Feeding frenzy

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s adventures in the Highlands.  She went out on a boat and saw these bottle nosed dolphins disporting themselves.

bottle nosed dolphins

I had another quiet morning with high quality idling only interrupted by the need to mow the middle lawn and the desire to capture the continuing beauty of the peonies as they develop.

peonies

More roses are arriving too.

Lilian Austin and Rosa Complicata
Lilian Austin and Rosa Complicata

Mrs Tootlepedal has some Alchemilla growing under the espalier apples and it is another of those fairly dull looking flowers until you peer more closely.

Alchemilla

The garden is full of sparrows and there were always a handful round the feeder when I looked out of the kitchen window.

sparrows

They got a bit impatient from time to time and didn’t necessarily wait for the a perch to become clear before getting a seed.

sparrows

It was a grey but dry and reasonably warm day and after lunch Sandy came round by arrangement, as we were planning a walk.  He had realised though that he had forgotten that it was his day to refill the Moorland Feeders and so instead of walking, we drove up to the feeding station and did the job.

We decided that a short sit in the hide might be a good way to spend some time and settled down to see what arrived on the feeders.

The short sit stretched out to an hour and we had plenty to entertain us.

It started with a pheasant.

pheasant

…and continued with a steady stream of siskins.

siskins

There are a good number of woodpeckers in the surrounding woods and there were never less than three to be seen today, often chasing each other around the tree trunks.

The clouds were fairly thick so it wasn’t the best day for taking pictures of birds at a distance but the woodpeckers are irresistible.

woodpecker
A woodpecker pecking wood

I spotted a jay but the arrival of a minibus with a group of nature loving children in it caused the bird to fly off.  Luckily the children went away on a bug hunt and the sharp eyed Sandy noticed that the jay had retuned.

jay

The children came back to the hide so Sandy and I drove off homewards.  We were brought to a sudden halt a few hundred yards down the road by the sight of a very large fungus on an oak tree.

oak fungus

My fungus book says that this might be an example of Laetioporus sulphureous and says it is edible.  Indeed if it is Laetioporus sulphureous, it is also known as the ‘chicken of the woods’.  It was certainly big enough to provide a meal for a large family but I would have to have a lot more knowledge before I would risk eating it.

It was very striking, especially growing on the trunk of an oak tree in full leaf.

fungus on oak tree

The leaves of the tree were covered with a sticky substance so I don’t know whether the appearance of the fungus is a sign of illness in the tree.

We drove on and decided to have a shorter version of our original planned walk.  This took us up through a beautiful oak wood and then back down Jenny Noble’s Gill.  It is a favourite walk for both Sandy and me…

Oak wood

…and it is not hard to see why.

The bracken is just coming out and the tips of the plants were very decorative.

bracken

bracken

We kept our eyes open for interesting things and I noticed another sort of fungus while Sandy spotted a beetle on a leaf…

fungus and beetle

…but it was hard to take your eyes of the oak trees themselves.

oaks

Our route took us across an old railway line and I used the black and white capability of the Lumix to take this picture of one of the old stiles which walkers had to use in days gone by.

stile

We walked through the open gate today.  Between the birds at the feeder and the bracken among the oaks, we reckoned that we had spent the afternoon very well.

In the evening, Susan kindly drove me down to Carlisle for a meeting of our recorder group and we puffed away merrily when we got there.

The flying bird of the day is the jay.

flying jay

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Feeding frenzy

  1. When you and Sandy go off together you always find interesting things.
    That does look like chicken of the woods, which isn’t common in spring. The fungus grows on live or dead oaks and causes a brown heart rot, so if you see it on a live oak it won’t be alive for long, I’m afraid. The fruiting bodies that are in your photo appear long after the actual fungus has invaded the tree.

  2. A very beautiful walk with many interesting things to see. I like the stile for getting over fencing. I don’t know if they have such groups where you are, but sometimes the local mycological societies offer mushroom walks. Oregon has native truffles, and I have that tour on my bucket list.

    The birds at the feeders do look a bit impatient to get seed.

  3. I remember going over stiles like that while walking in Scotland in 1975. I found them fascinating and photographed different sorts.

    I like that you and Sandy both have an eye for details.

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