Walk report : Lucy Hill 6th January 2021

The walk started well down a wide grassy fire break through mixed woods and then Richard Smith and I were then confronted with an extensive waterlogged and well trodden section  While circumnavigating the section, a song thrush was glimpsed and a little later a redwing.

Turning right, we shortly passed through the gate of the plantation into a mainly open area running along the south side of the plantation, scattered with groups of trees, bushes and the odd flowering gorse.
We then went through a small copse of mainly oak and some holly where we heard the faint sound of a wood pecker (great?) tapping to find food. It was then seen at a distance flying to a perch   Leaving. we passed one of the holly trees showing large teeth marks, surprisingly above head height (ponies?) . 
On the south facing bank of the ditch running along the edge of the plantation were several ant hills, one particularly magnificent.
More evidence of ants, this time a very large concentration of small mounds, the work of meadow ants, surmounted with various grasses.  Not that we looked at the time, but the South East face of the mound is meant to be flatter in order to catch the morning sun.
Meadow Ant hills

In a small holly, another glimpse, an uncooperative goldcrest.
Another change of vegetation, this time an extensive area of clumps of small thorny scrub.
Eventually, we turned up the side of the plantation through a mix of beech one side and very tall pine on the other in order to join a forest track back into the plantation.
Along the track a jay was seen and later a tree creeper, but not for long.  Turning off the track up a series of firebreaks through a variety of groups of trees, I managed to take a wrong turning and ended up having to get round the muddy section again.  Not exactly the planned sylvan walk.
However, there was a reward at the end, one possibly two very cooperative nuthatches in the carpark.


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