Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Predator(s)

Yesterday was a wash out all round but a trip to the marshes to get rid of some of the acumulated rain water revealed the perpetrator of our recent crime against rarities - this sparrowhawk - in all likelyhood the same which killed our pectoral sandpiper was again up to no good:

The black splodge below right is a juvenille moorhen narrowly escaping the same fate by jumping into the water:

A visit to the trail camera revealed another fearsome predator - not a bhutanese tiger - but of the areas feral american mink:

We actively catch these guys due to their massive damage to water vole populations. Put simply the only reason we have water vole is because we do this - despite it being an unpleasant job. We do this using the GCT mink rafts supplied by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - but the camera has also proved very useful - as the mink had not left any evidence in the clay sampling bed despite it being only a few metres away. The camera also caught a browsing roe deer. In case you take pity on it here is a much sweeter water vole pic from Michael Flowers:

Other birds of the day included a rather dark grey heron:

22 curlew roosting

And maybe one of the last hobby you'll see this year:

I missed the osprey which overflew North Marsh at 13:45 where the kingfishers were doing their usual act, but saw a buzzard in the semi-dark access road on the way out.

The moth trap turned up a total of 3 moths last night - a little different from the 5 hour sessions of a month ago! This lunar underwing being the highlight of two species:

Doug has also identified a micro moth I managed to catch in the centre here a few weeks back:

It is Indian meal moth - an international pest of stored grains - no doubt living on the sun-flower hearts for more info look here.

A brief delve into the world of fungi uncovered these monsters - giant puffball below:

And the prince - a whopping 33cm in diameter!

Finally my fungi ID two posts ago was predictably wrong - we believe it is actually false saffron milk cap - as per here