white squirrel video.mp4
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Also this month we have a new section on the Fauna pages under Beetles - the Rove Beetles, Staphylinidae. This is the largest beetle group although only 4 species have been identified in our wood. They have flexible abdomens and very short leathery wing casings which store their folded up wings.Because folding the wings takes time and effort they rarely fly.
3/7/16 - Soldier Beetle - Rhagonycha lignosa - Similar to the common Rhagonycha fulva, but black all over except for the elytra and appendages.
5th May 2016
Herb Paris (shown) is now flowering in Selsdon Wood. About 60 individuals were seen on 1st May growing by the chain link fence on The Bridleway west and downhill from the Bridle Way Gate towards the Yew Tree Gate. Some were in flower. My thanks to Heather Govier who pointed out the location of this colony in early April when there was no sign of any individuals. If any Friends know of other locations for Herb Paris within Selsdon Wood, I would be most grateful for location information (preferably with OS Grid Reference) for Surrey's Rare Plant Register being prepared by the Surrey Botanical Society (http://www.surreyflora.org.uk/).
Paris quadrifolia, Herb Paris or true lover's knot, is a Eurasian species of flowering plant in the family Melanthiaceae, although authorities formerly regarded it as part of the Liliaceae family. It is related to Trillium, with which it can be confused. Trillium, however, is generally 3-merous (3 leaves per whorl, 3 petals etc.), whereas Paris quadrifolia is 4-merous. Paris quadrifolia has solitary flowers with four or more very narrow greenish filiform (threadlike) petals and green petaloid sepals. The flower is borne above a single whorl of four or more stem leaves. It prefers calcareous soils and lives in damp and shady places, especially old established woods and streamsides. It occurs locally in temperate and cool areas throughout Europe and northern Asia from Spain to Yakutia and northern China, but is absent in the wild from the Americas, Africa and the southern hemisphere. In Britain it is more frequently found in the east of the country, but it is uncommon throughout its range. Each plant only produces one blueberry-like berry, which is poisonous, as are other tissues of the plant. Paris quadrifolia poisonings are rare, because the plant's solitary berry and its repulsive taste make it difficult to mistake it for a blueberry.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_quadrifolia) Report by Brian Pitkin firstname.lastname@example.org
1st May 2016
The Owl Box in Smith Grove is being used - but by squirrels. Report by Neale Fox
After this sighting by Neale, Tony Flecchia repeatedly visited the box and finally on 5th May obtained several photographs of the mother and the pups. They were clearly nesting in the box.
Three Buzzards soaring high above Field 2 - they eventually drifted off one by one in the southerly direction. Report by Ted Forsyth
Early-purple Orchids - see photo - out on the unofficial footpath from the dogleg in Court Wood Grove. Some are broken. Blackcaps & Chiffchaff now in the wood. Report by David Malins
Other flowers spotted today for the fist time this year are Herb Robert, Yellow Archangel & Lilac ivy-leaved Speedwell. Report by Heather Govier
29th April 2016
I heard a Willow Warbler singing between The Wend and Beech Grove yesterday. The song is a descending musical "Wee-wee-woo-woo-woo". Report by Ted Forsyth
22nd November 2015
I saw the white squirrel at the usual crossroads. It was on the ground and Bella chased it up a tree. Report by Heather Govier
24th August 2015 - A Deer spotted in the Great Field. The first photo shows the location (see tiny dot to the left of centre) - the camera is facing due east. The deer stood and watched for some time as I approached - Bella, my dog, had not spotted it. Eventually it ran off into Langford's Way. HG
7th August 2015 - Butterflies - On the marjoram patch in David's Crook I saw: Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small Skipper, 10 Gatekeepers. 8 Meadow Browns and nearby there were Peacock and two Silver-washed Fritillaries. Speckled Woods were seen in Greenhill Way (2), West Gorse near Farleigh Border, Middle Gorse, and Langford's Way (2). There was a female Brimstone in Linden Glade and a Large White elsewhere. Report by Ted Forsyth
3rd August 2015 - Deer - Small deer spotted crossing the short leg of the Great Field and trotting off along Avis Grove. No photograph unfortunately. Report by Heather Govier.
