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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Goosanders in the Mist

In an inversion of the usual weather, Morwenstow was in bright sun this morning but down at sea level in Bude it was patchily misty. We very nearly called of the Bude Marsh and Valley Survey quarterly transect but in the end decided to carry on with it.

We started off with all the usual suspects, on the canal and in the trees and shrubs. However at Peter Trustcott's Bridge, we were fortunate to find two Willow Warblers foraging in the bare trees and a Kingfisher.

Across the canal near the 1-mile marker was that rare species of mammal – a rabbit!

Spring flowers were out too – Lesser Celandine, Primroses – lots of “Pussy” Willow in bud and Alexanders starting to flower. Their leaves were host to a rust fungus Puccinia smyrnii.  As were fungi, we spotted quite a few Blushing Brackets Daedaleopsis confragosa as well as a dead Elder sporting Jelly Ear Fungus Auricularia auricula-judae.

Alexander rust fungus Puccinia smyrnii 
We were almost at the end of our walk near Petherick's Mill when a passer-by walking his dog jokingly referred to our ability to see birds in the thickening mist. As he move on, we all focussed through a break in the Typha where a small pool was visible and were able vastly to increase our species count. In a 20m stretch were, Snipe, Mallard, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Wigeon, Teal and a Goosander.


Well worth turning out for and a sight not to be missed.

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