Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A wander around North Cliffe Wood

Fly Agaric fungi
Yesterday morning we headed down to North Cliffe Wood in the hope of getting some autumnal scenes with our two differing camera systems, and with largely sunny and clear skies conditions were very promising when we arrived shortly after 10am. In the fields beside the reserve the farmer was lifting the Neeps (that's what their called in Scotland anyway!) and on the way to the wood we also saw a farmer pulling a trailer full of recently harvested carrots, a delicious sight indeed. However all this agriculture is straying away from the main purpose of our visit and this was to enjoy the autumnal scenes in the woodland which I will presently describe and illustrate below.

Rowan berries

Aspen glowing in the November sunshine

More gorgeous golden leaves

I'm not sure why I've included this photo but I kind of liked it for some strange reason

The first real highlight of the morning came courtesy of some stunning golden Aspens (at least I think they were Aspens) which really did glow in the November sunshine, and as we walked along the western path we went through a short tunnel of these wonderful trees which perhaps have the best autumnal colours of any native British tree. Indeed the scene did remind me of some of the stunning colours which one can find in the North American Rockies at this time of year where Aspens grow in far greater numbers than here in the UK and though I have had the good fortune to explore much of America in the past, especially the western and mountain states, I have never been there in 'fall' and would love to go back to explore the region in late September or October one day.

Newly emerged Fly Agaric

Parasol Mushroom in an early state of development

Another Fly Agaric photo

Continuing onwards through the wood we encountered a few specimens of Fly Agaric still in fruit, always a pleasing sight, while on the edge of the heath a clump of Parasol Mushrooms were found in varying stages of development, some still shaped like clubs while others had fallen over and were beginning to rot away. Indeed throughout the morning we would come across lots of fungi still going strong despite recent frosts, of course most beyond my shamefully woeful mycology knowledge, but despite this I enjoyed looking at these fascinating and all too transient organisms (I used to try ID'ing fungi on this blog but a well known local and somewhat opinionated naturalist of note whom shall remain nameless was somewhat rude once and so I don't even attempt it anymore).

A toppled over Parasol Mushroom

I think these are a type of Toughshank, probably Butter Cap

Candle Snuff fungus

Heading into the core of the woodland we heard the distant call of a Jay somewhere deep within the trees, while in the wetter areas of the birch woodland we flushed a Woodcock beside the footpath, one of my favourite woodland birds. In fact we would flush another Woodcock later during our walk in a different part of the wood and it some seem that these very handsome but very secretive birds are back in numbers for the winter. Other birds of interest included plenty of Redwings, Marsh Tit, a Tawny Owl, Buzzards, and Treecreeper.

Oak leaves floating on the pond

Acorn 'hats'

Unidentified fungi

The warm(ish) sunshine also brought out a few lingering insects, including at least one Common Darter on the edge of the heath which was basking in the aforesaid sunshine on a clump of cut Bracken. Ladybirds were also very apparent, as they are indeed back home near Beverley at the moment where we seem to have suffered a population explosion of Harlequin Ladybirds this year, though here at North Cliffe most species seemed to be of the native types.

Common Darter, could this be the last dragonfly I see this year ?

A closer (and cropped) view of this ferocious predator

Spider on its web

Meanwhile I had the moth trap out on two nights recently, the first night producing zilch (it was cold and frosty so I wasn't that surprised) while Monday night was slightly better with 10 moths of four species, including a decent new one in the form of Juniper Carpet. The complete catch included the aforementioned Juniper Carpet (x1), Red-green Carpet (x4), Light Brown Apple Moth (x2) and Ashy Button or Acleris sparsana (x3). I'm hoping to do more trapping this week and indeed as the weather grows ever colder I intend to keep trapping at least once a week or whenever conditions seem more favourable.

PS. I am a bit rushed today and have no time to reply to some of your lovely messages on previous posts or indeed comment on your own blog posts so please forgive me for this, I will certainly try and get around to it when time allows :-) I would also like to thank Lou Mary and Naomi Hepton for your kind retweets the other day, much appreciated :-)

I had to finish with another shot of the beautiful Aspen leaves :-)