Monday, 22 November 2010

Smewing up

Heavy snow said when I logged on tonight - but all good stuff - a north-easterly turn in the winds yesterday saw the much anticipated arrival of the smew - Tophill's signature winter bird. Whilst no drake yet, there is no complaining as we had five yesterday and a sixth today. This means we immediately keep our standings in the WeBS league tables (6 is our average figure, but we were down to a winter maxima of 4 last year). Apart from a brief foray over D res they are resident as usual at Watton NR:

Also there yesterday was a pintail, with another Med gull on the roost on D. A couple of pink feet have also been about, along with 63 gadwall on N Lagoon alone:

Otherwise the main action was on the feeders. The sparrowhawk has been causing upset for some time, but having an office which overlooks the feeders means I have developed a skill for predicting when it will attack!

So sandwich in one hand and camera in other I got goldfinch and great spot:

And then - too fast to get! Unfortunately a 'what might have been image':

And then some quite atmospheric - but ultimately too obscured images of it perched:

Oh well - if you fancy a go it seems very active at the moment - why sit in a cold and draughty hide when you can sit in one with central heating? (please ring if you intend to come during the week as the centre is not always open).

The attacks increased later in the afternoon as it appeared to become increasingly desperate to make a catch. Bad press as they get you can't help but feel sorry for it with the coming weather...

To warm things up Doug Fairweather has ent in these fine shots - not taken on the great barrier reef believe it or not! - Doug explains all...

Leocarpus fragilis was found growing on a Willow chip from one of the woodchip heaps on the river bank, It's a wonder in miniature, with each small structure measuring a mere 2mm high by 1mm wide:

There are also photo's of three other myxo's (already on the list) taken during this year, that may be of interest:
Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa:

Lycogala terrestre:

Mucilago crustacea:

Although there are several Myxomycetes on the Tophill Fungus list they aren't fungi at all, but belong to the kingdom Protozoa. They tend to be treated as fungi because they possess several characteristics associated with fungi.