Walk report: 07 February 2019 Tanners Lane

Roe Deer © Chris Robinson

On a bright but blowy morning 16 of us gathered together for the morning’s walk. We progressed down the hill towards the Solent and the beach. In the field to our right were three female Roe Deer. Small birds flitted in and out of the hedge, mostly Blue Tits.

As we reached the beach we could see Wigeon and Brent Geese. On closer inspection we also spotted Curlew, Oystercatcher, Pintail, Turnstone and Dunlin. We paused to admire the Goji Berry plants that grow behind the strandline. Gojis (Lycium barbarum) are an escaped garden plant that was popularly grown for it’s berries. They are tolerant of salt spray, hence they grow all along this walk. It is a member of the Solanum family and it’s flowers (in summer) look like nightshade. The berries are only edible when fully ripe!

Walking the shore
© Richard Coomber
We walked further along and up onto the permissive footpath through the trees. There is an abundance of Butcher’s Broom growing here, an indication that there has been little disturbance for a long time. There was an absence of small birds, though there was a tail-less Dunnock, presumably a survivor of an attack by a predator.

When we reached an area of real mud we stopped to have a break. Out on the sea we spotted six Red-breasted Mergansers and (on the islands) Grey Plover. We then retraced our steps.

The rear-guard (Pam and Richard) saw a Merlin and a Raven, but we were too strung out for most of us to see them. As we reached the fields at the bottom of Tanners Lane we were treated to a flock of 20 or 30 Redwing flying from the hedge to the field and back, and Richard spotted a large group of Grey Plover on one of the few islands still visible at high tide.

Blleding Oak Crust

© Richard Coomber
Back at the cars Duncan investigated a fungus that had been found at the beginning of the walk, and identified it as Bleeding Oak Crust Stereum gausapatum. It gets it’s common name from the fact that if you damage it (ie removing a piece for microscopic examination later) it produces a red substance that looks a bit like blood! CR.