Brentor Commons update – September 2018

After a few rather quiet walks around the common over the past month or so, it was a pleasure to see and hear a return to a much more active habitat.  On parking my car I was greeted with a mixed flock of long tailed, blue and great tits being very mobile and calling continuously to each other.  There may well have been other birds with them but they quickly moved away.  On walking across to see the new heather planting I disturbed first one then another snipe. The second of these birds flew directly away, not zigzagging, and with no rasping “schaarp”.  This may have been a Jack Snipe, a close but smaller relative of the common snipe.
As I moved further along the common, a party of ten or so meadow pipits were moving from the telephone wires to the ground and back, a typical feeding behaviour for meadow pipits.  As I watched them a great spotted woodpecker flew up and across the common clearly showing its white wing bar and undulating flight.
Along the bridle path I came across a stinkhorn fungi pushing up through the leaf litter.  My attention was drawn to it by the swarm of flies that were clearly were aware of its reputed smell of rotting flesh.  I did not try to smell it.
There are still a good crop of sloes on the blackthorn and another bonanza of the glorious summer are the sweet chestnut fruit to be found on the ground under the trees at the end of the track to Burcombe farm.  The trees are not that mature so it is good to see them producing fruit already.  They are not very big, but large enough to roast.
Finally, as I returned to my car, I saw a couple of butterflies taking advantage of the late afternoon sunshine.  Poppy had enjoyed her exercise and I felt well rewarded with an interesting and busy perspective of our common.

Barry Albrighton

Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton