Today I met up with Mark P (http://doorstepbirding.blogspot.co.uk/) for a trip across the county boundary to the nearby Shropshire highpoint of Titterstone Clee Hill. We had hoped that at that elevation on such a clear day that we may pick up an interesting passage raptor. As it was we didn't but a good few hours was had all the same.
On arriving at the summit carpark we walked around to the radar station. Very little was of note birdwise except the large numbers of Meadow Pipits and to a lesser extent Linnets that were seemingly every where around the summit. Also of note was a single Pied Wagtail. The fungi was starting to become apparent on the areas of short acid grassland with Meadow Waxcap particularly numerous. A single rather mature Common Puffball was also noted.
We then decided to walk around the disused quarry area. This was a good call as it not only produced a rather stunning looking Fox Moth caterpillar but also an area with a few fruiting bodies of Blackening Waxcap, both of which were new species for me. Blackening Waxcap starts of as a yellow/orange colour when it is young turning brown/black as it matures.
By the time we were focusing on the area of the hill to the North West of the summit the thermals were picking up as were the birds. At one point we had an incredible 31 Ravens all in the sky at once tumbling, kronging and generally performing as Ravens do. They never fail to put a smile on my face...great birds!
On this side of the hill we picked up a single Northern Wheatear that was hopping about on the path nearby. This may well be the last one I see locally this year as autumn migration rolls on. I also found a rather nice Yellow Stagshorn fungi there.
After quite a while scanning the skies, 6 Common Buzzards and 3 Kestrels later, we decided to head back to the car for a nibble on Mrs P's most delightful baps (no not those baps you filthy minded so & so's... I mean her freshly prepared ham and cheese ones!)
We then headed to another part of the hill to check out the area near the working quarry. Again there wasn't much of any exception birdwise here although we did see our only Stonechat of the day perched briefly on a gorse bush before flitting of down the slope out of sight.
The small pool to the left of the track held a single Common Hawker but that was about it for dragonflies today. We had fared better with butterflies with 8 Small Tortoiseshells and 3 Peacocks noted during our travels.
All in all it was a very pleasing visit with a variety of wildlife on offer. I can see myself returning there again in the very near future!
Fox Moth Larva (Macrothylacia rubi)
Click on images to enlarge
Meadow Waxcap (Hygrocybe pratensis)
Yellow Stagshorn (Calocera viscosa)
Common Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)
Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica)