Observations around the drains and rivers of Hatfield Chase

After yesterday’s somewhat grim weather, we were treated to another Indian summer day, so what was about and taking advantage of the warm weather?  A Red Admiral raced past me as I pushed the bike from the garage.

It has to be said, and it is unusual if I don’t manage to see at least one buzzard if not more within easy ride around the Isle or Hatfield Chase area and today a couple were spotted, but only a single Kestrel.  Recently I seem to have been fortunate and had quite good numbers, short journeys to work or shopping have yielded two or three along drain and river banks.  Marsh Harriers too are often observed and as summer becomes autumn then we

The fields are now well worked as the next crop is sown, hardly any these days lie fallow and the familiar finch flocks foraging are no longer a common sight.  The drains too have been scalped and some scoured whilst others still retain some wildlife interest.

Arable land worked right up to the drain sides, a feature of the Humberhead Levels agricultural regime.

Arable land worked right up to the drain sides, a feature of the Humberhead Levels agricultural regime.

Yet, this other example below shows margins left and if you look closely there are two deer in the background. 

Margins left alongside drains prevents bank slumping which can be caused by heavy machinery.

Margins left alongside drains prevents bank slumping which can be caused by heavy machinery.

 

An example of drain side slumping.  Heavy machinery compacted soil and inundation all illustrated here can cause such slumping.

An example of drain side slumping. Heavy machinery compacted soil and inundation all illustrated here can cause such slumping.

There were ocassions when my eyes were not skyward but watching where my feet trod and I noticed a couple of clumps of rather sickly looking daisy plants.  Their basal leaves were clearly suffering from some kind of rust ‘infection’.  Close inspection of the leaves revealed an orange coloured fungal growth on quite a number of the leaves. I don’t recall having noticed this occurence before, either along the Torne or elsewhere.  According to various websites Puccinia distincta is considered to be an introduced species from Australia and New Zealand which is now regarded as widespread.  It infects wild and cultivated daisy plants.  Interestingly though, there does not appear to be this inferred universal coverage on the NBN website or other natural history portals but the British Mycological Society website provides a source of species data and of the 439 records detailed, I located only a handful from SE grid squares!  Have any readers noticed it elsewhere on the Levels or around Hatfield Chase?

Puccinia distincta fungal gall on daisy.

Puccinia distincta fungal gall on daisy.

To look at the image detail, click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,


%d bloggers like this: