10 November Appleslade

The sunny morning was perfect for an autumn walk. Sixteen took the wide track southwards into Appleslade Inclosure, rising gently through bright yellow and bronze mixed woodland with leaves falling, A twitchy Grey Squirrel, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Jay were spotted and a few fungi: Amethyst Deceiver, puff balls and Boletus sp. At the edge we turned SW alongside Red Shoot Wood and were soon out in the breezy, open gorse and scrub shared by Rockford Common (National Trust) and Red Shoot Plain (National Park).

Meadow Pipit
As we headed westward to Little Whitemoor there were fleeting glimpses of Dartford Warbler, Raven, Redwing, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a solitary, pristine Red Admiral resting on gorse in the sunshine. Our path continued NW to a currently-dry stream bed beyond which we turned NE along the ridge looking westwards across bracken- brown and golden moorland above the Avon Valley to Somerley House. Turning N to a gravel pit we headed downhill through small trees to the Linwood road with a flurry of birds amongst abundant Holly berries and Crab Apples: Fieldfare, Redwing, Long-tailed Tits, Woodpigeon, Goldcrest. Apart from pesky midges the only insects seen were a large brown dragonfly, almost invisible against tree bark, a wasp and a hornet. 

6 November Maiden Lane

Adrian was unable to lead this walk so Duncan was asked to deputise!

We were a group of seven setting off from Maiden Lane at 10.00 on a lovely autumn morning approximately two hours after low tide (neaps).

Our first bird was a Little Egret standing quite happily within three feet of us on the edge of the dock adjacent to the path towards the sea wall.

Little Egret with catch (c) Louis Rumis
We walked on the sea wall past Normandy Lagoon to the Yacht Haven before taking the footpath through the reeds to Normandy Lane and then back to our start point.

Our additional species list was Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Turnstone, Curlew, Little Grebe, Buzzard, Meadow Pipit, Redshank, Shelduck, Greenshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Tufted Duck, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon, Kingfisher (on a post), Moorhen, Gadwall, Brent Goose, Grey Heron, Kestrel (perched and hovering), Linnet, Blackbird, Starling, Robin, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Wren.

As we walked along Normandy Lane we had an excellent view of a Roe Buck grazing in the field on the right hand side.

As Brian said at the end, 'It was not about the quality of the species but rather about the quantity'! We certainly had very good numbers of Teal, Dunlin, Wigeon and, relatively speaking, Linnet.

Overall, a very pleasant walk in good company!

27 October 2016 Acres Down

Porcelain Fungus
A couple of days of rain after a long dry spell had brought out the autumn colours and the fungi.  We walked from Acres Down car park through Wick Wood which is a lovely deciduous wood with plenty of leaf litter for the fungi.  Notable were the Fly Agaric under their associated Birch trees, the Porcelain Fungus gleaming on beech branches and the purple Amythest Deceiver buried in the fallen beech leaves.  

What was remarkable was how few edible fungi we found.   Sadly, in spite of all the publicity surrounding the Forestry Commission's warnings on fungi picking, the pickers had been busy and had left very little behind, just one small cluster of Hedgehog Fungi which we tried to hide as best we could.  A stiff climb up Acres Down and we enjoyed the views from the top, Sway Tower, the Isle of Wight and Southampton Docks were all visible.  This is a wonderful year for berries and grey rumped Fieldfares were enjoying the fine crop of Holly berries.