Saturday, November 19, 2022

Waxcaps in Auckland park, Bishop Auckland

 

This has been the best autumn for waxcap toadstools that I can recall here in County Durham. This very mild, and lately very wet, November seems to have suited them perfectly.


I found these in ancient, unimproved calcareous grassland in Auckland park, Bishop Auckland this morning. I suspect that the one above and the two below might be the scarlet waxcap Hygrocybe coccinea, whilst the bottom two photos, with yellow gills, could be crimson waxcap Hygrocybe punicea, though it is hard to be sure. 





These exquisite little toadstools often seem to be associated with meadow ant nests in the park, which could have more to do with soil drainage than directly with ants. They toadstools are brittle and many are knocked over and broken by grazing animals.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Kestrels in the snow

We have had deep snow on the ground now for over a week, which makes it difficult for kestrels to locate their field mouse and vole prey. They are there, moving around in grassy tunnels under the snow, but relatively safe.

Hungry times for kestrels








 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Handsome heron

 

This very handsome heron has taken to perching on a rock just downstream of the bridge over the river Wear at Wolsingham, offering excellent views of his preening activities. The heron breeding season begins in February, so I imagine this is a prelude to February courtship.