Walk report: 15 March 2018 Setthorns

On a pleasant morning after heavy overnight rain, 13 members led by Pam started a walk through Setthorns Inclosure. The name Setthorns is derived from  the practice of sowing acorns with thorn seed, to help prevent young plants being grazed. There was plenty of bird song, and  Angela pointed out the call of a Bullfinch, which we then saw perched above us.

After leaving the main track we picked our way down a very wet and muddy path, and took the opportunity to refresh our identification of lichens, one short branch had Parmelia caperata, Usnea, and Evernia prunastri (Oak Moss) growing on it. At the bottom of the path we had a good view of two Siskins and a Dunnock, which were on the ground around the puddles. Here the shoots of Bluebells were also showing.

We then turned onto one of the main tracks  leading up to the turning for Hill Tops and Pine Top caravan site. Along the way we saw 2 Buzzards soaring overhead, then a Jay, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Song Thrush and more Siskin, hearing the cooing of a Stock Dove in the background. As we walked through the extensive caravan park we came across a small herd of Shetland ponies resting between the vans, along with several fat Grey Squirrels scurrying around. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming and was also seen.

Yellow Brain
Two Victorian bridges
On reaching the disused railway track known as Castleman’s Corkscrew, which originally ran from Southampton to Dorchester via the New Forest, we turned right to follow the track. Several Hart’s-tongue Ferns were growing at the base of the steep tree lined embankments, also Hard Ferns were present. We then passed under 2 fine Victorian brick built bridges before coming into the open to look at a bright yellow orange fungus, Yellow Brain Tremella mesenterica, growing on gorse. Interestingly further on Wall-rue, a small lime loving fern was growing on the lime mortar between the old brick work.
Bracken Map

Finally we turned back into the inclosure taking a close look at wood stacks to find the lichen Cladonia and noting the many variations in the bracket fungus Turkeytail Trametes virsicolor growing beside Bitter Oysterling Panellus stipticus.

Bitter Oysterling
Other Birds:- Magpie, Jackdaw, Robin, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch and Carrion Crow.
Butterflies:- Brimstone.
Other fungi:- Bracken Map Rhopographus filicinus and Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum (PP)

Photos © Richard Coomber