Thanks to Sheila Woolcock for this adorable fox cub (below left) photographed in Vale Border.
Ian Frost spotted our famous White Squirrel on our Bluebell Walk on 2nd May and managed to get some great photos of it (see above right). It was at the usual location - the junction of Beech Grove and Langford's Way. After much peering, most of the other 40 walkers also managed to catch a glimpse of it so many thanks to Ian for his sharp eyes:-) See the Walks page for a full report and more photos.
26th April 2015 - Cuckoo heard
We have a Cuckoo in the wood again. It called
about half a dozen times at 6.30 this evening at the junction of Avis
Grove and Addington Border. It is many years since I last heard a cuckoo
although there used to be a regular visitor. The location was different
- I usually heard the old one around the corner of the Great Field
where it joins Langford's Way but It could be 10 years or so since I
last heard it. (Ted also heard a Cuckoo in Puplet Wood on 17/5/15).
17th April 2015 - Blackcap
The is first picture of a Blackcap taken in Selsdon Wood. It was photographed by John Zareba who was taking photos of the splendid Blackthorn along Vale Border when he saw this little bird.
12th April 2015 - Nuthatch
On the Spring Walk a Nuthatch was heard in Great Field making it's characteristic "weeep weeep" call. Some of the party managed to spot it high in the branches of an Oak in Steven's Larch.
Sad sightings in March 2015
25th March 2015 Injured Badger
This bedraggled and seemingly injured badger was wandering about in broad daylight today. It was spotted and photographed by Debbie Paul who reported it to us and has now contacted the Badger Trust.
It was seen in Steven's Walk and possibly also near the badger sett in the wood between Field 2 and Field 3, close to Heather Creamer's bench.
The sighting has also been reported to the East Surrey Badger Protection Society. They have told me that the injury looks very like an eviction from a sett. When the female has cubs she will often attack any male that comes near to drive it out of the sett. That bite on the rump is apparently very typical.
25th March 2015 at 5pm Injured Deer
This deer was photographed by John Zareba who reports: "I was walking along the Vale Border path when I saw the deer on the other side of the metal railings. It did not move but looked as if ready to run. It was only after I checked the zoomed picture that I noticed its injured hinds... which is where dogs usually get them."
And see his scary caterpillar video!
July 26th 2014 - This Roe Deer Doe, seen in the bridle path beside the Cascades, was photographed by Tony Flecchia.
The deer was trapped outside the reserve by the top gate being closed
but he was able to gently walk her up the hill and and leave the gate
open for her.
April 18th 2014 - At 6.15pm the White Squirrel was seen sitting on a branch before scuttling up the trunk - report from Ted Forsyth
April 17th 2014 - 2.00pm - I've just returned from the wood and saw a Holly Blue butterfly just at the bottom of Langford's Way. Also heard Treecreeper again.- report from Ted Forsyth
April 3rd 2014 - White Squirrel off Langford's Way. Brimstones, Peacocks and Small White butterflies in various places. Bee Flies in many areas . I heard a Treecreeper calling near the junction with Beech Grove but I could not see it. However, as I waited I heard a Tawny Owl calling from Court Wood Grove. - report from Ted Forsyth
April 1st 2014 - A Roe buck - spotted by Ted Forsyth feeding in the fenced part of Court Wood, visible from Courtwood Lane.
April 1st 2014 - A pair of Nuthatches - at the end of Leafy Grove where it joins Gorse Plantation. Spotted by Sheila Woolcock.
April 1st 2014 - White Squirrel - around the crossroad of Langfords Way & Beech Grove. Spotted by Colin Shepherd.
March 29th 2014 - Birds - report from Ted Forsyth - At least 7 Chiffchaffs were singing and also 2 Blackcaps. Calling Canada Geese flew over the golf course, unseen but probably two or three judging by previous occurrences. I looked for the Tawny Owl at Linden Glade but it was not visible, but when I was walking away down West Gorse towards Leafy Grove I heard it calling behind me, possibly even in the other part of West Gorse leading in the direction of Farleigh Border.
