Come walking with us!
Selsdon Wood is a wonderful place for a walk whatever time of year. In the spring the ground is carpeted with bluebells. In the summer the lush green leaves keep it shady and cool. Autumn is the time for blackberries, fungi and nuts. And in winter, when it snows the wood is silent and magical.
The Friends regularly hold informative, guided walks to which all are welcome. All our walks are slow and easy – a meander rather than a hike!
Walking routes pdf 6.6.16 l.pdf
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FSW Scheduled Walks in 2017
All our walks are slow and easy – a meander rather than a hike!
Meeting in Selsdon Wood car park, Old Farleigh Road, at time shown. Why not join us for about 2 hours?
March Saturday 4th @ 2pm ‘Family Woodland Walk’ with Meike Weiser (for families with children aged 5+)
April Sunday 2nd @ 2pm 'Spring Walk' with the FSW
May Saturday 6th @ 2pm ‘Bluebells & Birds’ with FSW
June Sunday 18th @ 11am ‘Summer Flowers’ with Malcolm Jennings
July Saturday 15th @ 11am ‘Butterflies’ with Malcolm Bridge
July Thursday 20th @ 9.00pm ‘Bats & Moths’ with Malcolm Bridge
August Wednesday 16th @ 2pm - ‘Mini-Beast Hunt’ with Roger Hawkins (of interest to young children)
October Sunday 8th @ 10am - ‘Fungus Hunt’ with FSW
November Saturday 11th @ 1pm - 'Autumn Trees' with the FSW
Spring Walk Sunday 2nd April 2017
Around 36 people joined the walk which began following the Green Walk along Vale Border where we noted a few Daises in flower and argued about the proportions of Bullace and Blackthorn in the flowering hedge. We entered Broad Walk and were soon admiring the carpets of Wood Anemones. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps have suddenly increased in number over the last few days and were heard singing in several parts of the walk. In Linden Glade we stopped to talk about the pond and looked at the Periwinkle bed, the three Tutsan plants and a small number of flowering Lesser Celandine. Continuing along West Gorse we examined a dry specimen of Witches Butter, which was almost unrecognisable as it was so shrivelled and dry, and spotted a King Alfred’s Cakes fungus on a fallen Ash log. Wood Anemones were everywhere but it was not until we reached Greenhill Way that we began to see Wood Sorrel along the edge of the path but only an occasional one was in flower. Throughout the walk we kept seeing Bluebells coming into flower. St George’s Mushrooms were seen in David’s Crook and a few Cowslips and Primroses.
Rainy weather led to the cancellation of this walk but I contacted FSW members to let them know that we would go at the same time on the following day if there was any demand. Two people turned up for the walk with their dogs (plus Neale, Karen and Ted) and we walked round the planned route looking at some of the more striking trees such as the Spindle in F3 laden with berries and the striking silvery leaves of the White Poplar in David's Crook. A few interesting fungi were also seen including Hen of the Woods in West Gorse shown here.
23 people joined the fungus walk, following a route devised by Tony Flecchia to see the fungi found by Heather, Tony and Ted. Even in the couple of days before the walk brief showers encouraged more fungi to appear and new species were being found, with the more obscure ones being identified by Tony. We saw four species of leaf spots on bushes and trees and manged to show a range of fungi from tiny Oak Pin to enormous Chicken of the Woods. Inevitably, several of the walkers pointed out fungi we had not recorded and added a number of species to our list. The participants seemed to enjoy the walk and one or two said they had learned a lot, but refused my invitation to lead the walk next year!
50 different species of fungus were seen - see list below.
Duration of walk 2 hours 5 minutes
9 Oct 2016 Fungi Walk, Species List.pdf
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Minbeast Hunt - Wednesday 17th August 2016 - led by Roger Hawkins & Vic Wallace
- photos above by Linda Morris and some of the visitors
Around 20 adults and 30 children came to our hunt on a lovely warm sunny day. After a brief introduction from Roger & Vic, the children were issued with collecting tubes, nets and catching sheets and they set off around the car park field with their parents and grandparents to see what could be found. As in previous years, many sharp eared children were able to find the chirruping crickets and with better vision they could even count the spots on the tiniest of ladybirds.
To finish the session several groups walked up into David's Crook to look for butterflies on the marjoram patch and to beat the hedgerows with sticks to knock the minibeasts lurking there onto a catching sheet.
Species collected and identified included: butterflies - Common Blue, Meadow Brown & Speckled Wood; Roesel's Bush Cricket (2 females); Speckled Bush Cricket (male); Green Sheildbug; Pine Ladybird; 16 spot Ladybird; 22 spot Ladybird larva; Common Froghopper; Flower Bug, Anthocoris nemorum; hairy caterpillar of Tiger Moth; Woodlouse; Centipede; White-lipped Snail; Small black Bee (Lasioglossum sp.) male - visiting Ragwort flowers; a dragonfly; many different spiders; bees; wasps; slugs and 2 species of grass moth.
We asked where the attendees had found out about the hunt. Responses included: an advert in Selsdon Library, a poster in Sainsburys, word of mouth, our website, the LB Croydon website; poster in the car park, the Croydon guide (Great Green Yonder). The Flavours Cafe in Warlingham Village was suggested as s good place for a poster as it is frequented by parents with young children.
(Photographs of most of the named species can be found on the Fauna page of this website.)
Bat & Moth Walk with Malcolm Bridge and Ted Forsyth - Thursday July 28th - photos above from Neale Fox
We had almost ideal conditions for the bat and moth walk with cloudy conditions and dry, though we had a shower earlier in the day. We left Malcolm to set up his moth trap while around 15 of us trekked up through Fields 1 and 2. When we reached the Centenary Plantation Heather took us through into Field 3 where we were shown dozens of Cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on several Ragwort plants. We continued through Gt Field to the top of Langford’s Way where we stopped to operate the bat detectors, hearing a response from a bat over the edge of the nearby trees. As the light dwindled several Pipistrelle bats began swooping down to grass level in pursuit of aerial insects, causing the detectors to respond loudly. The signal detected by my instrument ranged from 45kHz to 51kHz so it is just possible that there might be Soprano Pipistrelles amongst the Common Pipistrelles but more evidence would be needed to be sure.
As we returned to the car park a very vocal Tawny Owl, probably in the tree line between Fields 3 and 2, called repeatedly as we walked by. At the moth trap a large Caddis fly drew our attention and soon we were watching moths fluttering near the lamp or settling on the cloth on which the lamp had been placed. Occasional moths landed on clothing and sometimes remained for long periods while others fluttered out into the dark before returning again. The following species were identified before we left the site but it was obvious that new species were turning up even as we packed up and drove off.
Caddis Fly, July Highflyer, Gallium Carpet, Gelekid Moth, August Thorn, Brimstone, Tree Lichen Beauty, Leopard Moth, Oak Hook Tip, Rustic, Pandemis corylanus, Pug sp, Nut Tree Tussock, Common Footman, Dunbar.
Butterfly Walk Sat 16 July 2016
On a lovely warm sunny day around 28 of us, led by Malcolm Bridge, set off from the car park. We soon saw Meadow Browns which, as expected, were the most numerous of the butterfly species we saw on the walk. A Silver-Y moth flitted amongst the grasses. A Red Admiral was seen and a very active Marbled White was identified. Sharp eyes spotted a small caterpillar almost invisible on a grass stem, and a second was found nearby – probably Meadow Brown caterpillars. A couple of Speckled Wood flew rapidly past us as we were about to enter Pool Grove where we found another Speckled Wood flitting from Bracken to Hazel. Malcolm pointed out leaf mines, made by larvae of small Agromyzid flies, on both Hogweed leaves and Hedge Woundwort. In Linden Glade the first butterfly to appear was the ubiquitous Meadow Brown but we had a brief glimpse of a Silver-washed Fritillary as it came down from the tree tops to investigate bramble flowers. At this stage we decided to modify our route and followed Smith Grove to reach Great Field where we turned right. At the end of the field a bank of Bramble proved attractive to a Comma and also to another Silver-washed Fritillary which gave us marvellous views. Having spent quite a long time admiring the Fritillary we moved fairly rapidly through fields 3 and 2 to get back to the car park.
Lots of Meadow Browns, several Marbled Whites, a few Speckled Woods, one Red Admiral, one definite Ringlet, one Comma and two Silver-washed Fritillaries. One Silver-Y moth.
A singing Stock Dove off Linden Glade, a soaring Buzzard high over Great Field, a few singing Blackcap, Blackbird, Coal Tit.
Malcolm Pointed out Timothy Grass, Yorkshire Fog, Upright Brome and a meadow grass. Leaf mines on Hogweed and Hedge Woundwort were also shown to us.
Discover Summer Flowers Walk - Sunday 19th June 2016 - photos above from Neale Fox
16 people gathered in the car park for Malcolm’s flower walk and it had hardly got started when Heather spotted a Red Kite disappearing over the Vale Border hedge. Unfortunately, when it reappeared it was much further away and at a greater height and could just be seen vanishing in the direction of Forestdale.
Our route took us along the border and through fields 1, 2 and 3 then into Great Field, Stevens Walk, David’s Crook and back to the car park. Pyramidal Orchids were appearing in all the fields and a few Common Spotted Orchids were found in Field 3, Great Field and Field 2 (just outside Jubilee Plantation where one was found last year). In Steven's Walk the Dryad’s Saddle fungus had returned and one section was about 18 inches across.
Plants: Wall Barley, Greater Plantain, Daisy, Dog Rose, Wild Clematis, Nettle, Goose Grass, Cow Parsley, Greater Yellow Rattle, Hogweed, Bulbous Buttercup. Meadow Buttercup, Creeping Buttercup, Goatsbeard, Cocksfoot, White Clover, Red Clover, Bullace, Pyramidal Orchid, Mousear, Catsear, Scabious, Black Medick, Birds’-foot Trefoil, Oxeye Daisy, Selfheal, Sainfoin, Bladder Campion, Marjoram, Crested Dog’s-tail, Perforate St John’s Wort, Germander Speedwell, Common Spotted Orchid, Hawkweed sp., Ribwort Plantain, Dandelion, Bracken, Rosebay Willowherb, Bramble, Dock, Knapweed, Common Sorrel, Garlic Mustard, Herb Robert, Herb Bennet, Hedge Woundwort, Sanicle, Primrose, Cinquefoil, Wild Strawberry, Comfrey, Sow Thistle, Mayweed sp.
Trees & bushes: Crab Apple, Turkey Oak, Field Maple, Dogwood, Whitebeam, Wild Privet, Hornbeam, Spindle, Elder.
Birds: Red Kite, Swift, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Wren.
Butterflies: Meadow Brown, Common Blue.
Fungi: Dryad’s Saddle, St George’s Mushroom (?).
Birds and Flowers Walk - Saturday 7 May 2016 - photos above from Neale Fox
30 participants followed a route from Greenhill Way, through David’s Crook, Bluebell Grove, Leafy Grove, Langford’s Way, Beech Grove, Noakes Way, East Gorse, West Gorse, Pool Grove, David’s Crook and back to the car park.
Blackbird, Jackdaw, Magpie, Robin, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Jay, Blackcap, Ring-necked Parakeet
Bulbous Buttercup, Dog Violet, Primrose, Wood Anemone, Garlic Mustard, Dogs Mercury, Lesser Celandine, Cowslip, Wild Strawberry, Ground Ivy, Greater Yellow Rattle, Germander Speedwell, Lesser Stitchwort, Ribwort Plantain, Black Medick, Yellow Archangel, Wood Sorrel, Toothwort, Herb Robert, Wild Arum, Hairy Bittercress, Bluebell (blue and white versions), Bracken, Goldilocks Buttercup
Trees & Bushes
Field Maple, Sycamore, Wayfaring Tree, Mirabelle Plum, Blackthorn, Beech, Hazel, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut, Oak, Bird Cherry, Wild Cherry, Gorse, Honeysuckle, Raspberry, Rowan
Also St George’s Mushrooms and Orange-tip Butterfly.
