Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Bank voles and elf caps at Maple Lodge NR

I spent a lovely, but cold, few hours at Maple Lodge today. I read in the sightings book that two Bank Voles were being seen regularly at the Shell Hide, and I have never managed to get a good photo of the little cuties yet, so that was my first port of call. 

So I lost over an hour of my life sat inside the Shell Hide, with the door open and some seed scattered over the path and leaf litter. The plan worked in theory but what I didn't allow for was how fast moving these little critters are. All of my pics are a little out of focus because I really did not know where the voles would pop up next......







A Dunnock and a female Blackbird kept me company.... it was quite surprising how close they came to the door, I must have been well hidden inside....



I retreated to the warmth of the Rotunda Hide after the Shell, hoping to see at least one of the two Water Rails that are frequenting the pond area. I couldn't spot either of them and consoled myself with watching a pair of Little Grebes diving and 'trilling' to each other....



From the even warmer Clubhouse Hide I watched a constant stream of Blue and Great Tits going to the feeders, along with a large gathering of Chaffinch on the floor, the occasional Robin, Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tit, plus the usual Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a solo Woodpigeon.....





In the very wet Everglades some of the nesting boxes were being checked out, including number 13 by a Great Tit....


One of the main reasons for going to Maple Lodge today was to see the tiny delicate Elf Cap fungi. I normally find them along the Woodland Path but that area was taped off today due it being too flooded to walk through. However, after a tip off, I found three by the Rotunda Hide and the rest by the barges....






I noticed when I was at the Shell Hide that Reggie the Robin wasn't there. But when I was near the barges I noticed three Robins in the undergrowth. One of them flew straight at me, literally brushing past my head. When I put my rucksack down to get out some birdseed, the Robin jumped on my bag. And when I held my hand with seed in it, the Robin came within a few centimetres but wouldn't actually take the seed. And he happily hopped around collecting seed from around my feet and rucksack. It's got to be Reggie hasn't it ? Maybe he's now starting to expand his territory a bit more. Some Robins are already singing in preparation of attracting a mate...


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