Nature Blog Network

on nightjars and other summer migrants

Rather quiet up on Saunder Height today with no lapwings, swallows or swifts, all gone, and just a few meadow pipits still around as a reminder of summer. The skylarks were quiet as well.

Yet there was one summer migrant still around a few days ago, with the ‘churr churr churr’ of the nightjar clearly heard on the lane at about 9.30 one evening. I thought it was a bit late in the year for nightjars this far north and wondered for a while if it was actually a barn owl (which can mimic a nightjar surprisingly closely at times). But the seasons are running later this year and nightjars are still being reported in Northumberland and other similar locations. So, on reflection, have gone with the nightjar.

Both barn and tawny owls still around, together with what sound like a juvenile tawny :)

signs of autumn

As well as a drop in temperature and shorter evenings, other signs of autumn have become evident over the last few days. Tree fruit have been dropping, first the lime. then the beech and oak and latterly horse chestnut. Lime leaves have began turning and started to fall, these are the first and so far the only ones to do so. Fledgelings are looking a little less vulnerable and bats a bit slower. Swifts have gone and swallows more scarce.

Fungi are emerging and dying, often within a few days. Some (not desperately brilliantly photographed) examples from the lane recently…

Lacrymaria lacrymabunda:
Lacrymaria lacrymabunda 2 thumbnailLacrymaria lacrymabunda 1 thumbnail Lacrymaria lacrymabunda 4 thumbnail

Coprinus disseminatus:

Coprinus disseminatus 1 thumbnail

tar spot disease

One of the sycamore saplings on the lane is showing the signs of tar spot disease whilst the others are free of it at present. Tar spot is caused by the fungus Rhytisma acerinum, and whilst strictly a pathogenic disease the tree can live with it quite nicely. The fungus overwinters on fallen leaves and produces new spores in the spring.

It is said that it is only in recent years that tar spot has been seen on trees in northern areas; previously it was killed off by the atmospheric pollution.

tar spot 2 thumbnail tar spot 1 thumbnail

garden birds again

Having commented on a a paucity of garden birds a fortnight ago they seem to have returned over the last couple of weeks with 8 species of tits and finches being seen on the feeders recently. The presence of juveniles is making identification more interesting and challenging. Now it is the blackbirds and crows which seem to have disappeared.

Not seen him, but the Tawny Owl has been heard a lot recently. Not heard the Barn Owl for a bit.