Spring Walk - Sunday 3
April 2016 - photo above from Mark Hemley
About 30 people joined the walk which began by travelling along Vale Border in the car park field where we saw the only butterfly of the day – a male Brimstone. Heather talked about the Blackthorn and Bullace bushes before we crossed the second field to look at Dog Violets. In field 3 Hornbeam, Whitebeam, Red Osier Dogwood and Common Dogwood were seen. The route continued through Broad Walk, Beech Grove, East Gorse, Leafy Grove, Bluebell Grove, David’s Crook, and back to the car park. As the members of the party began to go their separate ways a Buzzard soared over the nearby “birdy” estate.
Flowers – Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Wild Arum, Gorse, Wood Sorrel, Primrose, Wild Clematis, Dog’s Mercury.
Trees/bushes – Blackthorn, Bullace, Elder, Silver Birch, Hornbeam, Whitebeam, Red Osier Dogwood, Common Dogwood, Oak, Sweet Chestnut, Ash, Hazel, Sycamore, Larch, Scots Pine, Yew, Buddleia, Mirabelle Plum, Elm
Birds – Magpies, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Ring-necked Parakeet, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Pheasant, Blackbird, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker.
After the others had dispersed Heather and I walked back across the wood and saw several Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and a Song Thrush. After we separated at Langford’s Way I walked down towards Courtwood Lane and had wonderful views of the white squirrel at the junction with Beech Grove. (We had looked for him on the walk but he could not be spotted.)
Photos above from Neale Fox
Photos left and below from Mark Hemley - sent in via DropBox
Rain at the end of August and beginning of September produced many fungi but also encouraged slugs which quickly destroyed the fungi. This was repeated several times before about 35 people joined us for the fungus walk on 11th October in fine weather.
Preliminary work had pin-pointed the positions and made initial identifications of many mushrooms, brackets and jellies but some species we saw last year were not found though this was offset by the addition of a few new species.
We began in Greenhill Way with the intention of moving at a good pace from one known fungus to the next but inevitably discussions about each one and requests to identify other fungi found by the participants modified our plan and we had to increase speed to keep to the intended two hour limit. I apologise to those who had been promised a “leisurely stroll”!
Our agreed list - see below - appears to contain 70 species. I must thank Tony Fleccia for his work in spotting and producing identifications for the more obscure species. We had previously found and identified Crested Coral in two places but were surprised when a host of them appeared under our feet at the edge of Linden Glade. We had not seen them even two days before when Tony and I walked the whole route. These coral fungi are initially white but by the time of the walk they had become a grey-brown colour, emphasising why a fungus you find on a walk will not always match pictures in a field guide.
We knew of several Stinkhorn “eggs” and I had hoped one or more might have sprouted to their malodorous full size but that hope was unfulfilled.
It is not unusual to find “green oak” showing the green effect produced by a fungus but it is much less usual to see the culprit in full growth. This is the Green Elfcup fungus which I had seen only once before so I was pleased when I was able to show a specimen on the walk in Langford’s Way.
I hope during October and November that many people will be
spending their time peering into vegetation, under logs, behind tree stumps, on
fallen wood, and in grasslands, and making an attempt to put an identification
to a few of the fungi they find.
Let us know how you get on!
The gallery below shows the 3 species mentioned in the report and a variety of other fungi seen on the walk. Many thanks to Neale Fox and Mogens Holmen for the photographs below and the group shot above.
Fungi seen October 2015.pdf
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Minbeast Hunt - Wednesday 19th August 2015 - led by Roger Hawkins & Vic Wallace - photos above by Linda Morris & those in the gallery below by Linda Morris and Tony Flecchia
This very successful event was attended by more than 25 adults each of whom was accompanied by at least one child. After a brief introduction from Roger & Vic, all the children were issued with collecting tubes and set off around the car park field to see what could be found. With better hearing than us oldies, almost all were able to find the chirruping grasshoppers and crickets and with better vision they could even count the spots on the tiniest of ladybirds.
To finish the session we all walked up into David's Crook to look for butterflies on the marjoram patch and to beat the hedgerows on the way to knock the minibeasts lurking there onto a catching sheet.
Species collected and identified included: a frog; many spiders; butterflies - Common Blue, Meadow Brown & Gatekeeper; Six-spy Burnet Moth; Meadow Grasshopper (males & females); Roesel's Bush Cricket (males); ladybirds - Seven-spot & Sixtteen-spot; Orange Ladybird larva; Green Sheildbug (nymphs of various sizes); Hairy Sheildbug (adults and Nymphs); green beetle - Oedemera lurida, Harvestman.
(Photographs of all species can be found on the Fauna page of this website.)
Bat walk & moth
trap - Thursday 30 July 2015 - photos above by Neale Fox and blue moon and panoramas below by Linda Morris
Around 27 people gathered in the car park by 9.00pm. While I was telling Malcolm that it was possible that someone would come to lock the gates, Linda said that the gentleman had arrived and wanted the cars to leave. After some discussion I persuaded him that we had keys and would be sure to lock the gates when we left. While Malcolm set up his moth trap and waited for darkness to fall, the rest of us trudged up the hill and into Great Field where a Roe Deer stood watching us before trotting across towards Stevens Larch. We stopped just before entering the top of Langford’s Way and for the next 20 minutes listened to the noise of bat detectors (we had 3) as single Pipistrelles flew over our heads. We could see them against the sky as they flew by. On the way back to the car park one of the party queried my Scots accent and asked where I came from. It turned out that we were both from Edinburgh and both had studied at the university. He was also a Friend of Croham Hurst. At the moth trap Malcolm showed pictures of various moths then opened the trap within which there was a good collection of the smaller moths, with more arriving. Malcolm identified Ruby Tiger, Hebrew Character, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Marbled Minor, Riband Wave, Common Footman, Light Brocade, Flame Shoulder, Small Magpie, Clay Wainscot, and Green Carpet. As the party began to break up and disappear a July Highflyer was identified on the edge of the trap and a Least Yellow Underwing settled nearby - 13 species in a relatively short space of time. In addition, there were at least two calling Tawny Owls – one from the direction of Vincent Avenue and the other somewhere towards Stevens Larch.
There are photographs of some more of the moths in the Night Flying Moths gallery on the Fauna page.
18 people took park on the butterfly walk. As this is the start of the Big Butterfly Count we took particular notice of the insects seen in the first 15 minutes. They were Small White, Meadow Brown, and six-spot Burnet Moth all seen in the car park field, plus Ringlet, Marbled White and Gatekeeper found just inside Field 2 outside the Jubilee Plantation. On the Buddleia opposite the other end of the Jubilee Plantation we managed to see a Comma and a Silver-washed Fritillary, but had a much closer view of the Fritillary just before we entered David's Crook where a clump of bramble was visited also by Large Skipper, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Gatekeepers. While walking up the slope in David's Crook towards the top seat we stopped at the small patch of Marjoram which is now showing flowers. Here there were Small Skippers, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets. In Linden Glade the remaining bramble flowers attracted Commas, Meadow Browns, Small Skipper and another glorious Silver-washed Fritillary. Continuing along West Gorse we found a Speckled Wood on its territory just as we reached the Farleigh border path. A Large White was also seen in this area. On East Gorse we found a Red Admiral, initially on the path, but it moved and settled on a less than salubrious pile of dog poo where it was presumably seeking nutrients. We continued down The Wend towards Langford's Way and stopped at the flowering Buddleia where Comma and Large White were the most obvious butterflies but there were brief visits from both Silver-washed Fritillary and a White Admiral. Our route took us along Langford's Way, through Gt Field, Great Hill (Field 3), around the Centenary Plantation to avoid a dangerous broken Ash branch suspended above a narrow path, into Vale Meadow (Field 2) then back to the car park - without adding any new species.
In the absence of the expected leader I led the walk on which we had ten people. Michael Elmer drew people’s attention to possible problems with ticks and recounted a tale of friends who had been affected by tick-borne Lyme disease. A new grass path across the car park field had been created by the grass cutters (this is not shown on the map on the display boards). When Heather investigated this in the previous week she found a Bee Orchid. When we checked before the walk we were able to find more, raising the total to five Bee Orchids. Many Pyramidal orchids were appearing in the fields and a couple of Common Spotted orchids were seen outside Jubilee Plantation in Field 2. In David’s Crook we compared the yellow flowers of Tormentil and Cinquefoil, and nibbled a few Wild Strawberries. In all the grass areas fluttered Meadow Brown butterflies and a few unidentified grass moths were seen. A Broad-leaved Helleborine, thought to have been destroyed by Roe Deer, had revived and was seen outside the Centenary Plantation. In the strip of woodland between Fields 3 and 2 we saw a couple of White Helleborines (now going to seed) and admired the extensive badger sett. On Vale Border we identified a Buckthorn bush but could not find any Brimstone butterfly caterpillars. After adding Hogweed to the list we got back to the car park one and a half hours after starting out.
Orchids: Five Bee Orchids, scores of Pyramidal Orchids, two Common Spotted Orchids (one of which had a Crab Spider with a fly), Broad-leaved Helleborine, White Helleborine.
Trees & Bushesin flower: Buckthorn, Dogwood, Dog Rose.
Other Plants: Wall Barley, Cocksfoot grass, Crested Dog’s-tail grass, Common Sorrel, White and Red Clover, Greater Yellow Rattle, Bulbous Buttercup, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Field Bindweed, Bladder Campion, Self-heal, Common Nettle, Bramble, Cleavers (Goose-grass), Russian Comfrey, Wild Strawberry, Tormentil, Cinque-foil, Goatsbeard, Marjoram, Germander Speedwell, Black Medick, Wood Spurge, St John’s Wort, Hogweed, Scabious.
Fungi: Dryad’s Saddle.
Insects & Spiders: A grass moth, Hoverflies, Meadow Brown butterflies, Soldier Beetle, Crab Spider.
& Flowers Saturday 2nd May 2015 - photographs above by Neale Fox and Ian Frost
Over 45 people attended and our route took us through Greenhill Way, across David’s Crook to Bluebell Grove, continuing along Leafy Grove and East Gorse to Noakes Way, then via Beech Grove and Langford’s Way to Stevens Walk, finishing by crossing to Centenary Plantation and back to the car park. The main purpose of the walk was to look at the bluebells and we were not disappointed. Following some unseasonably hot weather, the recent rain had brought the flowers out in an amazing display with some wonderful carpets of blue in the wood. Several bird songs were identified near the beginning of the walk but later the wood seemed almost silent and few birds were heard. When we reached Langford’s Way we pointed out the territory of the white squirrel and mentioned we had not seen it for some time. Inevitably one of the party then pointed high up in the trees where he could see the animal perched on a branch. We spent a good few minutes until most people felt they had seen the squirrel then we moved on to Stevens Walk where we saw the recently found Three Veined Sandwort and a vast number of the tiny Lilac Ivy-leaved Speedwell. Further on we examined the Dryad’s Saddle fungi re-appearing on the same tree stump where they have been seen for three or four years. Outside the Centenary Plantation were Ground Ivy and Germander Speedwell and in the plantation was a single specimen of White Helleborine orchid. We were back at the car park after almost exactly two hours. Species identified are listed below.
