Anyway this post seems to be quite long - apologies!
2 and a half weeks ago we embraced a warm, autumnal, still morning and took Bracken down to Seasalter beach for a walk. Before, when we have taken him there, the tide has been too far out, meaning swimming hasn't been possible. While walking along the top of the beach he found a shoe, which he decided to carry for most of the time. Goodness knows why someone left one shoe, which was in fairly good condition, lying on the beach. Anyway here are some of the photos from the walk.
There has been an influx of Brent geese. They always arrive at this time of year.
|Brent geese and gulls|
|Bar-tailed godwits, a turnstone and a gull|
|Making a splash...|
|...and some funny faces|
|...and some more funny faces and poses!|
Volunteering on 7th October was delightfully warm. Our task was to strip the old reserve sign stickers from the boards and put new ones up. Once we had replaced all 4 signs, we had lunch and then went for a walk with our cameras and scopes. I saw my first bearded tits, there were still hundreds of waders - bar tailed godwits, golden plovers, lapwings etc. Talking of bearded tits - if you haven't read Rory McGrath's autobiography which is named after these intriguing birds, then you should. I highly recommend it.
The lighting was nice and a rather handsome drake mallard posed for a close up.
We returned to the truck and headed back. As we drove back along the narrow road, something, possibly a peregrine or some other bird of prey, caused most of the resting birds to fly. The golden plovers, lapwings and godwits, swirled and swooped. A good tactic to avoid which ever predator spooked them. The cormorants, avocets and redshanks stayed put, not wanting to lose their spot on the island in the middle of the East flood. A few sparrows dispersed from the brambles close to the road.
The following week, our task was coppicing. Just some of the smaller trunks which could be felled with bow saws. An important woodland management technique to let light into the wood and allow certain species of flower and plant to thrive.
There was also a fair amount of fungi around...
|Green elfcup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens)|
Closer to home, I found this growing out of a notch in a fallen ash tree.
These small fungi had tiny little bobbles all over them. They were really quite sweet, as far as fungi go!
During an early evening walk we noticed this sun-bow. An interesting and beautiful phenomena.
We also heard and saw in the distance, 5 fieldfares. Just passing through. Hopefully the bunch which usually feast on the left over apples in the nearby orchard will make an appearance soon!
Walking along the footpath through one of the fields, a mixed flock of small birds flew up. No bins, just managed to get the photo below but they are too silhouetted for my ID skills.
Another evening dog walk after a heavy downpour meant huge puddles. Or is it a lake?! Bracken enjoyed splashing about in it anyway!
On Wednesday (23/10) I went out dormouse surveying again with Kevin (the warden I usually volunteer with) and we checked the 50 nest boxes in one of the local Kent Wildlife Trust owned woods. Last time we checked them we found several vacated dormouse nests and 2 of which contained dormice.
Once again 2 boxes (different boxes from the last survey) had dormice inside. At this time of year during the chilly days they enter into a state of torpor, whereby lowering their body temperature and therefore using less energy. They still feed at night, high up in the tree tops, trying to gain as much weight as they can before the winter arrives and they have to hibernate.
We were lucky enough to find a nest with two torpid dormice snuggled up inside! They were absolutely adorable! We held them and at first they didn't even stir. We popped one down on the woodland floor for a few seconds so I could get a natural looking photo. I then asked Kevin to take a geeky 'look I'm holding a tiny little dormouse' photo of me. We checked to see if the dormice were male or female, weighed them and put them back in their intricately woven nest and let them get back to their deep slumber. I do hope they survive their hibernation!
The other box was home to one male who was more active. Kevin showed me how to handle this lively individual too. One day maybe I'll train to get my dormouse handling license! You have to go on several handling courses and go out surveying with a license holder a number of times before you can get a license. They are a protected species so it is illegal to handle them unaccompanied if you don't possess a license.
|Me holding one of the gorgeous torpid dormice!|
|Jew's ear or jelly ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)|
|Woodland dappled in autumn light|
|aptly named dryad's saddle|
|A better example of green elfcup|
That is all for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the weather which has been forecast for this weekend isn't as dire as the warnings suggest! Thank you all for reading!