Walk report: 16 August 2018 Ridgeway Lane

The first wet summer field meeting of 2018 enabled Brian plus seven indefatigable LymNats to give their weather/waterproof equipment a two hour field trial. The results can be found at the end of this report. The route took in two particular sites of ‘local’ interest.

We took the footpath that follows the boundary between the National Park (to the S) and "outside the National Park" (to the N), passing Northfield Nursery and Oakhaven Hospice. The land to the N is the subject of controversial plans for 100 homes which has received much recent coverage in the local press.

© Richard Coomber
The second area was on our return along Iley Lane, for we passed the West Solent Solar Farm which was connected to the grid in June 2014. Its 9372 solar panels give it a total capacity of 2.4 MWp and produces power to supply about 650 local homes.

Nature's "autumn" bounty was much in evidence on this walk: sloe, blackberry, elderberry, haws, hips and acorns.

Selected sightings:
Trees: Common Elm; Hazel; Hornbeam (with fruit clusters); Pendunculate (English) Oak (Quercus robur) - an acorn had an example of a Knopper Gall caused by larvae of tiny Gall Wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis).
PLANTS: Enchanter's Nightshade, Common Fleabane, Common Knapweed, Perforate St John's-wort, Common Sowthistle, Common Ragwort, Herb Robert, Hedge Bindweed, Yarrow, Great Willowherb, Creeping Thistle, Bittersweet (Woody Nightshade) – berried, Common Horsetail, Hartstongue Fern and Stinging Nettle.
NON-NATIVE PLANTS: American Skunk Cabbage: Liquidambar (Sweet Gum) – both native to North America.
Jersey Tiger
© Duncan Wright
MOTHS: Jersey Tiger – a recent colonist to our area and identified by Duncan.  
MAMMALS: 2 female Roe Deer; Brown Rat (deceased).
BIRDS: A charm of Goldfinches feeding on Teasel; Blackcap (), Green Woodpecker, Canada Goose, Black-headed Gull, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon and four rather disgruntled Swallows perched on power-lines looking as if they wished they had left already!

Weatherproof/Water Resistant/Showerproof/Waterproof - if it rains hard, you get wet! BM