Birds - Robin, Blackcap, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay
Mammals - White Squirrel
Trees & Bushes - Ash, Yew, Sweet Chestnut, Hawthorn, Ivy, Blackthorn, Scots Pine, Larch, Silver Birch, Beech, Holly, Rowan, White Poplar, Gorse, Hazel, Honeysuckle, Bird Cherry, English Oak, Turkey Oak, Wayfaring Tree, Elder
Flowers - Lilac Ivy-leaved Speedwell, Dogs Mercury, Cow Parsley, Cuckoo Pint, Bluebell inc white version, Common Nettle, Burdock, Goldilocks Buttercup, Bulbous Buttercup, Wood Avens (Herb Bennett), Cleavers (Goosegrass), Wood Dog Violet, Common Dog Violet, Forget-me-not, Dandelion, Ribwort Plantain, Wood Sorrel, Greater Stitchwort, Germander Speedwell, Hairy Bittercress, Curled Dock (Identified after the walk), Bracken, Fern, Common Figwort, Yellow Archangel, Wood Spurge, Wild Strawberry, Common Hogweed, Three Veined Sandwort, Cowslip, White Helleborine, Ground Ivy.
Photograph below by Neale Fox shows us all returning to the car park at the end of our walk.
Michael Elmer's Bird walk - Tuesday 21st April 2015
Michael Elmer had arranged to bring his local bird group over for a walk starting in Selsdon Wood so I decided to join them. As we started away from the car park we spotted a pair of Sparrowhawks soaring above the edge of the wood. We continued up to Farleigh Border, through Broom Path and David's Crook to Pool Grove and Linden Glade, along West Gorse and the Gorses, then on to stop by Rob Sowter's bench where we had a word with John Sinclair who is tidying up the edge of the plot before fencing and re-planting. Michael suggested taking Baker Boy Lane so we followed that to the top where I had warned them to look up to the sky. We immediately found a pair of Buzzards! At the Little Owl tree we spent a good few minutes without being able to find the owl and were just about to turn away when Michael said "It is sitting in the nest hole!" We then stayed a lot longer admiring the owl where it could get the sun but was out of the breeze. I took them round Farleigh Court Road then started following the track leading across the golf course towards Frith Wood. I heard a snatch of song and got them to stay quiet while I confirmed it. It was a singing Lesser Whitethroat!
Birds: 2 Sparrowhawks, Kestrel, 2 Buzzards, Little Owl, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, 3 Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Ring-necked Parakeet, Sky Lark, Swallow, Starling, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Lesser Whitethroat, Grey Heron, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker
Butterflies: Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tip
Trees & Bushes: Wild Cherry, Oak, Blackthorn, Downy Birch, White Poplar, Holly, Laurel, Larch, Gorse, Hawthorn, Ash, Hazel, Buddleia, Spindle, Horse Chestnut
Flowering Plants: Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Cowslip, Dandelion, Wild Strawberry, Dog Violet, Wood Dog Violet, Honeysuckle, Primroses, Lesser Celandine, Cuckoo Pint, Cow Parsley, Hogweed, Garlic Mustard, Cleavers, Bramble, Green Alkanet, Ivy, Greater Stitchwort, Herb Robert, Herb Bennet, Periwinkle, Speedwell, White Deadnettle, Wood Sorrel
Fungi & Slime Moulds: Birch Polypore, Lycogale epidendrum – Wolf’s Milk
Thanks to Linda Morris (left) and Neale Fox (right) for the photos above and to Linda for the photo of the Cowslips behind the toilet block (below).
On this lovely spring day about 35 people joined us on our walk to spot the signs of spring. Heather led the walk supported by Ted, Linda, Sandra and Karen (and, as always, Bella).
In the car park field we started with Green Alkanet near the entrance gate, Red Dead-nettle on the soil bund and a tall Cowslip clump by the toilet block. Moving on to Vale Meadow we added Daisy, Grape Hyacinth and a huge patch of Cowslips near the badger sett. Outside the Centenary Plantation we found scattering of Ground Ivy. While we walked in the fields we saw occasional Brimstone and Peacock butterflies. As we approached Avis Grove there was a large number of flowering Bluebells amongst the bramble and scattered ones were in flower elsewhere. Norway Spruce was seen at the entrance to Avis Grove where there was also a carpet of Periwinkle. A very large Yew tree was pointed out in Beech Grove and a large Laurel was beginning to show buds but they were not yet open. Lesser Celandine and Wild Strawberry were seen as we turned to move into The Wend where we eventually stopped to admire Rob Sowter's memorial bench. A flowering clump of the relatively insignificant Hairy Bittercress was found by the side of the path. Seeing the magnificent flowering Gorse made it difficult to realise that a few years ago there were hardly any Gorse plants in this area. In East Gorse a few flowering Wood Sorrel were found and we examined the only group in the wood of the strange Toothwort plants. In West Gorse we found the remains of the winter-fruiting Scarlet Elfcup fungus, and in Linden Glade we looked at the large female Holly and the Corsican Pine. Blackthorn in David's Crook was well into bud but not yet in flower and the Mirabelle Plum had its flowers now hidden in the opening leaves. Passing through the gap towards the Jubilee Plantation we briefly examined the old King Alfred's Cakes fungi on a log and saw the large amount of Dogs Mercury by the side of the path. That brought as back to the car park where the walk ended just under two hours after we started.
SPECIES SEEN (or heard)
Mammals: Roe Deer, Badger sett
Butterflies: Brimstones, Peacocks
Trees & Bushes: Ash, Elder, Norway Spruce, Laurel, Corsican Pine, Scots Pine, Larch, Yew, Holly, Gorse, Blackthorn, Mirabelle Plum
Fungi: Scarlet Elfcup, King Alfred's Cakes
Birds: Magpie, Nuthatch, Wren, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blackcap, Woodpigeon
Flowering Plants: Green Alkanet, Red Dead-nettle, Cowslip, Daisy, Grape Hyacinth, Ground Ivy, Ribwort Plantain, Bluebell, Periwinkle, Cuckoo Pint, Wood Anemone, Dog Violet, Primrose, Dandelion, Dogs Mercury, Hairy Bittercress, Wood Sorrel, Toothwort, Lesser Celandine, Wild Strawberry
Flower Guide Spring 2015.pdf
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Family Woodland Walk with Meike Weiser - Saturday 7th March 2015 (for families with children aged 5+)
The weather was so nice that many people must have decided to go further afield and only 2 families turned up. We nevertheless had a leisurely walk through the woods. Many thanks from the FSW to Meike for leading this walk.
photo by Linda Morris
Four visitors joined 3 members of the committee (Heather, Ted and Linda) + Bella on this walk.
Bold text shows that we spotted 29 of our 39 tree species. We also saw the white squirrel and several fungi.
I have to begin by apologising for, and correcting, two known errors in identifying fungi. Just inside the wood on Greenhill Way when “black fingers” were found I proclaimed them to be Dead Moll’s Fingers. Later examination of photos showed them to be Dead Man’s Fingers. Later we looked at what I had originally called Beech Jellydisc, though I had expressed some doubt. We have now decided it is a specimen of Leafy Brain.
While we were waiting for the last stragglers to arrive in the car park we found a solitary fungus growing in the grass by the toilet block, later identified as Coprinellus xanthothrix. This gave us some hope that the recent heavy rain had at last encouraged fruiting of mushroom-type fungi. Heather, Tony and I had been searching for and identifying fungi during the drier weeks but the majority were brackets and other types growing on wood. At least this gave us the chance to plan a route. After the rain, Candlesnuff had put in an appearance but in most cases was still very small. Mycena bonnets of various kinds were found in a number of places and Tony took some away for examination.
When we have agreed our list of fungi it will be added to the website. Here I can mention only a few highlights. Our pre-walk preparations had found three Beefsteak fungi in Noakes Way but a new one was added on a fallen tree stump in Linden Glade. A twig with Common Jellyspot also displayed a Flat Backed Millipede. Both Yellow Stagshorn and Small Stagshorn were seen. A classic violet-coloured Amethyst Deceiver was found in David’s Path, and nearby a Waxy Crust rolled back the bark on a small branch. In Middle Gorse the last remaining Olive Oysterlings were seen and the toppled solitary Weeping Bolete was still identifiable.
The walk was attended by 37 people, some of whom must have
had problems seeing most of the fungi. My apologies to anyone who feels they have missed out. With the wetter weather more fungi will
be appearing so take the chance to get out to look for them. You never know what you might find!
Addendum: Two days after the walk Tony and I returned to the log with the Dead Man's Fingers and found that it also carried Dead Moll's Fingers!
Armillaria tabescens, Ringless Honey Fungus - Ascocoryne sarcoides, Purple Jellydisc - Auricularia auricula-judae, Jelly Ear - Boletus badius, Bay Bolete - Bulgaria inquinans, Black Bulgar - Calocera cornea, Small Stagshorn - Calocera viscosa, Yellow Stagshorn - Coprinellus disseminatus, Fairies Bonnets - Coprinellus xanthothrix - Cudoniella acicularis, Oak Pin - Dacrymyces stillatus, Common Jellyspot - Daedaleopsis confragosa, Blushing Bracket - Daldinia concentrica, King Alfred's Cakes or Cramp Balls - Diatrype stigma, Common Tarcrust - Exidia nucleata, Crystal Brain - Fistulina hepatica, Beefsteak Fungus - Ganoderma aplanatum, Artists' Bracket - Ganoderma australe, Southern Bracket - Hyphodontia sambuci, Elder Whitewash - Hypoxylon fuscum, Hazel Woodwart - Inonotus nodulosus, Silvery Porecrust - Ischnoderma benzoinum, Benzoin Bracket - Laccaria amethystina, Amethyst Deceiver - Laetiporus sulphureus, Chicken of the Woods - Lycoperdon pyriforme, Stump Puffball - Marasmiellus ramealis, Twig Parachute - Marasmius oreades, Fairy Ring Champignon - Mycena abramsii, Summer Bonnet - Mycena citrinomarginata - Mycena crocata, Saffrondrop Bonnet - Mycena inclinata, Clustered Bonnet (Oak Stump Bonnet) - Mycena maculata - Mycena olida, Rancid Bonnet - Mycenella salicina - Nectria cinnabarina, Coral Spot - Panellus serotinus, Olive Oysterling - Phellinus sp., Rusty or Cinnamon Porecrust - Piptoporus betulinus, Birch Polypore (Razorstrop Fungus) - Rhytisma acerinum, Sycamore Tarcrust - Russula amoenolens, Camembert Brittlegill - Schizopora paradoxa, Split Porecrust - Scleroderma citrinum, Common Earthball - Skeletocutis nivea, Hazel Bracket - Stereum gausapatum, Bleeding Oak Crust - Suillus granulatus, Weeping Bolete - Trametes gibbosa, Lumpy Bracket - Trametes versicolor, Turkeytail - Tremella foliacea, Leafy Brain - Trochila ilicina, Holly Speckle - Vuilleminia comedens, Waxy Crust - Xylaria hypoxylon, Candlesnuff - Xylaria longipes, Dead Moll's Fingers - Xylaria polymorpha, Dead Man's Fingers
Hunt - Wednesday 20th August 2014 - report by Heather Govier (photos from Dawn Gibbons & Linda Morris)
Although not quite as sunny and warm as last year we had fine weather for our 2014 Minibeast Hunt as it stayed dry and there was little wind. Again, the event was well attended with 18 adults (mums, dads and grandparents) accompanying 25 children, and four FSW volunteers supporting the leaders Roger Hawkins and Vic Wallace. We were interested to discover that Roger has written books on the Ladybirds and Shieldbugs of Surrey - see below for full references.
A gazebo was set up in the overspill car park beside the new soil bund and guides and leaflets were put out for participants to take. We asked the visitors how they had found out about the event and most people said that they has seen it advertised on the web site, with a few mentioning posters in shops, libraries and the Forestdale Link newsletter. One mother said she had seen it advertised in the Green Croydon booklet.
Roger and Vic introduced the activity, demonstrating the use of the nets and distributing collecting tubes, then everyone dispersed around the car park field to see what could be found. One of the first insects spotted was a large female Bush Cricket, which led us, a merry dance but was at last caught in one of the nets. The children were amazingly sharp eyed and soon had lots of spiders, centipedes and insects in their tubes, which they took to Roger and Vince for identification.
