A long weekend away featuring White-tailed Lapwing, 22 - 24 October 2021

Last weekend we took the motorhome up to East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire for a 3 day break. It was the perfect excuse to get my sorry arse in gear and see the long-staying White-tailed Lapwing at Blacktoft Sands! The fact that I don't tend to twitch much these days and having already seen the species in Kuwait are the main reasons for my lethargy but the time had come.

After a frustratingly slow drive up we arrived at Blacktoft and I headed straight to Marshlands Hide to find the bird immediately albeit a little distant. A little wait and some patience later it flew closer when everything on the scrape was spooked and I managed to get a few shots of it in good light. Around the scrape were c15 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Dunlin, 1 Ruff and 2 Redshank plus a strange plant growing in the middle of the scrape that caught my eye. It turned out to be Buttonweed, a rare naturalised plant favouring brackish mud - and a new one for me. On the walk back to the carpark for lunch several Common Darters were enjoying the sun and amongst them was a single male Black Darter - a pleasing find. 

We spent the rest of a rather grey afternoon at Crowle Moors which adjoins Thorne Moors. Sightings at this unique place were c300 Pink-footed Geese and 1 Lesser Redpoll plus a new and much wanted fungi for me - the stunning Blue Roundhead. Also there were numerous Hoof Fungus and Fly Agaric plus Bovine Bolete, Brown Birch Bolete and Aniseed Funnel. On the return walk an unfortunately dead Water Shrew was in the middle of the path. 

That night we 'wild' camped by the canal at nearby Ealand where Kingfisher and 4 Redwings were recorded as the sun set. 

                                                                                                                             White-tailed Lapwing
                                                                                                                                    Blue Roundhead
                                                                                                                                   Hoof Fungus
                                                                                                                                  Brown Birch Bolete
                                                                                                                                       Bovine Bolete
                                                                                                                                  Water Shrew

Saturday was best forgotten from a natural history viewpoint as we spent it in Lincoln city centre. Just 2 Grey Wagtails and some late Dwarf Mallow are worthy of mention.

                                                                                                                                  Dwarf Mallow

We spent Saturday night on the carpark at Willingham Woods near Market Rasen on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. In the morning 65 Pink-footed Geese passed over and 2 Bullfinches, several Siskins and Green Woodpecker were also seen. A long walk in the woods gave us some nice fungi - in particular a few White Saddle, Freckled Dapperling, Primrose Brittlegill and Aniseed Funnel plus a few more still to id. We then did another walk on a hilly part of the wolds near Tealby where 2 Ravens and some Yellow Fieldcaps were most welcome.

                                                                                                                             Pink-footed Geese
                                                                                                                                Aniseed Funnel
                                                                                                                                 Freckled Dapperling
                                                                                                                                Primrose Brittlegill

                                                                                                                                White Saddle
                                                                                                                               Yellow Fieldcap



Foxley Fungus Foray, 17 October 2021

After visiting parents on Sunday Belinda and I headed off to Foxley Wood for a walk and to see what fungi we could find. This is something that Belinda particularly enjoys and I think it was my first visit to the site in the autumn. 

It was a very good choice because we found loads of stuff and the variety was superb. The most spectacular find was the beautiful and delicate Crested Coral but we also winkled out Lilac Webcap, Aniseed Funnel, Jellybaby, Sinuous Chanterelle, Twig Parachute, Brown Birch Bolete, Fenugreek Stalkball, Cramp Balls, Warted Amanita, Glistening Inkcap, Blackening Waxcap, Stagshorn, Amethyst Deceiver, Fly Agaric, Trooping Funnel and a host of others which I'm still trying to id. That always seems to be the case with fungi - they aren't easy! 


                                                                                                                                     Crested Coral
                                                                                                                                       Brittlegill sp
                                                                                                                                 Sinuous Chanterelle
                                                                                                                                       Twig Parachute
                                                                                                                                   Glistening Inkcap
                                                                                                                                  Blackening Waxcap
                                                                                                                                    Cramp Balls
                                                                                                                                   Fenugreek Stalkball
                                                                                                                                          Aniseed Funnel
                                                                                                                                  Warted Amanita
                                                                                                                               Brown Birch Bolete

                                                                                                                                Lilac Webcap
                                                                                                                                       Bolete sp
                                                                                                                                         Bolete sp

A Mystery Spider, Pulham Market

During this past week one of Belinda's childminding children found an orange spider on the trunk of our Horse Chestnut tree. Closer inspection revealed it was clearly a female orb weaver sp - the question was - which one? I posted a picture on Twitter and got several different suggestions - Garden Orb Weaver, Marbled Orb Weaver and Four-spot Orb Weaver. It was a reply from British Spiders that really caught my eye however as they declared it wasn't typical of any UK species! They said that it would need microscopic examination or a very good photo of the epigyne on the underside to determine the species. 

Roll on a day and we found the beast again - this time guarding a 'sack' of eggs in a hole on the tree. Sadly the day after, as is natural, she died. I have now been asked to send the specimen to an expert in North Wales who will examine it in detail. Watch this space...

This week I also had another interesting garden find - a female Smooth (Common) Newt under a slab I lifted.    

Fungi fun, 12 October 2021

On Tuesday I took my friends Jeremy and Vanna Bartlett to Racecourse Plantation to show them the Allseed and Chaffweed they were interested in seeing. I did have an ulterior motive - the prospect of a new fungi!

We found the sticks I'd placed by the plants still more or less in situ and the plants still in good condition. Examination of the immediate vicinity revealed my wanted fungus too - the obsolutely tiny Bracken Club which grows on dead bracken stems. Vanna was in her element here and found us quite a few. Redwings were passing over in small groups and we also found Orange Peel Fungus, a scutellinia sp (probably Scutellinia olivascens, a close relative of Eyelash Fungus), Southern Bracket and Bramble Rust. We then retired back to the Bartlett's house for a cuppa where Jeremy very kindly gave me some Deadly Nightshade and Kidney Vetch seedlings which have been duly planted at Tattlepot acres! 

                                                                                                                                  Bracken Club

                                                                                                                              Orange Peel Fungus
                                                                                                                                    Scutellinia sp

Buoyed by the mornings success I was in the mood for fungi so decided to spend a bit of time in my local Tyrrels Wood in the late afternoon. It proved a good call with a number of species found - a really fresh Beefsteak Fungus, Rooting Bolete, Spindleshank, a pure white tricholoma sp most probably Blue Spot Knight, Brown Rollrim, Common Stinkhorn, Oak Pin, Oysterling sp, Common Puffball, masses of Amethyst Deceivers and Common Earthballs (one of which had Parasitic Bolete growing out of it), Rosy Bonnet, Deceiver, Southern Bracket and Silverleaf Fungus. Redwings were again much in evidence, a Nuthatch announced its presence and a Tawny Owl called twice in broad daylight at 15.48!

                                                                                                                                     Beefsteak Fungus
                                                                                                                                  Silverleaf Fungus
                                                                                                                               Common Stinkhorn
                                                                                                                                Brown Rollrim
                                                                                                                                        Rooting Bolete
                                                                                                                        probable Blue Spot Knight
                                                                                                       Parasitic Bolete on Common Earthball
                                                                                                                                       Oysterling sp
                                                                                                                                         Oak Pin