Friday, 19 December 2014

A wander around Brush Hill

It's the last day of school before the kids finish for Christmas and the sun was shining, so I took the opportunity to have a little wander around Brush Hill. You never quite know what you'll find, but the view alone is worth the visit. It was so clear today that you could see for miles.

The sheep are still out grazing the hillside, keeping the grass short so that the orchids and other wild flowers have a chance to grow in the spring. Apparently there are 30 of them and they're counted every day by volunteers.

There was a bitter wind when you got out in the open though, so I didn't stay for long and headed back into the shelter of the trees.

This time of year, when the leaves are all off the trees, it's so much easier to spot the birds. Today I was treated to Long Tailed Tits that seemed to be everywhere. squeaking and flitting around above me. They're such sweet little birds, like tiny little mice. They always seem to be in a group, so if you spot one, there's almost certainly more near by.

The other thing you notice with all the leaves gone is how much holly is around. It's one of the few evergreens in the woods and it's glossy leaves really stand out at the moment. No sign of any berries though, but I think the birds have had them if there were any. It's very festive as well, of course!

I couldn't resist a quick rustle through the leaves to look for fungus. I was just starting to think there wasn't very much around, then I'd look around a tree or on a log and find something else. You really have to hunt off the track though, or else you could easily walk through the woods and find nothing. There is still plenty around, but it seems to be growing in very specific places, for example:

These little bonnets were hiding in a tree trunk. I hardly saw any others.

There was a small clump of ink caps growing next to the car park

I didn't see any puffballs until I looked behind a log and there
was a large group of them that had started to turn to sludge.

A small clump of Sulphur Tuft was growing in the middle of one of the
less used paths

I found these 2 Wood Blewits, but these were the only ones I found. They are
very well camouflaged in the leaves though!

From underneath the Wood Blewits have very pretty pink gills
A couple of tree trunks caught my eye. The first was a Beech tree, but the trunk had lots of dents in it and was very misshapen. The second was a fallen tree stump that looked like driftwood and had King Alfred's Cakes growing on it. It was a really interesting twisted shape.

I also found a pile of feathers - looks like Fantastic Mr Fox had pheasant for lunch!

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