Later the group walked past the Jubilee Plantation and up to David’s Crook to look for butterflies on the marjoram patch. As we passed Vincent Avenue the children were intrigued to see a huge vehicle drive past carrying massive logs to the Council log store. It was just as though we had laid on a special parade!
It was not really butterfly weather but there were a few Meadow Browns, Common Blues and Small Coppers. Bushes and bracken were beaten with a stout stick while a collecting screen was held below. This collected lots of shield bugs, spiders and flies and one exquisite little larva - that of the Orange Ladybird. Although the Burnet Moths already seemed to have finished this year the children did find a few of the empty chrysalises in the long grass.
Bush Cricket (female), Earthworm, Spiders (various species), Flies (various species), Meadow Grasshopper, Common Blue Butterfly, Small Copper Butterfly, Meadow Brown Butterfly, Common Earwig, Shield Bugs (various species), Harvestmen, Orange Ladybird larva, and Snails (various species).
Roger D Hawkins, Ladybirds of Surrey, 2000, published by The Surrey Wildlife Trust (The Surrey Wildlife Atlas Project)
Roger D Hawkins, Shieldbugs of Surrey, 2003, published by The Surrey Wildlife Trust in the Atlas Series
Twenty-five people joined the walk up to the end of Langford's Way where we waited for the light to dim and for bats to become active. Three people had bat detectors and they were soon finding occasional Pipistrelle Bats as they flew along the edges of the trees. As time went on bats sometimes flew a few feet over our heads and the noise from the detectors increased dramatically when more than one bat came close at the same time. Some of the bats seemed to be flying down to the tops of the grasses. When we had seen enough of the activity we returned to the car park where Malcolm Bridge had set up his moth trap on the grass in the extension to the car park. When we arrived, most of the group joined Malcolm who began his talk about moths illustrated by a series of large pictures of some species. Neale, Karen and I dealt with a old dumped wheelie bin within which someone had set a fire. We managed to find a water container and used it to put out the flames, setting a board on top to reduce oxygen.
We joined the others and listened to the end of Malcolm's talk. In the weather conditions, having had rain during the day though it was dry by the evening (but we did have one burst of thunder!), we did not expect much when the trap was opened. Sitting inside was an Orange Swift and on the outside of the trap a Cypress Pug was identified. A rather worn Flame Shoulder entered the trap and later a better specimen turned up. The trap was lying on a wide cloth on which a Straw Dot flitted, while a Dingy Footman remained stationary nearby. There was great excitement (particularly from Malcolm) when a large and colourful JerseyTiger Moth flew into view, fluttering from place to place until it settled and someone persuaded it to walk on to their hand. Eventually it was transferred to my thumb where it sat still until released. Malcolm identified a Light Brown Apple Moth which he said was originally from Australia. One or two yellow Brimstone moths fluttered around the trap and a Cream Wave moth settled on the cloth. The last moth, originally thought to be a Dot Moth, was re-identified as either Common Rustic or Lesser Common Rustic which are only separable by dissection. In addition, the light brought in a Hawthorn Shield Bug.
The last of us left the car park around 10.20pm.
Butterfly Walk Sat 19 July 2014
After overnight thunderstorms nine of us gathered in the car park hoping the rain would hold off. As we waited for possible latecomers Malcolm told us about Butterfly Conservation’s request for sightings of nineteen species of butterfly and exhorted us to send in our results. He also handed out copies of their leaflet on Gardening for Butterflies which included pictures of a dozen or so common butterflies.
Meadow Brown and Marbled White were the first species seen before we reached the edge of the wood where we turned left. Small Skipper, a solitary Ringlet, and the first of many 6-Spot Burnet moths were added, then we stopped by a nettlebed to look at the discarded skins of Peacock caterpillars. A yellow Crab Spider tried unsuccessfully to hide behind a dried stem of a nettle.
Between Jubilee Plantation and David’s Crook a large flowering Buddleia caused excitement when a bright orange Silver-washed Fritillary (see photo) fluttered into sight and a recently emerged Peacock landed on a flower spike. As we entered David’s Crook a 7-Spot Ladybird was seen on nettles and both Green-veined White and Gatekeeper butterflies appeared.
Malcolm picked an Oak leaf and showed us a blotch leaf mine made by the larva of a micro moth – Tischeria ekebladella.
Both male and female Brimstones were seen. In Linden Glade another Silver-washed Fritillary flew back and forth across the glade, often skimming our heads before settling momentarily on Bramble flowers (though most had already turned to fruit).
Following West & East Gorse, we continued along The Wend to reach the Buddleia where we saw two male and one female Silver-washed Fritillary, female Brimstone and our only Large Skipper.
One or two Long-horned Moths perched on the Scabious in the fields on our way back to the car park and one of the party added a Purple Hairstreak to the list.
Eleven butterflies and two moths identified, plus a Ladybird and a Crab Spider. Not even a spot of rain on a day when we thought we would be swamped, and we even had multiple good views of the gorgeous Silver-washed Fritillaries!
Flower Walk Sun 15
June 2014 - report by Ted Forsyth
The Great Green Yonder booklet had erroneously advertised Malcolm Jennings walk for 15th June so I went along to see if anyone turned up. I had three customers plus Ernie Thomason (one-time ranger for Selsdon Wood). We saw most of what was seen on Malcolm's walk on 8th June but the Grass Vetchlings were invisible - presumably the flowers do not last long. Additions to the species list seen last week included:
Grasses: Crested Dogstail, Cocksfoot, Wall |Barley
Flowers: Agrimony, Hairy St John's Wort, Herb Robert, Pignut, Nipplewort
Trees: Downy and Silver Birches, Elm, Norway Maple
Fungi: King Alfred's Cakes, Sulphur Tuft
Insects: Speckled Bush Cricket, 2- and 7-spot Ladybirds plus an as-yet-unidentified yellow moth.
Flower Walk Sun 8 June 2014 - report by Ted Forsyth
Malcolm Jennings walk followed Vale Border to Field 2 (Vale Meadow) then took the diagonal path across to the next line of trees, following the trees down to Vale Border again to continue into Field 3 (Great Hill). We walked by the trees between Fields 2 and 3 until we could enter the woodland to take an internal path. Exiting back into Field 2, we passed through Great Field (Field 4) and Jubilee Plantation to get into David’s Crook, then returned to the car park via Greenhill Way.
The highlights were a scattering of Pyramidal Orchids in Field 2, our first record of Bee Orchid near Murray Silverstone’s memorial seat in Field 2 and nearby our only Sainfoin. While in Great Field near the Jubilee Plantation fence we found several Grass Vetchling with a bright scarlet flower on top of a grass-like stem, and another in David’s Crook. Lesser Stitchwort was also seen by the Jubilee Plantation fence.
Flowers & other plants (54 species)
Bee Orchid, Birds Foot Trefoil, Black Bryony, Black Medick, Bladder Campion, Bluebell, Bramble, Bulbous Buttercup, Burdock, Cinquefoil, Cocksfoot Grass, Common Mouse-ear, Common Sorrel, Cow Parsley, Creeping Buttercup, Daisy, Dandelion, Dock, Dog Rose, Dog Violet, Enchanters Nightshade, Garlic Mustard, Germander Speedwell, Goatsbeard, Goose Grass, Grass Vetchling, Greater Plantain, Greater Yellow Rattle, Ground Ivy, Hedge Mustard, Hedge Woundwort, Hogweed, Lesser Stitchwort, Marjoram, Meadow Buttercup, Nettle, Old Man’s Beard, Oxeye Daisy, Perforate St John’s Wort, Pyramidal Orchid, Red Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Sainfoin, Sanicle, Scabious, Shepherds Purse, Sow Thistle, Spear Thistle, White Clover, White Helleborine, Wild Strawberry, Wood Avens, Wood Speedwell, Wood Spurge
Trees (24 species)
Ash, Beech, Blackthorn, Buckthorn, Crab Apple, Dogwood, Elder, Field Maple, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Hornbeam, Large-leaved Lime, Laurel, Mirabelle Plum, Privet, Red Osier Dogwood, Sessile Oak, Spindle, Sycamore, Turkey Oak, Wayfaring Tree, Whitebeam, Yew
Insects (4 species)
Brimstone butterfly egg, Harlequin Ladybird, Large White butterfly, Speckled Wood butterfly
I had six customers for the walk which was one of the most pleasant I have been on. There were lots of questions and several helped with identifications or pointed out something I was about to miss. One quiet young chap said at the end that he felt he could identify a few more bird songs than before we began.
My route followed Greenhill Way,
Vincent Avenue, Jubilee Plantation, David’s Crook, Pool Grove, West Gorse, East
Gorse, Noakes Way, Beech Grove, Langford’s Way, Great Field and back to the car
park. The highlights were hearing a
Treecreeper at the junction of Noakes Way and Beech Grove, watching a family of
young Wrens just inside the deer fence in Beech Grove, and seeing a White
Squirrel walking across Langford’s Way before it dashed up a tree then jumped
across to another tree. Among the things we recorded were:-
Birds (13 species)
Blackbird, Blackcap, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Jackdaw, Magpie, Ring-necked Parakeet, Robin, Treecreeper, Woodpigeon, Wren
Other animals (6 species)
6-spot Burnet Moth, an unidentified green
caterpillar on the Elm by Jubilee, Brimstone butterfly, Common Blue butterfly, Soldier
Beetles, White Squirrel
Trees (21 species)
Ash, Blackthorn, Cherry Laurel, Copper Beech, Downy Birch, Elm, Field Maple, Goat Willow, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Mirabelle Plum, Pedunculate Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Spindle, Sweet Chestnut, Sycamore, Turkey Oak, White Poplar, Wild Cherry
Flowers & other plants (28 species)
Black Medick, Bracken, Bramble, Bugle, Bulbous Buttercup, Common Sorrel, Cow Parsley, Creeping Buttercup, Dog’s Mercury, Fern, Germander Speedwell, Goosegrass, Gorse, Greater Stitchwort, Greater Yellow Rattle, Ground Ivy, Hogweed, Ivy, Lesser Stitchwort, Meadow Buttercup, Nettle, Raspberry, Red Clover, Rosebay Willowherb, Toothwort, Wild Clematis, Wild Strawberry, Yellow Archangel
Fungi (1 species)
Bluebell Walk Sat 3
May 2014 - report by Ted Forsyth - photographs below by Lenny Burns
On a bright and sunny May morning 30 people gathered in the car park. With Heather and Ted leading the way we walked up Greenhill Way, turning left at the Friends’ seat, then past Jubilee Plantation into David’s Crook to reach Bluebell Grove. After walking the full length of Bluebell Grove we followed Leafy Grove, Noakes Way, Beech Grove, Courtwood Grove then followed Broad Walk back towards the car park taking almost exactly two hours in total. Apart from the bluebells we tried to point out and identify anything we saw. With 30 people strung out along paths it is possible species identified at the back might not have been seen by those at the front. The following lists may not contain everything seen today.