March 23rd 2014 - Tawny Owl in Linden Glade - spotted by Michael Elmer.
March 22nd 2014 - Birds - report from Ted Forsyth - 7 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackcap & 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers plus lots of commoner birds but no owl.
March 22nd 2014 - Long-tailed tits in Courtwood Grove - spotted by Heather Govier
March 21st 2014 - White Squirrel in the usual haunt in Langford's Way - spotted by Heather Govier
March 4th 2014 - A pheasant in Avis Grove - - spotted by Heather Govier
November 24th 2013 - White Squirrel - spotted by Heather Govier
November 4th 2013 - Bat - spotted by Heather Govier - A bit late for Halloween, I spotted a bat at 4pm flying
over the Great Field at the North East corner of Steven's Larch.I stood watching it for 10 minutes.
May 15th 2013 - Roe Buck and May 20th Robin - both spotted by Tony Flecchia (see above) - This Roe buck was at the high southern end of David's Crook. It was more concerned about someone with a large dog approaching up the western flank, so took no notice of me. I also finally got a photo of the Robin that's been hanging around the deer fence near the charcoal burning area. I had to use the full 35 times zoom and it's difficult to get a still image at this 840 mm focal length, but it's turned out quite well. Its plumage is a bit bedraggled though in this damp weather!
May 12th 2013 - Long-tailed Tit spotted by Brian Stevens - First long tailed tit I've seen for a long time in Selsdon Woods at about 8 this morning in Courtwood Grove. Unfortunately didn't have a camera with me as it didn't seem particularly bothered by me or the dog & just flew a few feet to the next tree whenever I got close to the tree it was perched on.
April 24th 2013 - Chiffchaff in Larch - photographed by Sheila Woolcock (see below left) - This little chiffchaff was very vocal - full of the joy of spring!
January 17th 2013 - Tawny Owl - photograph below right by David Malins - report by Ted Forsyth - Just before the snow fell a Tawny Owl was found at a roost behind Linden Glade. Once the snow arrived it disappeared but one small owl pellet was picked up from under its roost tree. Analysis showed it contained the remains of a Wood Mouse.
December 20th 2012 - Dead Deer Update - report by Heather Govier - The window of opportunity for removing the carcass may now have been lost as today it was in pieces which were rapidly becoming widely dipersed. When I reached the area the carcass was being chewed by a German Shepherd and when the owner called him away and I approached another dog (possibly a lurcher - in a blue coat with no owner in sight) went over and pulled part of the carcass towards Steven's Walk. The dog then managed to detach a leg and ran off with it in his mouth.
December 18th 2012 - Deer Put Down - report by Heather Govier - Last weekend we received a call to the FSW number to report an injured deer in Selsdon Wood. We told the caller that we did not have resources to deal with injured animals and suggested that he should ring the RSPCA. This was done and an RSPCA officer attended and put down a deer that had been badly injured - probably by a dog attack although the officer could not say for certain. (We had received a report of a deer being chased by dogs so this does seem likely.) The RSPCA officer told me that she euthanised the deer with a bolt to the head and RSPCA policy is not to remove carcasses of such animals but to leave them as carrion. They do remove animals killed with chemicals so that the drugs do not get into the food chain.
A walker in the woods then contacted me to say that her dog had been attracted to the carcass and become trapped behind fencing. She had heard that the policy was to leave carcasses in situ but was very unhappy with this. I have checked with the Council and would like to confirm that, whatever the RSPCA policy may be, it is definitely NOT the policy of the FSW or of Croydon Council to leave dead animals in public spaces. We have reported dead deer to the Council in the past and they have been removed and having ascertained the location of the current carcass I have reported it today and asked that it be cleared away. I will let you know the outcome of this.
The walker who got in touch reported that there were two deer but the RSPCA officer told me that she had only dealt with one and I have only managed to find one carcass. I understand that the other may now be outside our wood in the land beside Quail Gardens. The Croydon Rangers have been informed about this one too.
