It was a cold morning when we gathered for the walk and a Cuckoo was heard briefly during the introduction.
|Bilberry flowers © Chris Robinson|
We walked into Anderwood and heard and saw a Song thrush on the top of an oak tree. Blackcaps and Wren were singing adjacent to the path but not seen. Walking through a mixed confer and deciduous wooded area we reached Church Moor, where there were several old Beech trees. Some had been pollarded; a large number were rotting and had fallen to the woodland floor. On one particular trunk someone spotted an old Nuthatch nest hole, whose entrance was plastered with mud to reduce the size to fit for the Nuthatch. Possible Owl pellets were found nearby, with fur and bones.
|Tormentil © Claire Kidger|
Beeches were beginning to come into leaf, displaying a beautiful lime green foliage. The woodland floor was mainly grazed grass, with low patches of Brambles, where Bracken fronds were beginning to unfurl and Common Dog Violets, Tormentil and Wood Sorrel bloomed. Foxgloves, yet to flower, were in groups across the area and a male Redstart was heard, but not seen!
|Wood Sorrel © Chris Robinson|
We walked from Church Moor to a path between Mark Ash (left) and Barrow Moor (right), stopping for a coffee break on some fallen trees. Nearby a fallen Larch’s fresh bright green deciduous needles were soft to touch. After the break we passed an old Rowan that had fallen and formed a tangle of roots and multiple trunks.
|Siskin - male © Richard Smith|
Walking down to the small stream and along the bank we found new Hard Ferns emerging, more Wood Sorrel and large areas of liverwort Pellia epiphylla. Along the path following the stream there was a carpet of Bilberry in flower attracting bumble bees. Beech seedlings had germinated with two cotyledons also two year/three old beech seedling were seen. One mature Beech showed a broad arrow depicting the ‘King’s mark’, used to identify trees reserved for the building of navy ships. Before we crossed the stream a group of Siskins was seen in the tall Larches. On the trunks of Alders by the stream two Treecreepers were seen and nearby was a Wren. There was more Wood Sorrel, Water Mint and liverworts.
|Thyme-leaved Speedwell © Richard Smith|
This week’s group safely managed to cross a bog without anyone falling in! Near the road was a Beech with a large hole, where the previous evening a Tawny Owl had been seen sitting looking very cute. Probably it was sleeping as we passed today.
|Tawny Owl site © Claire Kidger|
After crossing the road, we followed a gravel and grass track through a conifer area. We walked back through a deciduous woodland to the cars, passing small patches of Bluebells and remains of what could have been a bomb crater. CK