Trees (20 species)
Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Buckthorn, Copper Beech, Elm, English Oak (Pedunculate Oak), Field Maple, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Larch, Mirabelle Plum, Rowan, Silver Birch, Sweet Chestnut, Sycamore, Wayfaring Tree, Whitebeam, Yew
Flowers & other plants (30 species)
Bracken, Bramble, Bugle, Bulbous Buttercup, Cleavers (Goose Grass), Common Mouse-ear, Common Sorrel, Cow Parsley, Daisy, Dandelion, Dog Rose, Dog Violet, Early Purple Orchid, Germander Speedwell, Gorse, Ground Ivy, Jack in the Pulpit (aka Lords & Ladies, Wild Arum, Cuckoo Pint etc), Male Fern, Nettle, Red Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Sanicle, Sheep’s Sorrel, Wild Clematis, Wild Strawberry, Wood Anemone, Wood Sorrel, Yellow Archangel, Yellow Pimpernel, Yorkshire Fog (grass)
Animals (13 species)
Blackbird, Blackcap, Brimstone butterfly, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Magpie, Peacock butterfly, Ring-necked Parakeet, Robin, Song Thrush, Squirrel (albino Grey=white), Wren
In trying to look at the differences between Hawthorn and Midland Thorn you can compare the leaves. When we did this in Courtwood Grove, a bush, which by its leaves should have been Hawthorn, happened to be carrying one of last year’s berries. When this was examined it contained two stones which is a characteristic of Midland Thorn. It was presumably a hybrid between the two species. The Hawthorn’s botanical name is Crataegus monogyna, the latter part of which means one ovary – hence one stone.
Bluebells were still giving a good display in many parts of the wood but the Wood Anemones were down to ones and twos. Wood Sorrel, often in flower at the same time as Wood Anemone, seems to be late this year.
Spring Walk - Sunday 13 April 2014 - report by Ted Forsyth
Our extra walk on Sun 13 April for Bluebells and other flowers was attended by 11 people. I pointed out the Copper Beeches on the horizon as we began by walking to the top of Field 2 to see the patch of Cowslips, where there was also a solitary Speedwell. We then entered Great Field to find more Cowslips and continued via Stevens Walk to David’s Crook. On the way we identified Wild Arum, Dog’s Mercury and Lesser Celandine. In David’s Crook a clump of Primroses nestled at the base of the slope. Near the Mirabelle Plum we found Ground Ivy, a lot more Speedwell, and looked at the Wild Strawberry while we discussed the details which would identify Barren Strawberry (though we did not find any). Peacock and Comma butterflies were seen here. Amongst the Blackthorn at the top of the slope Wren and Blackcap were singing. Ribwort Plantain was pointed out. In Bluebell Grove we were faced with a sea of Wood Anemones and Bluebells and also identified Dog Violet and Wood Sorrel, though the latter unfortunately was not in flower. A Downy Birch was by the side of the track along which there were many small Rowans and an occasional Beech showing young green leaves. King Alfred’s Cakes fungi were seen on a fallen log.
A route along Leafy Grove and down Noakes Way brought us to Beech Grove where Blue Tit, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were in song. When we reached Langford’s Way I decided to show where the white Squirrel and Treecreeper were seen recently. As we stopped I heard a Treecreeper calling and someone managed to point it out to the others of the group. As I listened to a Song Thrush, Linda found the White Squirrel sitting stationary in the fork of a tree.
On crossing Langford’s Way into another part of Beech Grove we stopped to look at a small Bird Cherry which had a few flowers high up. Deeper into the wood a large Wild Cherry was in full flower and stood out like a beacon. On turning into Court Wood Grove we examined a Garlic Mustard (Jack-by-the-Hedge) but there was no sign of Orange Tip eggs. At the bend in the track several Early Purple Orchids were in flower. While continuing along Court Wood Grove we compared the different leaves of Common Hawthorn and Midland Thorn.
Returning to the car park via Broad Walk we heard Great Spotted Woodpecker calling and, finally, a Jackdaw flew over when we reached the cars.
Luckily the day was fine - a rare event this February - and about 30 children plus accompanying adults met by the Bear ready for the adventure. The second Family Woodland Adventure in Selsdon Wood was again very well attended with over 40 people. The weather was kind and in full sunshine we wandered up the hill and through the woods locking for animal tracks and trails, following badger tracks, finding snail shells, feathers and nibbled nuts, children investigated nests and woodpecker holes, and climbed and balanced on fallen trees. We set up camp in David's Crook, and while some families helped to split the firewood with a mallet and bill-hock others foraged for the perfect stick to toast a marshmallow over the small fire in the fire dish. Despite the muddy conditions it was another successful event.
In a period of several stormy weeks we were really lucky to time things just right and have a dry and relatively calm couple of hours for our walk. Only one hardy soul turned up to accompany 3 of the Friends with another regular walker joining us for a little way. It was a shame there were not more takers but folks could hardly be blamed for staying indoors given the uncertain weather and the very muddy conditions.
We have 39 species of trees/shrubs in Selsdon Wood including 7 evergreens (see the listing below). Oak dominates the canopy and Hazel the understory. On our walk we were able to identify all of the evergreens and 17 of the deciduous trees which have clear distinguishing features visible at this time of the year. (Bold shows the species seen and the comment in bracket gives the key identifying features.)
Alder (woody round female catkins and dangling male catkins in high branches), Ash (stubby black buds and keys still attached), Beech (leaves still attached, slender buds), Birch (silver bark, lacy upper twigs), Blackthorn (thorns), Buckthorn, Buddleia, Cherry (shiny bark with horizontal slash lenticels), Bird Cherry, Chestnut (Sweet) (leaf litter, grooved bark with grooves spiralling), Crab Apple, Dogwood (red stems), Elder (distinctive pitted bark), Elm (distinctive lenticels on bark):, Field Maple, Gorse (low growing evergreen, yellow flowers), Hawthorn, Hazel (dangling catkins), Holly (distinctive leaves and berries), Hornbeam, Horse Chestnut, Larch (cones, Xmas tree profile, not evergreen), Laurel (large, glossy leaves), Lime, Oak (stubby brown buds, rounded profile), Turkey Oak (hairy buds), Pine (long needles, cones, distinctive profile), Plum, Poplar (rhomboid lenticels), Privet (semi-evergreen), Rose (hips still attached), Rowan, Spindle (distinctive pink berries), Spruce (Xmas tree profile), Sycamore, Wayfaring Tree, Whitebeam, Willow, Yew (bushy, leaves in the form of short flattened needles).
To find out more about the trees of Selsdon Wood download the tree spotters guides from the Flora page of this website.
The gallery below shows photographs taken on some of the walks in 2011-2013.
Hover over each photo for details or click to see full size.
Children's Woodland Fun - 10th November 2013 - led by & report by Meike Weiser - photo by Linda Morris
After days of rain, Sunday 10th November started with bright sunshine, which might be the reason for the fantastic turnout. More than 50 people, parents, grandparents, children and friends gathered in the car park for an afternoon of forest school inspired woodland fun.
Meike Weiser, Community Partnership Officer for LB Croydon, led the group up towards Stephen’s Larch, investigating trees and other autumn treasures along the way. Camp was established by a bench and everyone went out to gather kindling and fallen twigs for the marshmallow fire later. The large group was then split into two, with one group making French darts* to start a competition, the other trying their hands on friction fire lighting and finding and preparing the perfect marshmallow toasting stick.
George Campbell, scout leader at 2nd Croydon, kindly organised the French dart production, amply assisted by Henry Weiser, and soon sticks adorned with paper flies soared through the air across the field.
Children in the other group had a go at producing sparks using a fire steel before lighting a small fire in the fire dish. While the fire established, everyone went in search for a live twig and sharpened one end with a potato peeler. With the help of parents everyone soon had the perfect toasted marshmallow squashed between two cookies.
The groups swapped round and by the time the sun started to disappear behind the trees a large group of happy people descended back into the car park. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the aim of the event ‘to enable families to enjoy the outdoor with their children’ was clearly achieved.
For more information about forest school and nature play in the borough please contact Meike Weiser at firstname.lastname@example.org
* a French dart is a stick with a paper fly attached to the end used for a game of hitting the target - a ring of ivy on the ground.
Autumn Fruit & Fungi Walk - 13th October
2013 - led by Jane McLauchlin - report by Ted Forsyth - photo by Neale Fox
When I arrived in the car park this morning it was almost empty. When I noticed Jane arrive I joined her and two other people, followed by Neale and Karen, then a stream of others, eventually totalling 12 including Jane. After brief discussion we decided to brave the elements and set off up Greenhill Way to get under the trees - the rain was pouring down. For about an hour and 45 minutes we squelched up Greenhill Way and along David's Path - the usual route we have taken in previous years. Jane was recording what we found on a waterproof tablet using a pencil. By the end we had seen over 30 species and Jane was taking away more for later identification, probably raising the total to nearer 40. Among those we have never recorded in the wood before were Horn of Plenty (which Jane would probably eat tonight!), a Waxcap, a Woodwax, a Coral - some of which are still to be identified. When we stopped we were all thoroughly soaked but happy. (The 43 species seen are listed below left - thanks to Jane McLauchlin for this list.)
Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric), Armillaria gallica (Bulbous Honey Fungus), Armillaria mellea (Honey Fungus), Auricularia auricula-judae (Jelly Ear), Bolbitius vitellinus (Yellow Fieldcap), Clavulina cineria (Grey Coral), Clitocybe dealbata (Ivory Funnel), Clitocybe nebularis (Clouded Agaric), Colletotrichum liliacearum (Bluebell Spot), Collybia butyracea (Butter Cap), Collybia dryophila (Russet Toughshank), Collybia maculata (Spotted Toughshank), Coprinellus micaceus (Glistening Inkcap), Craterellus cornucopioides (Horn of Plenty), Crepidotus variabilis (Variable Oysterling), Exidia nucleata (Crystal Brain), Hygrocybe chlorophana (Golden Waxcap), Hygrophorus eburneus (Ivory Woodwax), Hypholoma fasciculare (Sulphur Tuft), Inocybe geophylla (White Fibrecap), Inocybe sp (a Fibrecap), Laccaria amethystine (Amethyst Deceiver), Lactarius pyrogalus (Fiery Milkcap), Lactarius subdulcis (Mild Milkcap), Lycoperdon perlatum (Common Puffball), Lycoperdon pyriforme (Stump Puffball), Marasmiellus ramealis (Twig Parachute) - on bramble stems, Meripilus giganteus (Giant Polypore), Mycena epipterygea (Yellowleg Bonnet), Mycena galericulata (Common Bonnet), Mycena pura (Lilac Bonnet), Phlebia radiata (Wrinkled Crust), Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Polypore), Rhopographus filicinus (no common name) - black patches on bracken stems, Rhytisma acerinum (Tar Spot) - on Sycamore leaves, Russula amoelens (a Brittlegill), Russula nigricans (Blackening Brittlegill), Schizopora paradoxa (Split Porecrust), Septoria cornicola (Dogwood leaf spot), Trametes hirsute (Hairy Bracket), Trametes versicolor (Turkeytail), Tricholoma lascivum (Aromatic Knight), Xylaria hypoxylon (Candlesnuff fungus)
Open Day Walks - 1st Sept
2013 - report by Ted Forsyth
The first walk at 12.30pm was attended by a couple who were both using sticks. We strolled up to the new seat, along past Jubilee Plantation, up past the Marjoram clump in David’s Crook, across one of the grass paths then back along Greenhill Way to the gazebos. We discussed Ash dieback disease, pointed out the Hemp Agrimony in Jubilee & its association with butterflies, mentioned the history of our association with the plantation and the 250 tree whips we have planted and the 60 planted by the Brownies, noted the Buddleia opposite the Jubilee, identified most of the trees and bushes leading up to the Marjoram, added in some tales about finding Brown Hairstreak butterfly eggs on Blackthorn (unfortunately not in Selsdon Wood), found a Meadow Brown butterfly in David’s Crook and several distant flying white butterflies, and generally responded to questions. The walk lasted exactly one hour.