The dog attracted to the dead deer had become trapped behind deer fencing. This is used in various locations in the wood to protect newly planted or coppiced trees from deer grazing but it is clearly not very effective at keeping the deer out as this dead animal was inside a fenced area and indeed I have frequently seen live deer within fenced areas. In the coming year I will ensure that the FSW reviews the whole approach to the use of deer fencing and seeks some professional advice about its value.
December 2012 – White Squirrel - from Ted Forsyth - I have twice recently seen the squirrel. On one occasion while looking out of the window to check the birds I noticed the squirrel bounding along the road as it moved round the roundabout, at the top of Courtwod Lane finishing over by the oak tree. On the second occasion it came into my garden to search for fallen sunflower hearts under the bird feeder, spending only a few minutes before disappearing.
November 2012 – Bird Boxes - from David Malins - Five new bird boxes were installed along the Green route on 5th November. By 8th November a great tit was spotted at the hole into box 1 doing the usual head prodding to make sure the hole was suitable - just after 3 days!
26/7/12 – Bella's chase - report by Heather Govier - Bella today did a 'Fenton'! We were walking down the north edge of David's Crook at sunset when we heard a rustling in the bushes. Bella went to investigate and out shot two full grown deer. They leapt off across the field with Bella in hot pursuit. Labradors are not the fastest runners and she was already losing ground when the deer adopted the perfect strategy and split up. Confused, Bella went a different way entirely and disappeared off towards the Jubilee. The deer circled round, joined up and stood together at the top of the rise watching us, seemingly quite unperturbed. I called Bella to heel and we continued our walk. (There is a photo of Bella in the Rogues Gallery on the Dogs page.)
20/7/12 – Harlequin Ladybird - from Tony Flecchia - An unfortunate sighting today of the larva of the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). It was in Steven's Walk adjacent to the FSW coppice at the junction with Leafy Grove. This is a dangerous invasive species with a voracious appetite that includes our native ladybirds, and the beetle bites humans too. There's a reporting survey to monitor it's spread and I've completed that on behalf of FSW, reference number HAXY 44537. Information links:
July 2012 – Badger Rescue and Release – story & photograph from David Malins - In early July a young badger, about 6 months old, was injured by a car in Linton Glade. A concerned person called the RSPCA who collected the badger and took it to Wildlife Aid animal hospital in Leatherhead. The badger seemed to have suffered mild concussion and quickly recovered. Two days rest and good food confirmed it was ready to go home. The next job was to release the badger near a sett close to its accident.
I am a Committee member of the East Surrey Badger Protection Society, so was asked to assist the release. On a cold dark drizzly evening I met a representative from Wildlife Aid who brought the badger in a carrying cage. I decided that there were 2 setts that the badger could have come from - one in Selsdon Wood or another beyond Sorrel Bank. We took the cage and opened it on top of the largest sett which was in Selsdon Wood. The badger was reluctant to leave its comfortable cage – so it had to be gently tipped out. It lay on top of the sett for about 10 minutes trying to work out where it was. Then ignoring that sett, it set off hesitatingly along a badger path in a south-westerly direction towards other badger setts.
We were congratulating ourselves when it stopped and walked slowly in a wide circle. It then came out onto the main path, sniffed at our boots and then set off determinedly back along the main path in the opposite direction. It passed the sett I had chosen without hesitating and disappeared in the direction of the other sett I had considered. It appeared to know where it was going.
Young as it was it seemed to have a homing instinct, like pigeons, the badger was able to circle and then know the way home.
When wild animals are sick, injured or orphaned we rely on organisations like Wildlife Aid to give them a second chance.. Their programme of Rescue - Rehabilitate - Release needs our financial and practical help. Please see their website: www.wildlifeaid.org.uk and help them if you can.
18/6/12 – Greater Spotted Woodpeckers at nest hole - from Tony Flecchia - I did another patient waiting job this afternoon and have two photos of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker at the nest hole in Pool Grove - one of the male parent (the male is identified by the red patch at the nape of the neck) arriving to feed the chick and another of the male chick (identified by the red crown) looking out to see where the parent was going afterwards, clearly it's near to fledging and getting nosy!
(This was the nest hole first found by Ted Forsyth on 14th June - see below.)
