Fly Agaric Bonanza

September 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Pied Billed GrebeThere is little doubt that September is the best month of the year for fungi. On Hopwood this week there have been the best examples of Fly Agaric that I have ever seen. Also present this week there has been a continual passage of Swallows and House Martins with more Siskins arriving all the time. After an apparent absence during the Summer a Green Woodpecker was present on the 22nd. It was also pleasing to note a Roe Deer fawn which is the first proof of breeding of Roe Deer on Hopwood.

In the garden we have put some fat balls out this week which attracted thirteen House Sparrows one day plus a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. Unfortunately the male Sparrowhawk struck on 25th and was seen to fly off with prey so he continues to hunt through the garden.

A seven mile walk around the mature woods of Dunham Massey produced a Green Woodpecker and charm of up to forty Goldfinches. Nuthatches were everywhere and there was much evidence of overnight Badger activity.

Grey Phalarope Sorte

September 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Pied Billed GrebeOn the 12th I received word that the gale had blown a Grey Phalarope inland to Ashworth Moor reservoir on Owd Betts. As I didn’t think I would be able to obtain any film of the bird in the strong wind I decided to wait until first light on the 13th when, in calmer conditions, I might have a better chance of holding the camera steady. It was, of course, a big mistake as the Phalarope flew off at first light and I was left with just a Common Sandpiper and a Charm of thirty Goldfinches for company. So this week’s photo is one I took earlier, much earlier in fact in Spitsbergen when it was in full Summer plumage and completely different to the one this week at Owd Betts. The last Grey Phalarope seen in Rochdale was seen in 1899 so I may have to wait a long time to see the next one!

On Hopwood on the 16th forty Swallows were feeding and resting on one of the fairways. Along Trub Brook was a mixed Swallow / House Martin flock of a hundred birds feeding on insects in the shelter out of the wind.

Magpie Record

September 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Pied Billed GrebeDespite the fact that no food is now being placed in the garden we had a record four Magpies together on one day. Coal Tits and Wren have also been seen but sadly a Collared Dove has died of the disease this week so it looks like it is going to take some time to clear.

On Hopwood a party of sixteen Long Tailed Tits was encountered and a Chiffchaff was still singing. The only sun of the week was on the ninth producing three Small Tortoiseshell butterflies and one Speckled Wood

September is always my quietest time of the year for filming so my attentions have now turned to the new DVD which will be on Raptors. Sixty hours have already been spent on viewing tapes , writing the script and downloading the sequences. The DVD will hopefully be finished by November and will include an in depth look at sixteen species of Raptor filmed in the Pennines, Cairngorms and the Hebrides.

Reflective Heron

September 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Pied Billed Grebe

This week's photo is of a Heron that I filmed on the Rochdale Canal in Castleton. Normally Herons can be wary birds but this one would tolerate being looked at from across the canal. It was the best day of the week weather wise and the Heron produced some good reflections as it patiently hunted the canal verge.

Whilst I was at Thornham Cricket Club this week I noticed good numbers of House Sparrows dust bathing and feeding in an area of gravel. A quick count indicated at least fifty four present which is the largest number I have seen locally for some time.

With no food going into the garden there is nothing to repost except that the male Sparrowhawk still comes but only a couple of times a day and of course leaves empty handed. A Wren was present one day and a Speckled Wood Butterfly.

On Hopwood charms of twenty plus Goldfinches are present and young Swallows are still in a nest in the golf club buggy shed. A Whitethroat was giving alarm calls so may still have a second brood.