The second walk began at 2.30pm and followed the same route with five ladies including one young girl. With the help of their very sharp eyes we saw Small Copper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Brown Argus butterflies all near the Marjoram. I pointed out the smooth feel of a Hazel leaf and compared it with the sandpaper feel of an Elm leaf and mentioned he association of the tree with White-letter Hairstreak butterflies (which we have not found in the wood). I mentioned Purple Hairstreaks at the top of Oak trees feeding on aphid honeydew (many were surprised at butterflies being found at the tops of trees), and the elusive Brown Hairstreaks with males at the top of a high “master” tree, visited by females who then disperse to lay their eggs on young Blackthorn twigs. I mentioned a story I heard at a Butterfly Conservation AGM where a group in Oxfordshire knew they had the butterfly in a few 1km map squares, but when they searched for eggs they realised the butterflies were in most of the squares in their area. I also said that some of my friends search for the eggs on Bookham Common on first of January and usually find them. The sharp eyes of the group spotted a scattering of small red galls on the leaves of a Field Maple and when we examined them more closely we found a larger second type like a very small marble (both unidentified). There were many questions which seemed to be answered to their satisfaction and the group were certainly interested. I also mentioned Silver-washed Fritillaries and Clouded Yellows and showed pictures of Wasp Spiders and Crab Spiders though we did not see any.
I had with me several identification sheets for butterflies, spiders, grasses, moths and caterpillars with the butterfly chart being the most useful as I was able to point out the butterflies we were seeing and to show the differences of male and female. I also talked about some trees having separate male and female, like Holly, which seemed to surprise some of the group.
Minibeast Hunt - Wednesday 21st August 2013 - report by Heather Govier
The weather was superb for this summer’s Minibeast Hunt, sunny and warm with not too much wind. The event was well attended with 18 adults accompanying 23 children, and four FSW volunteers supporting the leaders Roger Hawkins and Vic Wallace.
Roger introduced the activity, demonstrating the use of the nets and distributing collecting tubes, then everyone dispersed around the car park field to see what could be found. Later the group walked up Greenhill Way and back round through David’s Crook to look for butterflies on the marjoram patch.
Roger, Vince and FSW member, Tony Flecchia, were able to help
with the identification and at least 16 different species were found:
Spot Ladybird, 7 Spot Ladybird, 14 Spot Ladybird (yellow), Common Crab Spider,
Gatekeeper Butterfly, 6 Spot Burnett Moth (and many of the empty papery chrysalises in the long grass), Oak Bush Cricket (female), Ant Damsel Bug,
Meadow Grasshopper, Cuckoo Bee, Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly, Straw Dot
Moth, Common Blue Butterfly (female), Small Copper Butterfly, Meadow Brown Butterfly,
Common Earwig (male, female and juvenile).
Bats & Moths Thurs 8 August 2013 - report by Ted Forsyth - photo by Neale Fox)
Forty people came to participate in this dual event. 8.15pm was probably slightly too early and 8.30pm would have been better. We walked slowly up to the end of Langford’s Way and stopped in Leafy Grove to wait for some batty action. Every few minutes I switched on the detector in the hope of registering the presence of a hunting bat and continued doing this until a Pipistrelle Bat flew in front of the group and caused the detector to produce an appropriate noise. After several more flypasts we moved to the edge of the nearby Great Field and were rewarded by a continuous show by one to three bats which came very close to the group. We remained at that spot for some time to allow the light to fade so that the moth trap in the car park could catch something. Around 9.15pm we returned to the trap where Malcolm had overcome some difficulties and the moths had started to arrive. At least 30 people remained for more than an hour listening to Malcolm’s tales while we waited for more moths to enter the trap. Eventually the trap was opened and moths were identified. Malcolm has supplied a list of what was seen:-
Muslin (male), Dun-bar, Dark Umber, Orange Swift, Buff Arches, Currant Pug, Narrow-winged Pug, Yellowshell, Sallow Kitten, Coxcomb Prominent, Flame Shoulder, Nut-tree Tussock, Straw Dot, Bee Moth, and several Crambids, probably C.culmella.
Selsdon Wood Butterfly Walk Sat 20 July 2013 - report by Ted Forsyth
After a long period of hot weather we were faced with changed conditions and on an overcast day, with a cool breeze blowing, a dozen or so people gathered for the walk. On Greenhill Way we began to separate Meadow Browns from Ringlets and had many opportunities to repeat the process as these were the most numerous butterflies, though numbers were much reduced from totals on warmer days. Marbled Whites and Gatekeepers appeared in small numbers but that ended the list of species until the very end when one lady said she had seen a single Large Skipper. Many 6-spot Burnet Moths were seen but, surprisingly, we were not able to find any of the empty papery chrysalises which usually adorn the long grasses. It was a disappointment to miss species which were so visible earlier in the week, such as Comma, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary.
Flower Walk in Selsdon Wood led by Malcolm Jennings Sun 16 June 2013 - report by Ted Forsyth
The route was along Vale Border to Field 2, diagonally across to the next tree belt, through by the badger sett, diagonally across Field 3, up the edge of the trees and into Great Field, along Stevens Walk and back to the car park. About 20 people attended.Species seen:
Cow Parsley, Wall Barley, Rye Grass, Cocksfoot, Daisy, Dandelion, Bulbous Buttercup, White Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Broad-leaved Plantain, Hogweed, Red Clover, Goats Beard (Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon), Lesser Stitchwort, a Hawksbeard, Dog Rose, Greater Yellow Rattle, Meadow Buttercup, Oxeye Daisy, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Scabious, Common Sorrel, Germander Speedwell, Knapweed, Black Medick, Catsear, Bladder Campion, White Helleborine, Sanicle, Crested Dog’s-tail, Wood Avens, Yellow Archangel, Bluebell, Enchanter’s Nightshade, Dog Violet, Woody Nightshade, Bramble, Herb Robert, Black Bryony, Dogs Mercury, Wild Clematis, Perforate St John’s Wort, Wood Spurge, Cleavers (Goosegrass). Wood False Brome, Common Nettle, Bugle, Creeping Buttercup, Cuckoo Pint, Broad Buckler Fern, Bracken, Male Fern, Broad-leaved Helleborine.
Field Maple with galls and Harlequin Ladybird, Turkey Oak, Sessile Oak, Hornbeam, Privet, Elder, Hazel, Wild Cherry, Larch, Hawthorn, Sycamore, Wayfaring Tree.
30 people joined the walk which passed through Greenhill Way and David's Crook to reach Bluebell Grove where the Bluebells had at last produced a wonderful show. Relatively few bird species were encountered but throughout the walk the many Robins lazily released their mouthfuls of notes and Blackbirds threw in an odd phrase or two. The Song Thrush repeated its short song in case we had missed it the first time. Great Tits punctuated the chorus with their simple "teacher, teacher" calls.
In some parts of the wood the Wood Anemones had already gone to seed while elsewhere they still carpeted the ground with flower. Yellow Archangel displayed its bright yellow flowers while Wood Sorrel was still in leaf. In Courtwood Grove, where we paused to admire the Early Purple Orchids, there were many Bird Cherry bushes covered in flower. A brief exit from the wood at The Cascades allowed us to see the Herb Paris. Back in the wood we followed Broad Walk then crossed Great Hill to the Centenary Plantation for an unsuccessful hunt for five White Helleborines I had found earlier. Rather than inadvertently trample the plants we left and returned to the car park.
Hunt the Bluebell Walk 27th April 2013 - report by Ted Forsyth - photos by Andrew Smith
I walked through the wood to join the others at the car park and had almost reached there when a Swallow flew across skimming the tops of the grass.
About 30 people came to the Hunt the Bluebell Walk. We began by walking up Greenhill Way admiring the Wood Anemones and comparing the flowers when we found a clump of Wood Sorrel in flower. A small plant attempting to open whitish flowers was probably a Bittercress. Scattered groups of Dog Violets grew by the sides of the paths and a few yellow-flowered Lesser Celandine were seen. Yellow Archangel had not yet reached the stage of producing its yellow flowers and Garlic Mustard was showing only a few leaves. Bursts of song were heard from Robins, Wrens and Blackbirds and by the time we reached Farleigh Border the loud notes of a Mistle Thrush drifted down from the tree tops.
In East Gorse Raspberry canes by the path marked the route to the only group of Toothwort we know in the wood. Luckily several of these unusual parasitic plants had appeared over the past week.
A drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, a piping Nuthatch, and a Chiffchaff announcing its name, accompanied us as we walked to the Gorse Plantation where David described its history and explained the work we are doing in repairing benches. Via Leafy Grove, with a brief talk about our coppice area, we got to Courtwood Grove where the extensive carpet of Wood Anemones made a splendid sight. Continuing down Beech Grove, we got to the Early Purple Orchid area where we managed to find several almost in flower – some the usual purple colour and one or two which will obviously have white flowers. Opposite the Centenary Plantation Cowslips were in flower and David took the opportunity to talk about the Centenary Plantation. The walk passed the Jubilee Plantation where again the history and our recent work in clearing Wild Clematis was mentioned.
In various places we even managed to see a few scattered Bluebells but the full display probably needs another week.
Eleven intrepid enthusiasts braved the drizzle to be led by Meike Weiser (Croydon Community Partnership Officer), ably assisted by her son Henry, to identify the young growth of trees in Selsdon Wood. As so often happens on our walks, we only had to arrive at the tree belt between fields 1 and 2 to start finding plenty of twigs to look at. On the walk Meike helped us to identify the deciduous trees by following the steps from the ‘What’s That Tree’ chart which is summarised below:
A. Buds on opposite sides:
buds black – Ash
or buds fat & green – Sycamore
or buds small, flattened brown – Field Maple
or buds sticky – Horse Chestnut
or twig red – Dogwood
B. Buds on alternate sides:
twig thorny - twig red-brown – Hawthorn or twig grey-black – Blackthorn
or twig hairy: buds green – Hazel or buds brown – Elm
or twig plain: buds thin & pointed, sticking out – Beech or lying flat – Hornbeam
or twig zig-zagged – Lime
or twig is ridged – Sweet Chestnut
If none of the above:single end bud – Willow or end bud cluster – Common Oak
We also identified Yew, Larch, Norwegian Spruce and Scots Pine. We saw new Hazel catkins and found its tiny red female flowers. When looking along the top or east side of field 3 we found common or Pedunculate Oak and Turkey Oak with its hairy acorn cups. We finished, a little early, by looking along the south-east side of David’s Crook at White Poplar with rhomboid lenticels in its bark, an ancient Wild Cherry and a small clump of Alders. A very informative, if a little damp, morning. We all appreciated Meike’s expertise. Woodland Trust offer a useful pamphlet ‘Winter Twigs’ with coloured pictures at naturedetectives.org.uk.
Sunday 14th October 2012 - Discover Autumn Fungi and Fruit - with Jane McLauchlin
Armillaria mellea (Honey Fungus) - Auricularia mesenterica (Tripe Fungus) - Collybia dryophila (Russet Toughshank) - Collybia peronata (Wood Woollyfoot) - Coprinus micaceus (Glistening Inkcap) - Cortinarius triumphans (Birch Webcap) - Crepidotus sp (an Oysterling) - Daldinea concentrica (King Alfred's Cakes) - Diatrype disciformis (Beech Barkspot) - Hypholoma fasciculare (Sulphur Tuft) - Hypoxylon fragiforme (Birch Woodwart) - Lactarius quietus (Oakbug Milkcap) - Lycoperdon pyriforme (Stump Puffball) - Macrolepiota procera (Parasol) - Meripilus giganteus (Giant Polypore) - Mycena crocata (Saffrondrop Bonnet) - Mycena galericulata (Common Bonnet) - Mycena haematopus (Burgundydrop Bonnet) - Mycena pura (Pink Bonnet) - Mycena sp (tiny white one) - Mycena vitilis (Snapping Bonnet) - Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Polypore) - Polyporus leptocephalus (Blackfoot Polypore) - Polyporus squamosus (Dryad's Saddle) - Rhytisma acerinum (Tar Spot on Sycamore leaves) - Rutstroemia firma (Brown Cup) - Stereum gausapatum (Bleeding Oak Crust) - Stereum hirsutum (Hairy Curtain Crust) - Trametes versicolor (Turkeytail) - Trochila ilacina (Holly Speckle) - Vuilleminia comedens (Waxy Crust) - Xerula radicata (Rooting Shank) - Xylaria hypoxylon (Candlesnuff Fungus) - Xylaria longipes (Dead Moll's Fingers)
Our walks on the FSW Open Day on Sunday 2nd September were led by Ted Forsyth. Both walks went very well with about eight participants on each. In the first walk there was a family with a small boy who, every time Ted showed a berry, would ask "Is it edible?". It became a standing joke which all anticipated when the next fruit, berry or nut appeared. On the second trip there was a couple in which the young woman was deaf and her partner asked lots of questions and passed the answers on to her. They made a point of finding Ted later to thank him for the walk.
