Nature Notes # 27
Sparky and myself came across these Parasol fungi on a walk through Tatton Park on Sunday (29th September). Nothing unusual there you would think but these were massive examples of the species compared to ones we have seen previously. The image of the cap (above) measured 35 cm in diameter. Generally seen from July to November and found in meadows at the woodland edge.
Special features: They are conical in shape when young, but as they mature they become almost flat. The caps are a creamy colour with brownish scales, and the gills are also creamy white.
The Parasol mushroom cap is quite tasty if cooked, but can be poisonous if eaten raw.
On a totally different note I found this cracking little critter today moving through Beech trees.
A Pale Tussock Larva/caterpillar which had hairy yellow body with a red tail and black body segments. The imaged shown is from UK Safari.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker photographed by Alyn on a fence post at Marsh Farm and a returning flock of 11 Golden Plover were sighted over the farm.
3 Little Egret and 200 Wigeon were on the Frodsham Score.
Black-necked Grebe, 2 Ruff and 2 Curlew Sandpiper again on No 6 tank. Juveniles of both Marsh Harrier and (2) Peregrine were noted.
6 Blackcap in a hawthorn bush on the banks of No 5 tank were gathering for the big push. Autumnal Jays and a couple of Sparrowhawk were on and over No 4 tank. The highlight for one observer (FD) were 2 Kingfisher watched at the CEGB pools and pushes the observers Frodsham Marsh year list ever on.
Observers: Paul Crawley, Alyn Chambers, Frank Duff.
A dusk watch with Frank overlooking No 6 tank from the viewing area was quite eventful with the Black-necked Grebe tending to its plumage prior to roosting up with the local Tufties. c 500 Common Teal, 4 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 13 Tufted Duck and small numbers of Common Shelduck added to the totals.
Pockets of Raven heading back to their Welsh homeland at dusk and an artillery burst from a Cetti’s Warbler made for a rewarding end as the setting sun illuminated the western horzion.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM.
A Little Egret flying along the score settled out of sight below the bank (8 were here recently per Paul Ralston).
A juvenile Great Crested Grebe on the Manchester Ship Canal below Marsh Farm was a slight diversion from our visual migration watch at Marsh Farm where we tallied up 550 hirundines over a period of 4 hours, the majority were Swallow. We had an impressive 340 Meadow Pipit, 100 Skylark and smaller figures of Buzzard and Sparrowhawk, both Pied Wagtail a single Grey Wagtail added to the count. A male Greenland Wheatear was dwarfing a male Northern alongside. Single figure Greenfinch and Linnet. Nearby a flock of 32 Raven were patrolling the banks of Frodsham Score and occasionally picking on a poor Kestrel that was hunting the canal side embankments.
On the Mersey Estuary a flock of 48 Cormorant repositioned their afternoon siesta roost, c1000 Common Shelduck, 400 Dunlin, 14 Black-tailed Godwit and 50 Curlew.
The River Weaver had 19 Little Grebe and 72 Tufted Duck (which may account for the lack of numbers on No 6 tank). Meanwhile, the Weaver Bend attracted 16 Mute Swan, 3 Pintail, 53 Redshank, 2 Ruff, 15 Black tailed Godwit and 75 Common Teal.
No 6 tank pulled in a Black-necked Grebe, 550 Common Teal, 3 Pintail, 10 Tufted Duck, female Ruddy Duck, 7 Ringed Plover, a single Redshank, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff and 3 Black-tailed Godwit.
An adult Hobby was perched up on a pylon opposite the ramp onto No 6 tank.
Observers: Paul Crawley, Frank Duff, Sean O’Hara, WSM.
8 Little Egret present on the River Mersey and salt marsh at Wigg Island, Runcorn. Also reported there was an Osprey for 30 minutes before flying east along the river at 11.30 am. It or another was reported flying west along the Manchester Ship Canal and over Ellesmere Port Boat Museum at 12.30 pm (ties in nicely?).
Observers: Don Weedon, Shaun Hickey.
A Common Snipe, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Ruff were the only waders present this evening.
25 Cormorant in the dusk roost contained a ringed individual (pictured). 7 Pintail, 100 Common Teal, 12 Tufted Duck, 23 Mallard and a female Ruddy Duck made up for an under par bird watch.
Observer and images: WSM.
The female Ruddy Duck was again hanging out with the 40 strong Tufted Duck flock, 6 female/juvenile/eclipse and a single male Pintail were notable. A single Pochard and 100 Common Teal added to the numbers.
A juvenile female Marsh Harrier wandered in at dusk and began looking for her supper. Several Common Buzzard and Raven were present.
A couple of juvenile Curlew Sandpiper dropped into the eastern edge of No 6 tank late on.
Observers: Frank Duff, Mr Childs, WSM (and images).
A short video of a mother Ruddy Duck with two ducklings which perished two days later. http://youtu.be/WpsWyGqMKQU
Weaver Bend: 45 Redshank, 6 Mute Swan, Jay, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, 2 Great Crested Grebe, Kestrel, 20+ Meadow Pipit.
No.6 tank: 3 Curlew Sandpiper (on small pool), 2 female Pintail, 1 female Ruddy Duck, 2 Hobby (1 carrying prey harassed by the other), Buzzard on pylons and Great Spotted Woodpecker in trees next to bridge over motorway.
Observer: Sean O’Hara
A fine male Kingfisher performed well along the brook at the Holpool Gutter with 2 Grey Wagtail, a noisy Wren and an inquisitive Buzzard kept The King well and truly on his toes.
Observations and prose by Stuart Maddocks.