19 October 2017 Bolderwood

On a misty damp and overcast morning 11 members crossed the lawn in front of the Bolderwood car park to reach the cycle track that leads behind the deer sanctuary. Two Pied Wagtails were feeding on the lawn along with two Carrion Crows. Several colourful fungi were present in the pasture, Yellow Club Clavulinopsis helvola was identified and there were many small red coloured waxcaps.

Clouded Agaric
Along the track heavy browsing by deer and ponies was evident. Most of the trunks of the Holly had been gnawed and further on an area had been deer fenced. The Holly having been cut back to allow it to regenerate. Fortunately there was still plenty of Holly and Yew heavily laden with  berries and, although visibility was not good we saw Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Blackbird all feeding. In the distance we heard the bellowing calls of Fallow Deer bucks at their stands, and later on had a glimpse of just the head and antlers of one with two females as he circled around them. As we continued down the main track we found several fungi which were Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum, Clouded Agaric Clitocybe nebularis and Bracken Map Rhopographus filicinus along with various Russulas and also an interesting Great Grey Slug. Then crossing Bratley Water we turned right to take a very wet track through mixed woodland leading to Sandy Ridge.

False Deathcap
Leaving the wood we walked across open heathland. Here there were views across the forest with its autumn colours, Cross-leaved Heath was still flowering and Meadow Pipits were flitting around along with Goldfinches and a single Red Admiral was seen. We entered  Bratley Wood with its many fine old Beech and Oak trees and  decided to take a  break under an old Beech where a cluster of Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare was growing. Later we realised  that this tree contained a Hornet’s nest, but it allowed us good opportunities for photographs. Great Tit and Nuthatch could be heard calling.

Oak Bolete
From the wood we went down to Bratley Water again where Duncan identified an Oak Bolete Boletus appendiculatus. Finally we reached the main track leading up to the car park. Angela pointed out the small white male flowers of the Holly,  and Richard with a couple of others at the back of our group managed to see 5 Hawfinches, which was a highlight for those lucky enough to see them.

Other birds seen were Chaffinch, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Woodpigeon, and fungi were Yellow Stagshorn Calocera viscosa, False Deathcap Amanita citrina, Meadow Puffball  Lycoperdon pratense and Honey Fungus Armillaria mellea

Pam Poole 
Photos © Richard Coomber