I had to con the woodpecker to get those photos since it wouldn't tolerate me near just as Ted had said. Therefore I deliberately went close to upset it and stayed there for quite a while to get it really frustrated at not being able to reach the chick, the latter continuously cheeping to be fed. Then when I guessed it might be desperate, I went away just a little into cover but with a small opening between branches to see the nest hole. The woodpecker could still see me, but it eventually accepted I meant well by backing off and risked coming in. The chick emerging was just a lucky bonus.
14/6/12 – Badger - from Tony Flecchia - I'd resolved to get a photo of a badger in the wild for the FSW website. Targeting a known sett area, I first had to make sure they were in residence since they often move around in disturbed areas. So I went over on Wednesday evening (13/6/12) as it got dark and planted some peanuts in the four sett entrances that I thought were currently active. Returning first thing Thursday morning, the peanuts had gone so that showed they were in residence.
Thursday evening I set off to get there by just after 9pm knowing they'd be a late hours group in that location, but it started raining just as I left home. With everything set up and loaded with camera in silent mode, a camping stool and a torch for the return journey, I carried on anyway. Once there the protection from thin trees was poor and I had to be close for flash photos, so I chose a spot close to two holes, 6' and 8' away, set up the stool and sat down to wait in the wet. By 10.30pm it was completely dark under the trees so I would have to rely on hearing to know if a badger surfaced.
An hour and a quarter after getting there I heard a faint movement, raised the camera from under my sleeve and used the infra-red focus beam to see a badger just out of the 8' hole, but that scared it and it dashed back in. Several minutes later I sensed there was something there again though not hearing anything, so once again tried and this time the badger was there and it froze, trying to understand this bright red spot coming from my camera. I pressed the button and after what seemed an age the flash fired and I had the shot. Of course the flash scared the badger back down, so to avoid any more disturbance I left some more bonus peanuts and quickly left.
It was pouring by now and Broad Walk was pitch black under the low cloud cover and heavy rain, so it was a torchlit trip home through the woods. Broad Walk looks very different in darkness, seeming much narrower and closed in like a tunnel with only the odd moth flitting through the torch light despite the rain. I arrived home before 11.30 pm, bedraggled and very wet, but pleased to have got the photo.
14/6/12 – GSW nest - from Ted Forsyth -
When I entered Pool Grove from David's Crook I heard a nest of young Great Spotted Woodpeckers making their continuous chattering noise. Hoping to get a photo I remained long enough to see an adult try to return to the nest but as she was so agitated I left without a photo. The nest is on the left in a broken branch on an Oak tree a few yards into the trees.
12/6/12 – Swift - from Heather Govier
Spotted a dozen or more Swift soaring over the Jubilee Plantation.
11/6/12 – Roe Deer - from Heather Govier
So much for deer fencing! I saw a Roe Deer today inside the fenced area at the end of Langford's Way. There was another in David's Crook - they seem to like this rainy weather.
10/6/12 – Nesting Blue Tits - from Tony Flecchia
I think the blue tits in the nesting box in Linden Glade have now fledged. Yesterday one called, looked in and went straight off without entering, perhaps thinking one youngster was still in there. Today I spent 20 minutes patiently watching but no birds called. I saw two small birds flash across the glade but was unable to identify them in the time.
9/6/12 – Chicken of the Woods - from Heather Govier
There seem to be a fair few specimens of this fungus around at the moment. Today I spotted one a little way into the wood on the south side of Vincent Avenue. See this and 3 others in the Fungi gallery above. Don't try to spot a resemblance to a chicken - it is the TASTE that is supposed to be like chicken!
5/6/12 – Blue Tit at nesting box - from Tony Flecchia
I spotted a Blue Tit going in to the nesting box on a Silver Birch tree in Linden Glade. (Later in the week Tony photographed a bird entering and leaving the nesting box.)
21/5/12 – Cuckoo - from Heather Govier
I heard the first Cuckoo of the year today in the Noakes Way area. Summer must be here at last!!!
