Another Plant Survey In The Wood

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The sun shone this afternoon as I and my three colleagues had another search round Reffley Spring Wood for fresh plants. Our survey patch includes the grassy area near the duck pond where we found the white clover in flower and identified creeping buttercup.

Even plants that you think of as easy to identify turn out to have several types. For instance, there are six types of buttercup listed in the book we use the most “Harrap’s Wild Flowers” by Simon Harrap and when it comes to dandelion, the book states that there are 232 microspecies that can only be identifioed by specialists.

On the common we uncovered what we believed to be hedgerow cranesbill, which, despite its name, can be found on field margins, waste ground and often near houses; and a single common poppy.

Just inside the wood, we found the tiny yellow flower of wood avens.

We took roughly the same route as two weeks ago, although in reverse. We thought the dog’s mercury looked healthier and more plentiful than during a visit in May. The pignut – described as “a real ancient woodland indicator” by a visiting expert, was still in flower.

And further along the path, the pretty small flowers and clover like leaves of pink sorrel, became one of our favourites.

Pretty pink sorrel.
Pretty pink sorrel.

We decided we would need to check on various plants when they’d flowered to assess which sort they were. These included burdock, yarrow and sorrel.

While walking round, we witnessed among the trees what appeared to be a blackbird trying to drive off a jay. It was not possible to see in great detail because the birds were amongst the leaves. It is quite possible the blackbird had young nearby and considered the jay a threat. Various other birds were singing and calling, such as wren, great tit, chaffinch, chiff chaff and song thrush.

It was good to see a blue damselfly flying over the long grass at the woodland edge. There were two or three white butterflies, including an orange tip, around the woodland edge and a speckled wood inside. There were a few hoverflies. Some small, flat, dark round snails were attached to plants in a marshy area and froghopper insects had left some of their nymphs covered in frothed-up plant sap known as “cuckoo spit” attached to some plants.

Fungi seen included a few King Alfred’s Cakes; a small, stripey one close to the main pignut site, and some creamy coloured fungus on a cherry tree log. We aim to return in another two weeks to continue surveying this County Wildlife Site on behalf of the Nofolk Wildlife Trust.

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