Sightings - Latest News
 - spotted by Terri McNally (TM), Jack Branscombe (JB), Steven Budd (SB), Ruth Budd (RB), Daniel Bound (DB), Ted Forsyth (TFo), Heather Govier (HG), Neale Fox (NF)  Rosalyn Heaton (RH), Janet Pierpoint (JP), Jo Wheeler (JW), Andrew More (AM), Lorna Wall (LW) and Tony Flecchia (TFl). Other occasional spotters named in full.

Sightings in Selsdon Wood 2024
Follow the links below to a record of the first sighting of each species this year.

Other Sightings 2024

The document below shows the total count of species Identified by FSW in Selsdon Wood by 31st July 2023. Since 30th May last year, 173 new species have been spotted, a 11.6% increase!!
Many thanks to Tony Flecchia for his work on this.
Sightings in Selsdon Wood 2023

Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of flower this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of flower or leaf this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of fungus this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of bird this year.
Follow the above link to the first evidence of Vertebrate species other than birds in this year and previous years.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of butterfly and moth this year.
Follow the above link to the first sighting of each species of invertebrate other than butterflies and moths.
Other Sightings October/December 2023
October 1stI met this group on the way back from our work session today. I thought their artwork was lovely. They had seen the idea on Pinterest apparently. It's simply a cardboard frame that includes a tree trunk shape and a clear backing sheet. Leaves, flowers etc are attached to make the picture. 

The mothers  were happy to allow their photos to be published on our website. 
Other Sightings September 2023
Beautiful close-ups of flowers by Tony Flecchia
Other Sightings August 2023
Other Sightings July 2023
Other Sightings June 2023

The month started with a sighting that nearly brought me to tears. On June 2nd Ted took a photo (first picture) of the Dryad's Saddle on the stump in Steven's Walk where is has grown for the past 20 years or so. The dinner plate sized brackets had grown quite a bit since my photo from 3 days previous so on 3rd June I went to take a look for myself and the second photo shows what I found. Not only had the fungus been smashed but also the stump on which it grows so it will not be back again. When a door or a notice board is vandalised it can be repaired but this magnificent repeating fungus has probably been destroyed for ever.
Other Sightings May 2023
Other Sightings April 2023
including a cellist playing at the top of F1!
Other Sightings March 2023

Other Sightings February 2023
Other Sightings January 2023
Sightings 2022

Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of flower this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of grass this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of fungus this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of fruits, nuts, berries and seeds.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of bird this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of mammal, reptile or amphibian this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each species of butterfly & moth this year.
Follow the above link to a record of the first sighting of each other species of invertebrate this year.
Sightings December 2022
Sightings November 2022
Sightings October 2022

A White Squirrel has been spotted again close to our wood along the Vanguard Way towards Ashen Vale. This picture was posted on the Neighbourhood Group - photographed on 29th September 2022 by Sheila Patel.
So be on the lookout folks - perhaps we have our White Squirrels back after nearly 2 years without a sighting (previous sighting was in February 2021)

The Deer are still around thankfully! Latest sighting of a Deer was on 2nd September - see photos in the gallery below.

Sightings September 2022

The Curious Case of the Oak Galls 28/8/22

The photo shows an acorn partly engulfed in a Knopper Gall. A hole in the gall, which cannot be seen from the photo, showed that the gall wasp had “hatched”.

I have never seen a fully developed acorn with a fully developed gall attached like this. Normally the gall completely takes over the acorn - or, occasionally, the gall fails (as shown by one of Tony’s photos at the bottom of the Inverts 1 page).

An explanation may lie in the extraordinary vigour of this year’s acorns. Last year there were almost no acorns in our wood but this year they are in great profusion with many far larger than is normal.

There still seem to be plenty of galls but many are like the one shown and have not completely taken over the acorn. 

Sightings August 2022
At last, the Buddleia in The Wend that was so severely cut back last year has now recovered enough to have some flowers and attract some insects - 2 bees:-)
The top 2 rows of photos below were taken by Tony Flecchia on 26th & 27th August after heavy rain on 25th which had followed 2 months of very dry weather.
Sightings July 2022
Sightings June 2022
Sightings May 2022
Seen but not photographed - Swifts over F2 on May 12th 
by Steve & Ruth Budd.

Sightings April 2022
Two rather worrying photos to start the month - dead mammals. Probably coincidence but there is just a possibility that someone has put poison in the wood so please take care.
The 4th image is more cheery - Blue Titis nesting.
Sightings March 2022

Sightings February 2022
A lovely and very varied collection of photos from Tony to start the month and reports from Steve of bat sightings. Sadly sightings 15 & 16 below are not so pretty - 2 tyres dumped in the mud in Linden Glade and  burnt out dog waste bin at the Yew Tree Way entrance. Many  thanks to John Zareba who repaired the burnt out bin by bolting on a steel cover - see photos 17 & 18. However, his work proved to be for naught as the following day the Council replaced it with a new bin.
Bat update 8/2/22
Ruth and I surveyed for bats yesterday and confirmed that a Common Pipistrelle had emerged from hibernation to hunt for a couple of hours in the early part of the night.
We recorded six passes from what was probable a single individual - Common Pips have limited fat reserves and as the smallest bat on site, are the most likely to come out for short periods when weather conditions make insect activity likely.
This one was clearly and exclusively hugging the trees and vegetation, as it was throwing out near vertical FM (frequency modulated) echo location calls. These provide the bat with maximum situational awareness information, that enable it to avoid colliding with multiple hazards in close proximity.
Clever stuff. The 2022 bat season is underway...

