I spent a very pleasant seven hours at Cranford Park today. Of course I wasn't actively walking the whole time, I like nothing better than to find somewhere comfortable to sit, and take the time to really look around me.
In the woodlands by The Crane pub entrance, I found two large fungi specimens. Not quite what I was expecting to find in June.
Dryads Saddle - this one was as large as a dinner plate
Variety unknown - please feel free to advise me
The new wildlife pond outside the Information Centre is looking great and is already attracting some little critters. I found lots of wasps and bees on the edge of the pond, drinking. There were a pair of Large Red Damselfly's also. The nest box in front of the centre has definitely been occupied by Blue Tits, which is really surprising as Great Tits used the box last year. The Great Tits have moved to the back of the tree and found a hole to nest in there.
The wildlife pond.
I walked along side the river today, and found this young rabbit sunbathing.
It soon hopped away into the long grass and shrubs when I got too close.
Also along the river walk, I found all the below insects........
Large Red Damselfly
Comma butterfly - under wing view
female Scorpion Fly
Thick-Legged Flower Beetle
Longhorn Moth (look at the length of its antennae)
Near to the Information Centre, I found this Blue Tits nest. Last year they nested in exactly the same place, but it was predated and the young were all killed before they fledged. Normally I wouldn't photograph any nest sites as I don't want to disturb the adults or chicks, but I know the area well and know a spot where I can watch this nest without being seen by the birds or disturbing them. However this is not something I would recommend to anyone. If you do hear chicks calling, and an adult calling back, keep walking.
In the ancient woodland, I found this harassed looking adult Blue Tit below. There were newly fledged youngsters nearby, so I took one quick photo then left them alone.
A fledgling Great Tit was sat waiting for an adult to feed it....again, I grabbed one quick photo and moved on. I couldn't see any adults, but I could hear them.
Right at the back of the woods, near the Cranford Lane entrance, I found one solo male Kestrel. He was sitting in the tree we suspect is the nest site for the River Kestrels. There was no sign of the Woodland Kestrels today, even though I sat on my usual log near the nest tree to see if there were any comings or goings. By my estimations, and based on the UK Kestrel web cams I watch, the chicks should be about two weeks old now. The adults wont be on the nest with them the whole time anymore, they'll be off hunting and spending some bonding time together, ready for when the chicks fledge. I estimate this to be about another two-three weeks, and even after that the juveniles will still stay with the parents learning how to hunt for probably another three-four weeks.
Also in the woodland there were great family groups of Long-tailed Tits. I lost count of how many birds were in these groups as they were very active. Juveniles are very attractive at this stage, their heads are almost completely black. One sat posing for me for quite a while.
So a very nice stroll around the park. Only a couple of disappointments..........one of them being the amount of dog muck around. I've never seen so much before. I had to be really careful where I put my feet today. Cranford Park is normally full of responsible dog owners, so I was very surprised. Also up by the pond area by Cranford Lane, it looks as if someone has up-ended a rubbish bin. Again, I was very surprised as Cranford Park is normally kept so litter free. But apart from that it was a good day, and a long overdue visit.