Monday, March 31, 2014

Cley Spy Pan listing Part 2: Signs of Spring

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

The latest additions include some encouraging sings of the turning season and an embarrassing ID slip.

One of the splashes of colour appearing all over the meadow is glorious sunshine yellow of coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). This plant has an interesting strategy of flowering early when there is little competition from other flowers and grasses, and then later developing its wide rounded leaves that give the plant its name. Another eager flower is common field speedwell (Veronica persica) which is growing in many locations mostly around the edges of the meadow and paths.

Moss (Tortula mural)

A valuable lesson was learnt when embarking on moss identification. Growing on top of the walls around the farm yard is a moss which I took to resemble one of the only species that I know the name for Grimmia pulvinata. It looked on cursory inspection to be the same as some Grimmia pulvinata that I had pointed out to me previously, and a quick internet image search produced a photo labelled as G. pulvinata that also looked just like it. The error was soon picked up by those more knowledgeable when I posted a photo on Twitter and I have since used a proper ID guide to establish it is in fact Tortula muralis as suggested. There is also G. pulvinata on the same wall so another two species added. The moral of this story is never
assume, check, and don't trust one source on the internet!

Lichen (Xanthoria parietina)
Lichens are even harder than mosses, but I am confident in the identification of Xanthoria parietina, from both its appearance and its abundance as this is one of the most rapidly expanding lichens in East Anglia. This will be the start and finish of my attempts to ID lichens without expert help as they are fiendishly difficult.

We were also pleased to have a group of six bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) mewing in the hedge running up to the wood. A pair of carrion crows have also taken to dropping in occasionally. Add to this chiffchaffs singing and buzzards and Mediterranean gulls calling overhead and it is really feeling like spring.

Here is how the list currently stands:

  1. Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) – A nice start to proceedings, feeding on the seed mix we put on the ground.
  2. Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
  3. Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
  4. Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
  5. Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) – Over the winter we have had a flock of over 150 of these talkative finches.
  6. Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
  7. Great tit (Parus major)
  8. Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
  9. Wood pigeon (Columba palumbus)
  10. Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) – A young male occasionally causes a bit of stir amongst the next species when he zooms in.
  11. House sparrow (Passer domesticus) – We are fortunate to have a good flock of these chirping away in the hedges and on the buildings around the yard.
  12. Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) – A bit exciting this one, a cracking male drifted across the field delighting the customers who were testing binoculars at the time.
  13. Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
  14. Common buzzard (Buteo buteo) – Our local population is starting to display over the woods on the hill in preparation for spring.
  15. Blackbird (Turdus merula)
  16. Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
  17. Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
  18. Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
  19. Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
  20. Feral pigeon (Columba livia)
  21. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
  22. Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
  23. Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
  24. Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
  25. Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
  26. Common reed (Phragmites australis)
  27. Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)
  28. Dog rose (Rosa canina)
  29. English oak (Quercus robur) – These were planted around ten years ago along with some hawthorn at the top of the meadow.
  30. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
  31. Wild strawberry (Potentilla vesca)
  32. Alexander (Smyrnium olusatrum)
  33. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
  34. Colt's foot (Tussilago Farfara)
  35. Weld (Reseda luteola)
  36. Ivy (Hedera helix)
    Common frog (Rana temporaria)
  37. Brown rat ( Rattus norvegicus) – One dead in the middle of the meadow. Part eaten by something...
  38. Ivy (Hedera helix)
  39. Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
  40. Lichen (Xanthoria parietina)
  41. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
  42. Moss (Tortula muralis)
  43. Moss (Grimmia pulvinata)
  44. Carrion crow (Corvus corone)
  45. Common field speedwell (Veronica persica)
  46. Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
  47. Mediterranean gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
  48. Common gull (Larus canus)
  49. Herring gull (Larus argentatus)
  50. Stock dove (Columba oenas)
  51. Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

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