A dozen MNA members turned out for our visit to Neumanns and Ashtons Flash near Northwich. We took one of the well marked trails on a circular path around Neumanns stopping off at the hides en route. Great numbers of Lapwing at around 400 birds and a lone European Golden Plover joined them. On one of the Flash spits a couple of Dunlin were busy feeding and a Snipe was unusually out in the open on with a couple of others adopting their more usual habit of skulking in the reeds. The motley crew of Gulls was joined by a snoozing Yellow-legged Gull. Waterbirds included Cormorants, Grey Herons, Mallards, Teal including one displaying male, Shoveler, Moorhen and a lone Wigeon. A Sparrowhawk flew over and later we had a Buzzard. A couple of feeding Tit flocks flew over the path in front of us containing Long-tailed and Great Tits. Lingering Summer migrants included a couple of Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a few Swallows zooming past. A group of four Jay provided entertainment around the completely dry Hadyns Pool in the Anderton Nature Park and later we had good views of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker on the top of a tree.Usually seen in the Spring, there were large numbers of Alder Leaf Beetles Agelastica alni on one tree and a few others seen during the walk.
Alder Leaf Beetles
A few interesting finds along the wooden fencing with two Harlequin Ladybirds Harmonia axyridis and four larvae, two Orange Ladybirds Halyzia 16-guttata and one larvae, a Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina and nymph and a few Blue Bottles Calliphora vomitoria.
Harlequin Ladybird larvae
Hoverflies included a few Eristalis species, Syrphus ribesii and Sphaerophoria scripta.
Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii
Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta
Flowering plants included Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris, Hedge Woundwort Stachys sylvatica, Himalayan Balsalm Impatiens glandulifera, Hemp Agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum, Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea, Bush Vetch Vicia sepium, Tansy Tanacetum vulgare, Wild Parsnip Pastinaca sativa, Great Bindweed Calystegia silvatica and Perforate St Johns Wort Hypericum perforatum.
With the Fungi season underway we were pleased to find Many-zoned Polypore Trametes versicolor, numerous layers of Lumpy Bracket Trametes gibbosa on a few dead trees, Hairy Stereum Stereum hirsutum, Beech Woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme and alone Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria. Rumaging around in a young Birch wood provided some more interesting finds with large numbers of Birch Webcap Cortinarius triumphans and four mouse-eaten specimens of Orange Birch Bolete Leccinum versipelle.
More evidence of Autumn with fruiting Black Bryony Tamus communis, Guelder Rose Viburnum opulus, Elderberry Sambucus nigra, Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Spindle Tree Euonymus europaeus.
A number of the Penduculate Oaks Quercus robur had galls: Marble Gall caused by the Gall Wasp Andricus kollari, a few Silk Button Galls caused by the Gall Wasp Neuroterus numismalis and numerous Common Spangle Galls caused by the Gall Wasp Neuroterus quercusbaccarum. Also found a couple of Turkey Oaks Quercus cerris with pointy ended short-stalked acorns in bristly cups.
Common Spangle Galls
All too soon we had to head home