Wren, Christophstal October 2014
I saw a magpie on the bird table for the first time today. The table somehow managed to stay on the wall, but the jays and magpies are both now coming for the seed, so I hope the table can take the weight. There was also a very vocal wren on the patio warning that our cat was out and about. The weather has been wonderful for the last few days, but we had a frost last night.
Redwing, Christophstal October 2014
Autumn Green Carpet, Christophstal October 2014
There was lots of bird activity this morning, with visits from a hawfinch, robin, crested tit and the usual suspects. There was a new species for the garden too - a Redwing, feeding on the hawthorn berries.
If we needed confirmation that Autumn has arrived, there was an Autumn Green Carpet moth on the house wall. I saw several more up in town on shop windows.
We had the first 'snow' showers today - more sleet - but the temperatures have suddenly fallen overnight and it is noticeably colder. There was a heavy storm with hail last night. We have had a visit from the bullfinch and jays today, though. They are coming to the fat balls we have put out.
Apricot Jelly Mushroom, Guepinia helvelloides, Finkenberg October 2014
White Saddle Fungus, Finkenberg October 2014
We found these two interesting fungi on the way to Friedrichstal today.
Unknown Fungus, Christophstal October 2014
We are still finding a lot of new fungi in the garden and took this photo today. We still have to get them identified.
Yesterday, I found a slow worm in the cellar. It was still quite a small one. We quite often find them in there and have to be careful when we walk around.
Today there was a Cuckooflower in flower on the Finkenberg. Quite unexpected at this time of year.
Christophstal, October 2014
I thought we might struggle with something for the diary today, but then I found this Convolvulus Hawk Moth on the driveway. This species is a migrant, so it has probably come a long way. I've seen them feeding at Nicotiana plants in the UK - they're one of the only insects with a probosis long enough to feed from these plants. There are a lot of Nicotiana plants in the beds in the market square up in Freudenstadt, so this may have been drawn here by those. It's a big moth with a wingspan of up to 12cm.
Hare's-foot Inkcap, Christophstal October 2014
Hare's-foot Inkcap, next day
Panaeolus family, Christophstal October 2014
Unknown fungus #3, Christophstal October 2014
We suddenly have a large number of mushrooms growing on the drive. I will try and get these identified this week.
Wild boar tracks on the meadow, Finkenberg October 2014
Wild boar tracks, Finkenberg October 2014
Yesterday, we found what we think are traces of wild boar foraging on the Finkenberg. Today we drove to the Naturpark Market at the Ruhestein Nature Centre. On the way we noticed that the poles used to mark the edge of the road in deep snow had been put in - another sign of the season changing.
Bullfinch, Christophstal October 2014
Leopard Slug, Christophstal October 2014
Cutleaf Evergreen Bramble, Christophstal September 2013
First thing this morning, there were three bullfinches in the maple taking the winged seeds. Later, while taking photos of the fungus in the garden we found a leopard slug. It was a dull and rainy day but quite mild and we managed a walk up the Finkenberg. We saw the Cutleaf Evergreen Bramble (Rubus laciniatus) which we also have in the garden.
Blackcap?, Christophstal October 2014
We were looking through our photos from the weekend and found one bird which we think may be a Blackcap. It's a poor photo, but they have been seen in Horb this week.
Porcini mushroom, Kienberg October 2014
I went on a guided fungus walk today on the Kienberg. There was more growing than expected after the recent dry weather but the rain of the last two days had perhaps helped a bit. The Funnel Chanterelle, which is mainly found in spruce and fir forests on wet, acid soils, was present in quite large numbers. The porcini mushroom was a nice find.
Cave spider, Christophstal October 2014
It has been a very wet day today, but this doesn't bother the cave spiders in our shed. Here is a photo. The rain has also meant that the leaves have really started falling in the garden.
Our cat, Bipples, had quite a shock when a squirrel ran across the patio. She came indoors with a very bushy tail.
Little grebe, Christophstal October 2014
The bird table was very busy. We had a quick visit from a long-tailed tit and the nuthatch but the two crested tits stayed for a long time - even feeding on the ground. There was also a little grebe diving on the pond. The kingfisher flew by as we were photographing the grebe.
A common frog made his way across the patio, waiting long enough for us to get a photo.
November Moth, Christophstal October 2014
Ran the moth trap again. This time we only had a single moth! It was a member of the difficult Epirrita family. The actual species of even well-marked individuals cannot be definitively identified except under the microscope. Luckily, with this family it is not necessary to kill the individual, so I sedated this one with Ethyl Acetate and spent some time with it in the lab. Microscopic identification confirmed it as a November Moth (E. dilutata). It was released, unharmed, after dark (we never kill the moths we trap).
Southern Hawker, Christophstal October 2014
A beautiful sunny day. We've had a large dragonfly buzzing around the garden for a few weeks now. I'd been unable to identify the species or take a good photograph as it didn't settle. Today it landed on the house wall beside where I was photographing a bush cricket. So, here it is, a Southern Hawker.
And here's a video of the Upland Green Bush Cricket calling.
Song Thrush, Christophstal October 2014
Crested tit, Christophstal October 2014
We have recently seen a crested tit coming to the bird table regularly. Today there were also a lot of blackbirds and a song thrush in the hawthorn and a robin on the ground. Lots happening.
Perennial Cornflower, Finkenberg October 2014
Stiff Clubmoss, Christophstal October 2014
Autumn morning, Christophstal October 2014
We have finally found Stiff Clubmoss in the valley. Here's a photo taken this morning.
We also found a Perennial Cornflower still flowering on the Finkenberg.
Pale Tussock caterpillar, Christophstal Autumn 2013
There is an article in the Schwarzwälder Bote newspaper today about Peter's work on recording moths in the valley - with a huge photo of the Pale Tussock caterpillar.