Friday, 31 October 2014

Red Kite feeding

It's half term, so Bug Mad Girl and I decided to feed the Red Kites and watch the show they put on. We don't feed them very often, but it's such a spectacular sight to see them diving down to pick up chicken from the lawn, that it's areal treat when we do.

Two magpies were the first to spot the chicken. They seemed very nervous about going near it, probably because they knew who it was for! They turned their backs on it and had a bit of a chat about what to do next, then turned and charged at it, glancing up all the time.

"So, how shall we go about this then?"

Just make a dash for it and see what you can get

But keep checking above you!
There's nothing that annoys a Red Kite more than a magpie trying to steal it's chicken, so it didn't take long for the kites to start circling and calling. They are such beautiful birds!

Then they swooped, chasing off the magpies and trying to grab the chicken. At the first attempt they dropped it, but went round again and got it the next time. Several more swoops and all the chicken was gone.
#100DaysOfNature Day 100
A magpie making a hasty exit (behind the kites right wing)

Dropped the chicken

Got it this time!

Almost flew into the trampoline!

All of these photos were taken out of my kitchen window. Not a bad view of the back garden drama!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Patio Hedgehog

A friend of Nanny Moth has a hedgehog that visits her patio every night for a snack. In fact, he's such a regular visitor that Nanny Moth has to pop round to put food out for him if her friend goes away. Bug Mad Girl stayed at Nanny Moth's, so she decided to do some detective work and take the trail camera round to see what the hedgehog gets up to in the night.

He visited a lot- in these photos, at 9pm, 12.30am and 3.20am, but they had 23 different visits recorded on the camera. It's hard to tell if it's the same hedgehog each time, but I thought the third photo might show a smaller one (but it could just be the angle of the photo).

A cat made an appearance a couple of times, but luckily the hedgehog was nowhere to be seen then!

There were lots of videos of the hedgehog as well. This one shows him having a really good dig in between the patio slabs. I assume he'd lost one of his treats in there.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

6 Lovey Doves

There were 6 Lovey Doves on the bird table this morning when I got up. I guess they're a family. They all had the black line around the back of their necks (young ones don't have this initially), but they could still be the parents and 4 young adults.

Three flew onto the patio table and looked in the kitchen window at me. I'm not sure what they were waiting for, but they seemed to be expecting something.

#100DaysOfNature Day 97

Monday, 27 October 2014

A walk through Chinnor Hill

It was such as beautiful day today that we went for a walk through the woods at Chinnor Hill. It's stunning woodland made up mostly of ancient beech trees.

#100DaysOfNature Day 99

Initially there seemed to be very few fungi, but there was actually quite a lot there, it just took a bit of hunting as it was all well camouflaged in the fallen leaves.

We found two very small Amethyst Deceivers. The picture doesn't show the colour very well as they were actually really quite purple. There were also several patches of Rosy Bonnets. They are pale pink when they are newly grown, turning darker as they get older. They're a pretty colour, but toxic, so not to be touched.

Amethyst Deceiver
Pale pink, newly emerged Rosy Bonnets

Rosy Bonnets

A Rosy Bonnet that has turned darker as it aged

We found a few different ink caps - They start out domed, then flatten out, turn black and start to disintegrate, literally dripping away like ink (hence the name).

I believe this is an ink cap that has started to disintegrate
We found one ink cap that appeared to have flecks of white on the cap, which were the remnants of the covering that had been over the cap when it first grew (similar to the white spots on a fly agaric). This one could be a Magpie Ink Cap, which is quite a rare find.

#100DaysOfNature Day 96 - Magpie Ink Cap

There were several types of bracket fungus, including Many-zones Polypore, Dryad's Saddle and Artisit's Fungus.

Many-zoned Polypore

Dryad's Saddle

Artist's Fungus

The underside of Artist's Fungus - it gets it's name because you are
supposed to be able to draw on the white surface.
A few of our other discoveries ...

Maybe a type of bracket fungus - it looked well chewed!

Large yellow fungus hidden in the leaf litter

Fairies Bonnets

Growing out of a hole in a log

Common Puffballs
Looks a bit like popcorn - called Variable Oysterling

#100DaysOfNature Day 98 - Variable Oysterlings

We also found a tree trunk with lots of holes in it, that I believe are made by a bee, maybe a Carpenter Bee.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

One more moth trap

We decided to set up the moth trap last night for one last time this year. There have been lots of stories of weird and wonderful moths turning up because of the weather we've been having.

We had high hopes that we'd catch an Oleander Hawk Moth or something equally as exotic, so were a little bit disappointed when we opened the box and found a few small orange moths. These are similar to the small brown moths that we caught all summer, but now they're orange, presumably to blend in with the autumn leaves. They're still quite pretty though!

We caught a few other moths. This one is called a Black Rustic and has silver underwings and two silver bars on it's wings.

#100DaysOfNature Day 95 - Black Rustic moth
We also caught a selection of small grey moths - none of which I know the name of!

The moth traps packed away now and we'll have another go in the spring.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Garden spiders

I found this great big garden spider sitting in our plastic greenhouse. I think she's a female as she was very big. When she saw me, instead of dashing off into the shadows, she made a single thread and very slowly lowered herself down and sank out of sight.

#100DaysOfNature Day 93 - Disappearing very
slowly out of sight
I've never paid very much attention to the them before, but they have the most amazing markings. A group of white spots make a cross on their backs and they have brown and cream stripy legs. These are the spiders that spin the orb webs, made of spirals of silk spun around radial threads. When an insect flies into the web, they rush out and wrap it in sticky silk.

They're very different to House Spiders, which have a much longer, thinner body and spin a sheet web (usually in the corner of a room).