Today was volunteer day at Farlington Marshes and it started rather promisingly with heavy rain and strong winds, to be honest it would not have surprised me if nobody had turned up, but the conditions eased and Farlington’s volunteers are made of sterner stuff. Once again we were coppicing sallows in the area north of the A27, we are quite well into the older ones that were in greatest need of recutting now and the end is in sight.
I have to confess I was not working at the coppicing in the morning, I headed off down to Eastney with David Rumble to look at a potential future project, the wind was strong and the rain, when it came, horizontal. I headed back to Farlington half expecting to find everybody planning to leave, but the weather abated again and we got another couple of hours in and I managed to do some myself. I was coppicing in fairly deep water and managed to splash water down my boots more than once and got mud generally all over the place, I am not sure I have ever seen the reserve so comprehensively waterlogged. Near one of the coppice stools I was cutting I came across a mass of bracket fungi on an old willow log.
I could not resist taking a few pictures, unfortunately the very low light has made the depth of field not quite what I had hoped for. Although fungi are certainly not a group I am very confident about identifying I am pretty sure these are Trametes versicolor, also known as turkeytail and each one does look like a fanned tail of that bird.
Despite the poor conditions I heard several bearded tit calling near the Building when I arrived there in the wind and rain, not their favourite conditions. The 16 or so avocet hunched beside Broom Channel, that I saw from the car park at the height barrier on the way in, did not look too happy either. Waiting for the volunteers to arrive I saw something like 570 lapwing rise up off the fields, I looked around to see what had flushed them and found a female marsh harrier struggling into the wind over the eastern seawall. There now seem to be many fewer fieldfare on the fields, but I did see three flocks flying west over the Marsh, totalling about 90 birds in all. The arrival of these birds with the snow had been as a result of a movement from the west, so perhaps they are heading back now the weather has turned mild again. The only other notable wildlife record was of a Cetti’s warbler calling as we were working north of the spring, possibly irate at our intrusion.