Category Archives: fungi

January Foxes

I’ve been very neglectful of the blog in recent months and while I can’t promise to post as regularly as in the past, I will try to keep things ticking over. So in that context, here’s a short update of January. And that means foxes.

The winter months can sometimes be quiet, but this year three of the regular foxes have continued to stay around through the winter months. This is unusual as in most years the younger foxes have been driven off in autumn. At the moment though there are two younger foxes still around, plus Wolfy the adult vixen. There’s also a large dog fox who shows up occasionally, but I’ve only sighted him on the trail cam. He’s big, but he’s shy.

two young foxes

The two young foxes. The one on the right has last part of his brush.

These two are last season’s youngsters. The one with the short brush is the bolder of the pair and therefore gets photographed more frequently. The other fox tends to sit at the back of the garden when I’m out there, minding his own business until I retreat to the house. Neither are nearly as confident as Wolfy, their mother, who ventures all over the garden and will quite happily tolerate me.

fox

A typical shot of Wolfy near the front of the garden

And an ultra close-up shot of her.

But it’s not just been foxes. The mild winter has produced some earthstar fungi in a secluded corner of the garden. These are lovely little sproutings that open out into a puffball with fleshy wings forming a star around the centre. We have a little clump of them that appeared seemingly from nowhere!

earthstar fungi

Earthstar newly opened

The sky also offers great photo opportunities. This is the moon taken on a cloudy night. I shot it as a thin layer of cloud was passing in front of it, which allowed me to boost the shadows without burning out the moon itself. The colours embedded in the night sky are surprisingly varied. I’ve slightly boosted them in processing to create this image.

moon among clouds at night

This was a near full moon (99% illuminated), surrounded by clouds and giving a colourful halo effect.

I’ve also spent a little bit of time photographing local birds but I’ll save those shots for another post. Meanwhile here’s a couple more photos of the foxes.

young fox lying down

This is the fox with the shortened brush in a very relaxed mood.

fox at night

Wolfy at night

That’s all for the moment, but I’ll try not to leave it as long until the next post.

Also posted in Foxes, Moon, Wildlife Tagged , , , |

Cormorants and other things

Although it’s only about a week since I last posted, it feels a long time. The weather has conspired against all but the most feeble attempts to photograph anything, though things looked up slightly today (and even more slightly yesterday). In between the good stuff (sunshine) we’ve had rain, hail and gales.

This shot of a buzzard was taken on Monday. Within literally 5 minutes of taking it, the skies had turned black and a torrent of hail swept down.

Buzzard

Today was more stable (in terms of the weather). Dark early on (not unexpected), but sunny through most of the day. (Right now the rain and near gale force winds are back). I’d seen a couple of cormorants turn up at Falmer Pond during my early visit, and headed back at lunchtime to see if they were still around. One was.

Cormorant

That was taken more of less into the sun. I waited for it to swim towards some shade which made for a much easier shot.

Cormorant

I also popped into Westlain Plantation, the local (muddy) wood adjacent to the car park at work. I had vague hopes of a buzzard or a woodpecker, but instead stumbled on some mushrooms. I have no idea what they are.

Mushrooms

The final shot is something of an experiment. The light was odd (as it can be at this time of year) and I zoomed in to the woodland fringe of Stanmer Park, across the valley. I have played around with this a little, mainly to warm the colours and accentuate the contrasts. A bit arty, but I like it.

stanmer park

The weather is going to be variable (and generally variable on the bad side of good) over the next few days, so I’ll have to see if I get anything worth posting.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Also posted in Bird of Prey, Landscape, water birds Tagged , , , |

Fog, Tree Slime and some other photos

The clear skies were well and truly absent when I set off to work this morning. It was a slow and careful drive through thick fog. Consequently there was little to see at the pond… or to be precise there was little that I could see at the pond.

Falmer Pond in thick fog

There was a temporary respite in the middle of the day (my drive home in the evening was once again through fog), and some cool sunshine. So for some welcome variety here’s a greylag goose with a nice reflection in the calm of the water.

Greylag goose and reflection

There were plenty of gulls (herring and black-headed varieties). This black-headed was one of the few already displaying its breeding plumage from which their name derives.

Black-headed gull

As for the ‘tree slime’ in the title, it was bright orange and oozing from a recently cut tree stump.

tree slime

From what I’ve found about this, it’s a yeast that feeds on the rising sap of untreated stumps, and is more prevalent after extended periods of wet weather. Well the trees around the pond have been cut back in the past few weeks, and we’ve certainly had an extended wet period. The slime is harmless. There’s some straightforward information about this stuff on the Cornell Mushroom Blog.

And yes, in case you are wondering I did spy the occasional small furry rodent. To be fair they were mainly keeping out of sight (the lunchtime sun brought quite a number of people out, and the rats prefer to keep out of view when it’s busy). This is a silhouette of a rat running down a tree.

Silhouette of rat running down a tree

It then made a dash across the water to the security of a bankside rat run.

Rat swimming

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens.

Also posted in rats, water birds, Weather Tagged , , , , , |