The route was Greenhill Way, Pool Grove, Middle Gorse, The Wend, Centenary, Jubilee - with items of interest pointed out along the way including the difference between Common Hawthorn and Midland Thorn in leaves and in berries, our single specimen of a Broad Leaved Helleborine and Raspberry canes in Middle Gorse. On the second walk a gent asked about the Oak trees near Centenary and the strange acorns. Ted explained that these were galls and discussed the differences between Pedunculate, Sessile and Turkey Oak and was able to show them the Turkey Oak in the gap to the next field.
Approximately 50 people, including many children, supported this event. At least six bat detectors were in use as we walked along the edge of Stevens' Larch but it was not until we entered Leafy Grove, by our coppice area, that the detectors began to respond to the presence of Pipistrelle bats. The bats could be seen as they sped above our heads or showed as silhouettes against the sky, causing much excitement. Meike Weiser's input was much appreciated (as was the loan of two of the detectors).
We walked back towards the car park where Malcolm Bridge had set up his moth trap, still hearing occasional bursts of sound from the detectors. We also heard an occasional call from a Tawny Owl. Once we were crowded around the bright light of the mercury vapour lamp Malcolm talked about moths and their habits and introduced local moth expert, Bernard Skinner. Moths frequently flew around the trap and some were quickly identified. At one point a large dark moth crashed through the group - an Old Lady Moth. The trap was sitting on a white sheet and several of the moths preferred to settle on this, making it easier for identification.
Moths recorded included: Dun-bar, Chinamark, Speckled Yellow, Common Swift, Orange Swift, Brimstone, Old Lady, Black Arches, Yellow Underwing, Mother of Pearl, Double Square Spot.
Try looking at the website www.ukmoths.co.uk to see what some of these species look like, or to identify any you find yourself.
Butterfly Walk Sat 14 July 2012 (15 attendees including 2 children) - report by Ted Forsyth
I walked across the wood to join the group and while passing through David's Crook during a sunny period I found more than a dozen Meadow Browns, a couple of Ringlets and a single Marbled White.
Once the walk began we saw several Meadow Browns on our way up to the wood, fluttering in the grass or perched on Knapweed. There were many Pyramidal Orchids in flower. As the rain fell we sheltered in the edge of the wood while Malcolm Bridge showed pictures of butterflies and mentioned some of their habits. In reply to a question about introduced species he regaled us with the story of the extinction of the British population of the Large Blue and its re-introduction using the Swedish sub-species. He told us the intriguing life of the caterpillar with its need to be taken into an ants' nest to be cared for by the ants and to feed on the ants' grubs. Another question related to changes in species in this country which he illustrated by reference to the Jersey Tiger moth which is now moving slowly north.
With a slight lull in the rain we continued our walk past the Jubilee Plantation and into David's Crook where we saw more Meadow Browns and several Ringlets. By the time we got to Linden Glade and had sheltered for a short period It was obvious that the rain was not going to stop so we reversed direction and returned to the car park.
While Malcolm's talk had been worthwhile it was a pity the weather had not been better as we had seen before and after the walk species such as Silver-washed Fritillary, Marbled White and White Admiral.
Photographs of this walk are included in the gallery above.
Species seen on Malcolm Jennings’ walk on Sunday 17 June 2012 - report by Ted Forsyth
The walk began along Vale Border until field 3 then up the side of the field, round the Centenary Plantation, across to Stevens Walk, round the Jubilee Plantation and back to the car park.
We started with Dog Rose, a possible Plum, Wild Clematis, Daisy, Black Bryony, Nettles and Cow Parsley. A large Red Admiral butterfly flew along the hedge and a Blue Tit perched at the top of a tree. Crab Apple, Wood Avens and Meadow Buttercup quickly followed, then a 7-spot Ladybird and a tiny green Weevil were found. Dock, Hogweed, Goatsbeard, White and Red Clovers, Ox-eye Daisies, Dandelion, Ribwort Plantain, Lesser Stitchwort, Greater Yellow Rattle, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Hawkbit and Elder in flower brought us to the end of the first field.
Quickly moving on to the third field, we turned right up the edge, noting Germander Speedwell at the beginning and Red Osier Dogwood and Privet in the hedge. Hornbeam and Whitebeam growing next to one another were compared. A few Long-horned Moths were seen and a Meadow Brown butterfly. Greater Plantain and Peforate St John’s Wort were identified, and the last of the White Helleborines was pointed out at the base of a Hazel.
Outside the Centenary Plantation we stopped to look at the only Broad-leaved Helleborine in the wood before moving across to Jubilee Plantation to look at the Yellow Irises in the pond. The common Dogwood was seen in the plantation. A few grasses were identified – Cocksfoot, Wall Barley and Crested Dog’s Tail. Some Pyramidal Orchids were beginning to open up and a Speckled Wood butterfly appeared. Cut-leaved Cranesbill was found. At a corner of the Jubilee Plantation we looked at the caterpillar of an Orange-tip butterfly on Garlic Mustard. Spear Thistle and a probable Sow Thistle were inside the plantation.
We then returned to the car park.
Discover Spring Birds Walk 13th may 2012 - report by Ted Forsyth
about eight of us gathered to begin the walk two Ring-necked Parakeets
and a Jackdaw flew over. As we walked up to the Farleigh Border the most
frequent song came from Blackbirds with Robin close behind. Smaller
numbers of Wren, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Song Thrush were
heard. Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard several times and one one
occasion made a brief appearance. In Beech Grove Blue Tits were seen at
a nest hole, including adults entering with food. Surprisingly, we did
not detect Nuthatch which suggests the timing of the walk should have
been earlier in the day.
While keeping eyes and ears open for birds, we also identified plants. Among those recorded were Yellow Archangel, Cuckoo Pint (Wild Arum), Stitchwort, Garlic Mustard. The clump of Toothwort was examined but the plants were well past their best. Towards the end of the first section of Beech Grove was a large Bird Cherry still showing some flower and nearby a smaller version seemed to be in full flower. Oak Apple Galls were found and photographed. In a couple of places we noted King Alfred's Cakes fungi.
Butterflies included Orange-tip (see photo above), Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Peacock. St Mark's Flies were abundant, flying in swarms with their legs dangling. One golden sheened Long-horned Moth (Adela reaumerella) was seen at rest on a bush.
We ended the walk by visiting the large group of Early Purple Orchids off Beech Grove near Broad Walk. While most of the plants were in the usual range of reddish-purple shades, there were several specimens which were pure white.
Photographs of this walk are included in the gallery above.
Bluebell Walk 28th April 2012
This walk, on a wet Saturday afternoon was led by Linda Morris, ably assisted by David Malins and Ted Forsyth. In spite of the weather, 7 non-Friends and 2 Friends joined us and the walk was expanded to include many other aspects of the wood as the bluebells could not really be seen at their best in the drizzle.
Photographs of this walk are included in the gallery above.
Walks in 2011
October 9th Fungi Walk with Jane McLauchlin and the Friends
About 25 people attended. The day was fine warm and cloudy and the weather had been dry. Species observed:
Fungus - Calocera viscosa, Yellow Stagshorn - Clitocybe nebularis, Clouded
agaric - Collybia dryophila, Russet Toughshank - Ganoderma australe, Southern
Bracket - Hypholoma fasciculare, Sulphur tuft - Hypoxylon multiforme,
Birch Woodwart - Lycoperdon perlatum, Puffball - Lycoperdon
pyriforme, Puffball - Marasmiellus ramealis, Twig Parachute - Marasmius
wynnei, Pearly Parachute - Megacollybia platyphylla, Whitelaced
Shank - Mycena pura, Lilac Bonnet - Phragmidium violaceum, purple
spots - Piptoporus betulinus, Birch Polypore - Psathyrella sp, a
Brittlestem - Rhytisma acerinum, Tar Spot - Russula atropurpurea, Dark
Red Russula - Russula cyanoxantha, Charcoal Burner - Russula
ochroleuca, Common Yellow Russula - Stereum hirsutum, Hairy Curtain
Crust - Stereum rugosum, Bleeding Broadleaf Crust - Trametes
versicolor, Turkeytail - Xylaria hypoxylon, Candlesnuff Fungus
July 23 9.15pm July Bat Walk & Moth Trap with Malcolm Bridge
On our July Bat Walk several bats were detected and seen flitting by but the highlight was our Moth Trap. Malcolm had caught a number of moths. He went on to show us photographs of moths we might see in the coming weeks. The most interesting was the Jersey Tiger moth that has extended its range from the coast to Crystal Palace. Tiger moths fly by day and night and could still be around in September.
June 25 Sat 10-12noon Summer Bird Walk with Ernie Thomason (Croydon Council Ranger)
Birds observed were: Swift, 3 Carrion Crow, Robin, Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Woodpigeon, Jay, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackcap, Magpie, Nuthatch and Greenfinch. We also saw Meadow Brown and Ringlet butterflies and one fungus, Chicken of the Woods.
May 1 Sun 11-1pm Bluebell Walk with Ernie Thomason (Croydon Council Ranger)
We had a beautifully sunny day for a walk in the country. There were about 19 in the party, including a family with two young children. Ernie took the group on quite a long meandering route through the wood. Bluebells were very much in evidence everywhere, but Ernie was able to show many other common and unusual species. Amongst them were Cuckoo Pint, Cuckoo Flower, Dock, Germander Speedwell, Holly (there are male & female Holly trees.), Greater Stitchwort, Periwinkle. Toothwort, Primrose, Figwort and Bugle. Around half-way the youngest of our walkers left us for their picnic but they had said they had been pleasantly surprised by the delights of Selsdon Wood and would come again. The group stopped by a Friends Working Party in the Gorse area. David Malins explained how they were cutting bracken and bramble to help the gorse seedlings that had sprung up after the felling of the crowded unsafe larch plantation. He hoped that they might join the FSW and come to help the Friends. Ernie then went on to find more flowers -Yellow Archangel, Foxgloves (not yet in flower), Early Purple Orchids and Herb Paris (our logo). In the Gorses are we also saw a number of minibeasts: Green Hairstreak, Orange Tip, Small White, Brimstone and Peacock butterflies and a Wolf Spider!
The walk finished in the car park at about 1.30pm. A few people stayed to look at more of the main bluebell areas. Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk and had learned something about English wildflowers or an area that they had not known before. It was good to see people not just from the immediate locality - there were visitors from Beckenham, Norwood and East Croydon - and several took leaflets about FSW and said they would contact the FSW email for more information as they were very impressed by what they had seen of the work of the FSW today (the signs and the work activities) and by what they had heard of FSW future plans.