27/4/12 – White Squirrel - sighting from Ted Forsyth & Paul Ogier
I had been out for an early walk and was returning down Langford's Way when I met Paul Ogier around 8.30am. As we stood talking he suddenly said, "There's a white Squirrel - there's two together!" . They scampered through the undergrowth and disappeared. That's the first time I have seen two.
16/4/12 – Various sightings - from Ted Forsyth
When I arrived at the top of Langford's Way a Tawny Owl called from the Larches between Courtwood Grove and Langford's Way. I had a good look but could see nothing.
Further down Langford's Way I found the White Squirrel. It was initially on the ground and gradually worked its way to the base of a conifer where it started jumping up and down madly like a young lamb. Eventually it settled to nibble a stick then, as I walked towards it, climbed to a low branch still carrying the stick.
27/3/12 – Green Woodpeckers - sighting from Heather Govier
A pair of green woodpeckers in Farleigh border.
26/3/12 – Blue Tit & White Squirrel - sighting from Ted Forsyth
In the crab apple tree in The Wend there may be a Blue Tit nesting in a crack in the trunk.
Returning back down Langford's Way I saw the White Squirrel on the ground for the first time.
24/3/12 – White Squirrel - sighting from Brian Stevens
Another sighting today @ 1630hrs in the trees alongside Courtwood Grove - almost exactly where I saw the last one.
16/3/12 – White Squirrel - sighting from Brian Stevens
White squirrel at the junction of Courtwood Grove & Beech Grove at 1300hrs today.
10/2/12 – Deer - sighting from Heather Govier
There were three deer in the snow on the bridle path by the Cascades.
9/1/12 – – Woodpecker - from Heather Govier
There was a noisy wood pecker rattling away at the south end of Beech Grove today. I fear I didn't manage to spot it though. I understand that this is unseasonably early because of the mild winter.
12/12/11 – Pheasants - sighting from Heather Govier
Two pheasants fighting in Bluebell Grove. No camera to hand sadly!
7/12/11 – White Squirrel - sighting from Paul Ogier
Saw two white squirrels together in the same area as last week and managed to get some photos.
5/12/11 – White Squirrel - sighting from Paul Ogier
I saw the white squirrel - no not the white rabbit! - between Langfords Way and Addington Border Path at the Courtwood Lane area of the Woods. It confirmed the sighting mentioned to me by a neighbour whose home backs onto the woods. He saw it last week (30/11/11). The last time I saw a white squirrel was in December 2009 and the early part of 2010 (about 3 sightings). It was in the same area of the woods. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me!
31/10/09 - Owls in Selsdon Wood - from Ted Forsyth
Having heard a number of owls calling recently I decided to take the chance tonight to wander through part of Selsdon Wood. Starting at 4.45pm I entered from Courtwood Lane and turned on to The Wend. The first owl seemed to be calling from somewhere on Langford’s Way. Once I reached East Gorse I turned right and heard two owls having a hooting battle in Middle Gorse. I gave a crude imitation of an owl and heard a reply on my right near where we erected an owl box, and immediately one of the Middle Gorse birds flew across to that area. I walked through Middle Gorse but got no reply to my imitation. I continued up Farleigh Border, again with no replies to my imitation hoots where I know there is a roosting bird. I turned into Greenhill Way then into Vincent Way and down to Jubilee Plantation. I tried a few more hoots then started walking towards David’s Crook. As soon as I got on to the grass, a female began “kewicking” behind me then a male hooted in the trees between me and Greenhill Way. I entered Bluebell Grove, hearing another hooting bird, then turned down towards Steven’s Walk. Walking by Steven’s Larch more hooting produced no results. Courtwood Grove and Addington Border gave no more results though I am aware of a territory close to The Cascades. I retraced my steps to rejoin Langford’s Way and back to Courtwood Lane by 6.00pm.
Six hooting birds were heard, including one in flight, and one kewicking bird. I was unable to cover large parts of the woods and have frequently heard birds calling close to Courtwood Lane and from Puplet Wood. I suggest there are probably ten or twelve pairs though some of the calling birds might have been well-developed youngsters. Near Courtwood Lane I have heard what seemed like young birds with weak voices.