across a clump on my journey this week not seen before.  They were on a playing field no less, in a circle format and although I can’t be sure on the variety I’m guessing they were Fairy Ring Champignon based on where I found them.

Invertebrates

Nothing to note this week because I haven’t seen anything – just one cabbage caterpillar chrysalis on the apple espalier in the garden but even that looked sorry for itself.  Perhaps the recent frost has put paid to all but the hardiest of insects.

Fishes

No, nothing.  I didn’t fancy paddling in the North Sea while at the beach but I did come across the shells of the razor clam and mud snail shells.

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