April 17 Sun 12-2pm Spring Bird Walk with Ernie Thomason (Croydon Council Ranger)
This walk attracted a good turnout. Birds were the main target, largely identified by their songs or calis, including many Robins, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Willow Warblers do not always appear in the woods nowadays so we were pleased to discover two singing in the area where Rob Sowter has been restoring hazel coppice along The Wend. The regrowing Hazel may now be in a state to attract nesting Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, both of which nest on or near the ground. In Middle Gorse a Great Spotted Woodpecker had earlier been seen at a nest hole in a Birch tree but was not present when we looked at it. We usually take the opportunity to keep an eye on the plants which are coming up and found Common Figwort in places where we did not realise they grew. There was also an abundance of Blackthorn blossom. Unfortunately, after most people had left the car park, a Sparrowhawk circled overhead with its diagnostic flap, flap, flap, glide flight. The full list of birds seen is: 2 Robin,l 3 Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, 2 Jackdaw, 4 Great Tit, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Woodpigeon.
February 20 Sun 12-2pm Before the Buds Burst with Ernie Thomason (Croydon Council Ranger)
Ernie identified 23 trees - mainly by the shape and position of the buds and told us what each species could be used for. He found one Elm sapling - we can only wish it well. Hazel catkins and the first shoots of Bluebell and Wild Arum peeping through the soil were amongst the early signs of Spring. Birds observed were: 5 Blackbirds, Coal Tit, 4 Robins, 4 Woodpigeons, Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, 7 Blue Tits, Wren, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Dunnock, 2 Great Tit and 2 Jay.
January 22 Sat 12-2pm Winter Walk with Ernie Thomason (Croydon Council Ranger)
There was a good turnout for this walk the highlights of
which were the sounds of the Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and distant
views of a flock of Redwing high in the trees. Other bird species seen were:
Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird and
Summary of the Open Day Walks Sept 5th 2010 - report by Ted Forsyth
The first walk was nominally from 12.30 to 1.30pm and was attended by about ten people. The second, towards the end of the day, had a nominal time span of 3.00 to 3.45pm and had an attendance of approximately eighteen. Though the walks followed the same route there were some differences in the things I pointed out, possibly through distraction at the appropriate moment, and in the case of the second walk because I felt I was sprinting. Next year we should arrange the same time span for both walks.
Starting in the car park field I pointed out the large amount of Bramble and said that the experts reckoned there were around 400 kinds of bramble including hybrids – not something for amateurs to try to separate! In the hedge along the right side of this field there were Hazel, Ash, Wayfaring Tree and Dogwood.
On entering the woodland on Greenhill Way I pointed out Elder and Hawthorn. A Spindle with its pink fruits and a Wild Clematis (Old Man’s Beard) were shown. Two of the trees with winged seeds – Sycamore and Field Maple were found and later, at the far end of Vincent Avenue, they were compared with the third of the trees with winged seeds – Norway Maple. Norway Spruce was also in Vincent Avenue. On one of the walks we spotted a large Dryad’s Saddle fungus growing on a large piece of fallen timber. There was a large quantity of beechmast being crunched underfoot, having fallen from the Beech trees.
I had samples of the three Oaks and was able (with the first walk) to show the Sessile Oak (stalked leaves, no stalk on the acorns), Pedunculate or English Oak (no stalks on the leaves, long stalks on the acorns – also with galls in the example), and the Turkey Oak (deeply serrated leaves and acorns with whiskers) though we did not get to examine the trees.
Returning to Greenhill Way we found Wood Avens (Herb Bennett) and Enchanter’s Nightshade, two plants which are weeds in my garden.
Before exiting the woodland on to David’s Crook we saw a Cherry Laurel on the left. In David’s Crook the Blackthorn bushes had a heavy crop of sloes. I pointed out the two Scots Pine and a Larch at one end of David’s Crook, a Silver Birch at the other end and the White Poplar just before the entrance to Pool Grove.
In Pool Grove there was a Rowan showing its orange berries, and a
Sweet Chestnut covered in its spiky
husked nuts. By the old bird pool
there was a large female Holly with
a huge crop of berries, some of which were changing from green to orange, and
nearby is the only Small-leaved Lime
that I am aware of in the wood.
Continuing on the right hand part of West Gorse and then down East
Gorse, I showed the Raspberries
growing and fruiting all along the path edge. A large Wild Cherry,
with the distinctive horizontal corky bands on the trunk, was seen at the edge
of the path. On the right, where
there is an exit to Baker Boy Lane, we looked at the Horse Chestnut and remarked on its propensity for dropping large
branches unexpectedly – a habit it shares with Beech, possibly because of the
weight of the heavy branches rather than disease. Somewhere on this part of the track there was Rosebay Willowherb. I mentioned the clearing of Bracken and the regenerating of the Gorse, and tried to distinguish between
Bracken and Ferns. Following the curve of East Gorse, we
found Greater Plantain on the path
and a few examples of St John’s Wort,
Ragwort, Buddleia and Common Knapweed.
Fruit, berries, nuts, etc which we were able to see (though not always very numerous) included black Dogwood berries, obvious Elderberries, Brambles and Raspberries, a few black/green/red berries of Wayfaring Tree, and a single Yew berry on a tree in Vincent Avenue (though there are Yews all over the wood). At the bottom of Vincent Avenue is English Elm, which I did not mention – it may be worth examining in the summer for breeding White- letter Hairstreak butterflies, if there are any in the wood!
At the bend in East Gorse, we could have taken the short path which leads on to The Wend and down to Courtwood Lane. A hundred yards down this track there is a Crab Apple on one side of the path and a tall Goat Willow on the other. The Willow has a rather distinctive patterned bark and the Crab usually has fallen apples underneath. At the end of the walks, we noticed a tree in the hedge near the car park laden with a huge crop of apples. Close examination showed it to be a Crab – which could easily be pointed out on a walk.
When we found a straggly bit of Honeysuckle I mentioned that it was favoured by the White Admiral butterflies for laying their eggs but they would avoid magnificent big clumps of Honeysuckle. The brambles, when in flower, next to the old bird pool were attractive to a number of species of butterflies in the summer.
The route now entered The Wend and just before it came to the grassy area of Great Field we stopped to examine the Midland Thorn. On the first walk I had pulled off a berry and found that it contained a single stone which is usually a sign of a common Hawthorn. On the second walk we tried three more berries and found each contained two stones, so I am happy with the identification. We were able to compare the deeply serrated common Hawthorn leaves with the almost non-serrated Midland Thorn leaves. I am sure that elsewhere in the woods there may be hybrids between the two. I also mentioned that there are two Birches, Silver Birch and Downy Birch which also hybridise. We had a look at the Dryad’s Saddle fungus in Steven’s Walk but it was well past its best. We then returned to the car park.
Near the end of a walk, Beech and Copper Beech were pointed out in the hedge between the fields.
Even though they were long gone, I mentioned the 100 or so Pyramidal Orchids which appear at the top of the car park field – it might whet the appetite of people who would normally march up Greenhill Way without noticing the orchids partially hidden in the long grass.
Bird Walk Sunday 16th May 2010 - report by Ted Forsyth
The walk was attended by about fifteen people and recorded the following species (and a few others): Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wren, Collared dove, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit (including entering nest box C), Great Tit, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Greenfinch. The Garden Warbler has not been seen in the wood in recent years and may simply be passing through to another destination. On this occasion it obliged by remaining in the branches above our heads and singing continuously.
Helped by Ernie Thomason we identified plants - Pignut. Sanicle, Wood Sage. Germander Speedwell, Heath Speedwell, Cow Parsley, Greater Stitchwort, Raspberry, Gorse, Buddleia, St John's Wort, Wild Strawberry, Garlic Mustard (one plant had three Orange Tip butterfly eggs attached). We were also shown a large Hornbeam. We looked at the Early Purple Orchids off Broad Walk, including five pure white specimens. A recent count found over 120 specimens in this area.
Selsdon Wood Walks etc pre
- info from the Log Books 2002-2008 of Ernie Thomason, Selsdon Wood Park Ranger
11th October - Possible Fungi Walk with Jane Mc 12 noon
7th September - Possible FSW Open day - to be confirmed
6th September - Possible Tree walk 10am
30th August - Bat & Moth Night - John Humpherys + I child
26th July Butterfly walk 10am
5th July - Summer Wildflower walk 12 noon
14th June - Summer Bird Walk 10 am
3rd May - Dawn Chorus - 5 am (15 people)
26th April - Wildflower Walk (70-80 people)
29th September - Before the Leaves Fall - Winter tree ID walk 12 noon
23rd June - Summer Bird Walk 10 am
12th May - Spring Wildflower Walk 12 noon
8th May - Selsdon Wood to Farleigh -long alk through surrounding countryside led by Country Park Ranger, Tom Saunders
7th May - Bluebells & Orchids led by Malcolm Jennings
21st April - Dawn Chorus - 5 am
24th February - Before the Buds Burst - Winter Tree ID 12 noon (16 people)
20th January - Winter Bird walk 10 am
16th September - Late Tree ID Walk 12 noon
19th August - Bat & Moth Night 8.00 pm (booking required)
22nd July - Summer Wildflower walk 12 noon
24th June - Summer Bird Walk 10 am
31st May - BCTV putting in steps on Addington Border 10 am
17th - 18th May BTCV laying French Drain on Greenhill Shaw path 10am
29th April - Spring Wildflower Walk 12 noon
22nd April - Dawn Chorus - 5 am
18th February - Before the Buds Burst - Winter Tree ID 12 noon (25 people)
21st January - Winter Bird walk 10 am (27 attended)
21st August - Bat & Moth Night 8.30 pm - 11.30 pm - limited numbers
3rd August - Male seen by lady dog walker naked doing a sexual act on himself - no description - called Addington Police
19th June -
Workday with SWAG 10.30 am to trim vegetation along walking routes & from
around seating - contact John
12th June - Summer Bird ID walk 10 am - Join the Park. Warden for this 1½ Hour walk and Search for feathery summer residents in, the woods. Bring Binoculars and Bird I.D Book if you have them.
1st May - Wildflower Walk - 12 noon (22 people) - Come and enjoy the carpets of bluebells, wood anemones and yellow archangel and many other woodland plants as spring has sprung. Join the Selsdon Wood Park Ranger on this 1½ Hour walk around the wood and discover the history & folklore behind some of them. Please bring Flower I.D book if you have one.
24th April - Springtime Walk through SW/Loop/Kingswood 10am 3 hour walk 5 miles with Marion Davis - Discover Spring’s new growth - fresh new leaves and glorious spring flowers.Stroll for 3 Hours, 5 miles through Selsdon Woods along part of the London Loop Section 4, into King's Wood and back. Join Marion Davis (Friends of King's Wood)
24th April - Dawn Chorus - 5 am (21 people) - Tune into spring by joining the Selsdon Park Ranger on this special early morning walk and listen to the birdsong in this National Trust wood as it starts to come alive with the different songs and calls of the many species that live there. The Walk lasts about 1½ Hours.Please bring Bird I.D Book & Binoculars if you have them.Please Note: There is no Public Transport runs in the area this time in the morning
21st February - Winter Tree Walk 12 noon (36 people)
24th January - Winter Bird Walk 10 am (30 people)
6th October - From Dwarf to Giants talk about tree ecology 2pm led by Meike (35+ people)
5th October - Fungal Foray 12 noon (35+ people)
24th August - Bat & Moth Night 8.30 for 9.00 pm Graham Collins & Malcolm Jennings (94 adults, 15 children, 4 dogs)
17th - 18th August - Selsdon Forestry Fair 10.30 am - 6 pm
27th July - Wildflowers Walk 12 noon (15 adults & 5 children)
15th June - Scout Group (aged 8-10) from Frylands Scout Camp guided walk around SW meet Courtwood Lane entrance 12 noon
4th May - Wildflower Walk - 12 noon with Andy Williams & Barry Lambton - (33 people)
27th April - Dawn Chorus - 5 am with Andy Williams & Barry Lambton (35 adults)
23rd February - Tree ID Walk - 12 noon (50+ people)
To put you in the mood for your walk why not listen to some of the sounds heard in Selsdon Wood in 2011:
Or take a look at this calendar of sunrise and sunset times in Selsdon Wood (you can flick through the year month by month)