23rd November - Another cold night with a hard frost, but a later than usual walk in some winter sunshine was pleasant change. As I walked up the path from the car park, several Chaffinches were feeding on the path together with a Nuthatch. A Stock Dove flew from one of the mature Sweet Chestnut Trees as I walked towards the Two pond area, which revealed nothing of interest today apart from a single Jackdaw in the old nesting tree.
The walk up through the glades revealed a couple of Common Gulls flying over the country park, a pair of Dunnocks looking for a meal on the footpath seemed undisturbed by my presence, A Wood Pigeon was enjoying the warmth from the morning sun in a Holly tree, two Carrion crows flying high calling loudly,
|Wood Pigeon enjoying the morning Sun.|
|Goldfinch feeding on Knapweed heads|
Back in the woodland several more Robins watched me pass, a Wren flew low across the woodland floor, a pair of Great Tits moving through a Silver Birch tree, and finally a male Kestrel seen in the dead tree behind the old RAF air raid shelters, and a single Jay calling from high up in a Chestnut tree. 17species today.
|Robin watching me, watching him|
Leaves and undergrowth where touched by the frost were looking very wintery.
The Wayfarer berries were giving a splash of colour to the cold bleak winter woodland, although they always look plump and appetizing I believe they are quite bitter to the taste and can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea It's said that the birds will eat the berries, although the trees always look untouched.
As I walked up the track through the glades I noticed up to eight bird nests in the hedgerow, the same hedgerow that was so attractive to the 'Gatekeeper Butterflies during the summer, I didn't notice any of the nests then. This is probably a Blackbird or Song Thrush nest, although I believe the Song Thrush lines its nest cup with mud,saliva to shape the nest cup, I might have a closer look at the old nests later when more time is available to see if I can identify the previous owners.
Sixteen species of bird seen today, Woodcock, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker heard, Long Tailed Tits 5+, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Robin, Chaffinch, three Common Gulls flying high over the wood, and unusually a Pied Wagtail as I returned to the car park.
Bird sightings today included at least 10 Jackdaws and one Carrion Crow in the dead tree near the car park, about 6 Wood pigeons were seen at various points along the trails, a flock of Long Tailed Tits up to 15 plus were moving fast through the treetops, singles of Blackbird, Robin, and Wren were also seen, not much else today.
20th November - The winds have abated now, thankfully only a few tree's suffered any storm damage from the so-called storm named 'Barney', although the remaining leaves on the tree's have been stripped away.
Bird sightings today included 2 Carrion Crows, singles of Magpie & Jay, small flocks of WoodPigeons around the glades and a single Dunnock in the hedgerow. A Green Woodpecker was flushed from the grasses. Back in the woodland, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Robin, Blackbirds seem to be more prominent at the moment and a few Song Thrushes were seen, a Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard calling but not seen. 13 species seen today. The only mammals seen were a few Grey Squirrels
16th November - After a wet start the rain moved off, as I walked down to the Two pond area two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in a tall Sweet Chestnut tree.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker|
a quick scan and there it was a lovely Grey Wagtail, blending in very well with the fallen leaves.
Other birds noted here were the usual Carrion Crows and Jackdaws, a lone Ring Necked Parakeet flew overhead calling noisily. a Nuthatch flew towards a large Sweet Chestnut tree where it was lost to sight, a final look at the Ponds before moving off revealed some nice reflections, its usually a brown muddy colour.
As I walked up towards the old 'air raid shelters' I could hear a Tit flock in the trees, a large number of Great Tits, at least 10, a couple of Blue Tits and two Long Tailed Tits.
|Great Tit investigating food source|
|Long Tailed Tit.|
|Wren on an old disused nest.|
15th November - Bright start to the morning's walk, amazingly still with some very mild temperatures. As I walked into the wood I was surrounded by a flock of Long Tailed Tits at least fifteen birds moving through the trees. a bit further on I could just about hear the high pitched calls of a Goldcrest, again I could see it high up in the branches of a tree. A good start I thought, Great Tit, Blue Tit were quickly added to my daily list, as I moved into the Glades Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and a Green Woodpecker were disturbed from the trails.
Back in the woods a Robin was seen singing from low branch, two more Goldcrests were found near the old air raid shelters, just about managed a photograph of one.
Two pond area was looking very autumnal
As I mentioned before the Shorthorn cattle herd is slowly increasing , as is the number of 'cow pats' along the trails, being careful not to step in these, I noticed a very late Noon Fly on one of the 'cow pats', these flies are often seen where cattle are grazing, the females lay their eggs in these, only one egg in each 'pat' and no more than five eggs in total.
|Noon Fly Mesembrina meridiana|
Other birds noted were a single Carrion Crow, Several Wood Pigeons, Green Woodpecker flyover and a small Starling flock, Magpie.
Back in the woodland a few Blackbirds ,Wren , Great Tit, Chaffinch and a Robin. A Pheasant was heard calling from somewhere in the rough grassland next to the wood. that's sixteen species today the best total for a long time.
|British Beef Shorthorn Cattle|
It's quite interesting to see how this unexpected species is managing to find suitable food in the woodland, in this case the seeds of the Ash tree to sustain themselves.
|Ring necked Parakeets feeding on Ash keys|
9th November - Another encounter with the Tit flock this morning, once again only noted Blue, Great and Long tailed Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard calling from the woodland but unseen. A very nice Shaggy Ink cap Coprinus comatus seen this morning, sometimes known as the Lawyer's Wig, suppose to be edible when young and fresh, you would have to be quick, when picked they turn black and begin to dissolve, oozing a black ink like liquid.
8th November - Damp and muddy walk around the trails today, lots of Fungi on show, these Yellow Fieldcaps appear to be very common at the moment, coming through the grasses in small clumps now, sometimes referred to as the 'Egg yolk fungi ' this is inedible and the yellow colour fades with age.
|Jelly Ear Fungi|
The Hazel trees have Catkins appearing on them already, it seems a little early , usually these appear mid February.
|Long Tailed Tit|
1st November - Well it's the first day of November, I have nearly come full circle in my local patch blog, it's been interesting seeing how the woodland, fauna and wildlife change through the seasons.
Autumn is well under way now, the woodland trails are carpeted with golden fallen leaves, the first early morning mist has shrouded the woodland giving it an eerie feel, the woodland birds are very quite, and I'm waiting for the first winter thrushes to show themselves.
This lovely old Hornbeam in the photograph sums up the woodland look at the moment.
The Shorthorn cattle herd has increased to six, one of the reasons they were introduced to the woodland was the hope that the wood eat there way through the undergrowth and braken, they certainly have made inroads into the understorey but it's still the mechanical land management that's changing the whole look and feel of the woodland, opening it up, and making room for trees to develop and mature!
The bracken is dying back and adding its own golden look to the autumn woodland scene
There's a definite 'colour yellow ' theme going on here, the leaves of the Field maple have completely changed to a brilliant yellow.
The glades have lots of these Yellow Fieldcaps appearing in the grass, they do not last long, these have just pushed through the grass, they open up into small umbrella type shapes and the colour gradually fades away.
|Yellow Field cap|
Still lots of fungi appearing, this one caught my eye growing under a hedge, not sure what it is at the moment, the need for a fungi identification book has been strongly hinted for on my christmas wish list, as well as the new Field guide to Bee identification in Great Britain and Ireland due out in November. I live in hope.