Monday, 17 October 2016

Sunny autumn day at North Cliff Wood

Although the lure of the coast and its migration wonders was there, I decided to head inland, to the small jewel that is North Cliffe Wood. There seem to always be something interesting going on there and I wanted to take advantage of the sunny weather forecast to try and see some late insects. Although it was quite windy, the shelter of the trees made for a pleasant walk around. 
 A few Parasol Mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera) were open in all their magnificence at the start of the heath. Its is hard to show in a photo how large they are!
 Many Common Darters were about and they became more active as the morning progressed. No Migrant Hawkers though.
Female Common Darter
Male Common Darter.
There were also plenty of droneflies, here a male Eristalis tenax.
I saw a hornet in flight with the corner of my eye. It was on a sunny spot by the path, with an almost dry pond covered on reeds on the side. I waited a bit and then saw another. They appeared to be patrolling over the reeds. I thought that they might come and rest on the path or on the trees, as it was still a bit cold. One did. It was still quite high, so no macro shots, but I was pleased with them, my best hornet shots yet!

As I restarted my walk, Redwings called their alarm calls. I noticed a rowan ahead and watched. The Redwings left, but there was a flock of Bramblings feeding on the berry seeds, discarding the pulp (which I suspect thrushes will eat from the forest floor later). I moved slowly to a better position and sat on a mossy cushion. Watched and photograph the Bramblings from there. A Fieldfare joined them for a short while.
Male brambling

A group of Long-tailed tits made their appearance later as I was having my lunch on the clearing where the hornets were. They were in the company of a Great tit, a Coal Tit and a Marsh tit. Common Darters sat on the sunny spot and hunted from the path. A Common Carder bee queen also came down to bask. Over my head a gliding butterfly, a Red Admiral, which settled on a tree.
Common Carden Bee, Bombus pascuorum.

A Field Digger Wasp, Mellinus arvensis.
A robberfly, likely Machinus atricapillus

I had checked many logs today, not finding much of interest, until this:
A Crab spider, Ozyptila sp. unfortunately, just after taking this shot, it rolled onto dry leaves and I couldn't find it again.
A pair of Buzzards called, soaring over the heathland. When I looked up, a kestrel was hovering practically over my head, with the Buzzards higher up. A passing crow decided he had to bother the Buzzards and climbed up to their level and started mobbing one.
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