Brentor Commons Update – September 2017

An early morning walk showed us the common in a different light. A heavy mist and still air created such a silent and peaceful atmosphere.  The mist shrouded spider webs, especially on the gorse, were quite incredible in their density.  Every branch had its own webs, perhaps up to fifty in each bush.  There seemed to be two types of web present, the classic fairy tale orb and the three-dimensional ones;  the water droplets on the latter, making them sink a little to resemble hammocks.  Towards the end of the walk the heat of the sun was able to ‘burn off’ the mist and allow the blue sky to shine through.  As this happened the area became alive with thrushes and blackbirds.  They were charging around in considerable numbers, many more than the common would normally hold.  I imagine that these were harbingers, probably from northern England or the near continent, of the fieldfares and redwing that will be arriving soon.  Several red admirals were also on the wing even though the air temperature was still low.
Our pond clearing effort was a great success. We were able to start a fire to get rid of the rubbish that had been dumped there earlier in the year as well as the huge pile of ‘brash’ that we had piled up when opening up the edge of the pond on our last clearing session.  We saw frogs and toads much to the delight of our five-year-old helper.
There has been no further attempt to use the track that was cut into Liddaton Common.  We hope that this is the last we will have to do anything about it and the ground can regenerate naturally.

Barry Albrighton
Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton