Field Meeting Report: Oakley Inclosure 16 September 2021

 A lovely misty morning among the great oaks, Beeches and conifers though it wasn’t long before the sun burst through the canopy.

We started with a glimpse of a Great Spotted Woodpecker and heard Robin, Coal Tit and Jay in the trees around us. The grassy rides were carpeted in delicate dew covered cobwebs, each with a small spider at its centre.


A few butterflies, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood, emerged to dance in the pools of sunlight before we deviated briefly into a clearing in search of slime moulds. We found just old remains of a yellow Dog’s Vomit Slime Mould but came across a good display of a coral fungus, .Ramaria stricta

Ramaria stricta © Richard Smith


We found another good fungal specimen at the base of a beech tree, Cauliflower Fungus, and several Violet Door Beetles before we emerged from the wood and followed the wood margin up the hill.

Cauliflower Fungus © Richard Smith

A damp drainage ditch encouraged dragonfly, moss and sundew and several Southern Wood Ant mounds were dotted up the line. Looking out across the Gorse and heather a distant raptor was probably a large female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by crows, for generally Corvids avoid Goshawks like the plague. Much nearer was a family of Stonechat. An attractive moth, a Silver Y, settled on the bracken by the path and we found Oyster Mushrooms, King Alfreds Cakes, and heard Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tits.


Diving back into the wood we headed back, finding Green Elf Cup, several Russula mushrooms, an immature Beefsteak Fungus that resembled a slime mould, heard Ravens croaking nearby and saw a fascinating collection of more Violet Door Beetles working through a patch of dung.

Green Elf Cup © Chris Robinson

Fox poo with Sloe stones and Violet Dor Beetles © Chris Robinson

An immature Beefsteak Fungus © Andy Skarstein

Back in the car park a wonderful specimen of a Goat Moth caterpillar was found. I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely morning in the woods despite not finding many birds and, in particular, the promised array of exotic species such as Crossbill and Dartford Warbler. Glad I didn’t mention the Wildebeest! RP

Goat Moth caterpillar © Andy Skarstein