Field Reports

Thursday 8 March 2018     BURTON MILL POND

Leader  Jim Bagley

A select few of seven members met up at the small car park next to Burton Mill and whilst we were chatting before the off, we heard a tawny owl hooting nearby.  There was a cold wind but out of the wind it felt quite warm, mainly blue sky with some white clouds moving along quickly
It was a lovely morning to be outside in the countryside. Robins were singing, jackdaws were heard calling and flying over the fields between groups of trees.  A goldcrest was flitting in a tall conifer near the start of our Field Outing.  This walk is particularly pleasant gazing at the wonderful spectacle of the ancient huge gnarled sweet chestnut trees, a wonderful sight every time.
A few tree creepers were spotted by our observant group.  Then a red admiral was seen flying over some bracken in a sunny spot out of the cold wind.  We were keeping an eagle eye out for signs of Spring.  We found snowdrops, green shoots of wild garlic, celandine with a few of its yellow flowers out and some dogs mercury which is an indicator of ancient  woodland.  There were coppiced hazel trees with their catkins and a fascinating tree with numerous small holes in its trunk.  It was decided it could only be holes made by jays to store acorns.
Another unusual sight was seeing eighteen little egrets in a field of cows.  No one could remember seeing so many together away from water.  However, there are a number of ponds/lakes on the other side of the woodland.  It is amazing what can be seen and we spotted some fascinating fungi called King Alfred’s cakes, on a dead silver birch.  
Numerous birds were seen/heard – red kite, buzzard, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, longtailed tit, wren, great spotted and green woodpecker, greenfinch, rook, kestrel and on the ponds/lake gadwall, coot, mallard, blackheaded gulls, canada and egyptian goose, male and female tufted duck, little and great crested grebe, cormorant, pochard, etc.
Altogether 30 species of birds and 10 species of  flora were specifically noted.  It was a lovely morning to be out and about and we all felt full of fresh air on returning to our cars. Many thanks to Jim Bagley for his leadership.

Daphne Flach

One of the magnificent sweet chestnuts

A Jays winter larder

It's a ........

King Alfred's cakes

Chichester, West Sussex

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