Walk report: 21 March 2019 Linford Bottom

Goldcrest near the car park © Richard Smith

On a mild cloudy spring morning 
18 of us set out from Linford Bottom. The Forestry Commission had recently been working in this area, clearing scrub to create more lawn and thinning woodland and rides to open up the canopy. This has been done to allow more light in which should improve plant diversity and encourage butterflies. This work however did not detract from the walk itself for there was plenty of birdsong for us to identify as we listened to the drumming of Great Spotted Woodpeckers whilst we walked through the Great Linford Inclosure.

The woodland here is mixed with fine stands of Scots Pine, Douglas Fir and Norway Spruce and throughout there was constant calling and movement of Siskin in the trees. In a clearing stood a single specimen tree of Lawson Cypress, this was unexpected because Lawson Cypress is rarely planted for its timber as the main trunk may fork, thus reducing the value of the timber grown. Continuing on we came across a Southern Wood Ant’s nest which had been damaged, a large number of worker ants had piled out to do repairs, then further on a Chiffchaff was heard and seen flitting about catching insects, this was a first for many of us this year.

Wild Daffodil - just one of many © Richard Smith
After leaving the Inclosure we turned back through an area of old gnarled Oak, excellent territory for hole nesting birds, a Wren’s nest was seen. Wood Sorrel and Bluebell leaves were emerging, a good indication of really old woodland. Eventually the path opened out to a small area of heathland which went down to Linford Brook. It was here, near the water we found the large patch of Wild Daffodils we had come to see. This area also has a few small streams feeding into the brook. In this water long strings of toad spawn were found and, from the bridge over the brook Minnows and Whirligig Beetles were seen.

Finally we followed the track through the gorse leading up to Little Linford Inclosure, where we proceeded along the woodland edge and crossed Linford Brook again to return to the car park. PP

Birds seen included:- Dunnock, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Nuthatch, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Jay, Wren, Chiffchaff, Buzzard, Siskin and Mallard.
Flowering Plants :-Lesser Celandine, Wild Daffodils and Goat Willow
Ferns : Common Polypody Fern, Male and Hard Ferns.
Fungi :- Yellow Brain Fungus Tremella mesenterica on gorse.
Mammals:- Bank Vole