Walk report: 06 September 2018 Rans Wood

© Richard Coomber

20 members on a lovely sunny morning set off with Pam in a northerly direction to Wort’s Gutter. Following the left hand track, which is a damp grassy area many species of wild flower were seen: Marsh Ragwort, Water Mint, Devil's-bit Scabious, Sneezewort, Common Fleabane, Common Centaury, Tormentil, Knapweed, Lesser Spearwort, Marsh Thistle, Creeping Cinquefoil, Cat’s- ear and Ling. Hard and Male Fern were seen along the banks of the gutter, while small shoals of Minnows darted around in the water. A very obliging juvenile male Stonechat posed for the photographers in the group, while the occasional Swallow and a few House Martins passed overhead and, there were plenty of Field Mushrooms along the way.

© Richard Coomber
Moving away from the gutter and turning onto the uphill track leading to Moon Hill a mixed flock of small birds kept us busy as they flitted in and out of the trees, these were Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit and Chiffchaff. This area is more open and dry and with stands of conifers. Turning onto the cycle track where the ground had been disturbed by the Forestry Commission, we came across a very unusual plant which Richard immediately identified as a Thorn Apple. This plant originates from South America and is thought to have come over as a contaminate of birdseed. The whole plant is poisonous and, in this country is occasionally found in gardens, along roadsides and on wasteland. Its appearance is weather dependant as it prefers a warmer climate than ours.
Grey Spotted Amanita
© Chris Robinson

 Common Frog
© Mary Mawdsley
The final part of the walk took us through a beautiful Beech and Oak woodland. Here we found False Chanterelle, Sulphur Tuft and excellent specimens of Grey Spotted Amanita. Then following the track down to the ford we came across areas of Marsh Pennywort, some Coral- necklace and a solitary Common Frog. When crossing the bridge a Grey Wagtail was seen as we finally walked back to the carpark.
Common Darter
© Chris Robinson

Other birds seen or heard were Robin, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Wood Pigeon. Butterflies were Speckled Woods with just one Small Heath. Flowers were Fairy Flax, Eyebright, and Bell Heather. There was also Common Polypody Fern, Pond Skaters and   several sightings of Common Darter. PP