Bat update 9/2/22
Ruth and I did a further bat survey tonight and clocked 50+ Common Pipistrelle passes in only 30 minutes.
There were at least two bats this time, quite possibly three and this time there were social calls mixed in as they hawked up and down. This is a sharp increase in traffic over Monday and the numbers are at a level you might expect in summer.
Other Sightings January 2022
A beautiful photo to start the year - a double rainbow over F1 by Martine Bradley on 2nd January.
And an unusual sighting to end the month - a hot air balloon by Oscar Wall on 30th.

Sightings December 2021
Who cold have guessed that we wound be kicking off the December Sightings with a flower called Mayweed? This is in flower now on the Butterfly Bank and is a new species for our wood presumably introduced in the seeds or plug plants that we planted last Spring. And is picture 5 the last Daisy of the year?
Sightings November
Last Flowers of the Year
Who can spot the last flower of each species?
Can anyone see a later one of any shown below?
Can anyone spot any other species still in flower?
If so share them on our FB page or send a photo to me at 
Sightings September 24 - October 31
Sightings September 16 - 22
9 spiders to begin with. 
Also on 16/9/21 I heard an Owl hooting  over near the Gorses.
Sightings September 1-13
Including 8 species of butterflies still flying this late in the seasonMeadow Brown, Peacock, Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Silver Washed Fritillary & Brown Hairstreak
Sightings August 1-26
16/8/21 - A Natterer Bat detected & a shooting star seen in the evening by Steve & Ruth Budd!!

First Butterfly & Moth Sightings 2021

First photo this year of each of the 50 species of Lepidoptera shown below.
Flower Sightings 2021 - Numbers 101 - 126

The first 100 sightings are in the galleries below.
All are listed in the Wild Flowers Full List at the top of this page.
Sightings July 16 - 31
Latest Fox sighting - these adorable cubs on 17/7/21 by Ruth Budd
Latest Deer sighting - 23/7/21 by Sarah Mealing
Note also the sighting of a Mole for the first time in our wood by Tony Flecchia on 23/7/21
Sightings July 1 - 15
Latest Deer sighting - 15/7/21 by Emily Harvey - see below
Sightings June 25 - 30
Sightings June 16 - 24
Flower Sightings 2021 - Numbers 51 - 100

The first 50 sightings are in the gallery below.
All are listed in the Wild Flowers Full List at the top of this page.
Sightings June 1-15

1/6/21 - Bats detected in Leafy Grove Common Pip, Soprano Pip, Brown Long Eared & unknown Myotis(SB)
1/6/21 - Tawny Owl fledglings calling to parents - heard in Bluebell Grove - (SB)
First Tree Blossom/Flower Sightings 2021

30 seen so far - see below. All are listed in the Trees Full List at the top of this page.
First 50 Flower Sightings 2021

All are listed in the Wild Flowers Full List at the top of this page.
First Bluebell flowers were showing on 22 March - see Ruth's photo below.

Sightings May
The photo opposite - by Tony Flecchia - 20/5/21 - tells such an interesting story that I thought it merits a place of its own in Sightings. It shows the base of the strange flower of Cuckoo Pint (shown far right) cut open to reveal the inner workings.

Arum maculatum, Inflorescence base cut away to show:

(1) the lower Spadix (Spike) which gets warm and emits a smell to attract the pollinating midges, 

(2) the Sterile hairs that retain the midges until they've done their job

(3) the Male flowers and 

(4) the Female flowers which become the red berries.  

The male flowers don't become fertile until the female flowers have been pollinated, preventing self pollination.
Sightings April
11/4/21 - 2 seen in Court Wood (HG)
Monster Sightings 2021

A number of folks have spotted monsters lurking in or near our wood. 
Can you find any more?
Sightings March
First record this year of the following birds
2/3/21 - Pheasant (RB) - see photo below
9/3/21 - Skylark heard over field by Farleigh Border (HG)
5/3/21 - Red Kite - seen over Noakes Way by RB and HG
16/3/21 - Chiffchaff - see below (RB)
18/3/21 - Green Woodpecker - heard before but first photo - see below (RB)
19/3/21 - Marsh Tit - seen in Baker Boy Lane by Gillian Davey
30/3/21 - Blackcap (male) - see below (RB)
21/3/21 - Dunnock (RB)
White Squirrel
1/3/21, 10/3/21, 18.3/21 - Seen again by Bridleway Gate - sorry no photo (HG)
2/3/21 - Again by Bridleway Gate this time with a photo - see below - by Kim Bright
2/3/21 - Seen in the F1 at dusk (RB) - no photo
15/3/21 - 2 (young male & female) seen entering by Quail Gardens gate - no photo (HG)
22/3/21 - Pair -  see below by Michael Sparks 
25/3/21 - Common Pipistrelle photographed and ID confirmed with bat detector by SB - see below
Sightings 2021 - February
First Photo this year of the following birds - see below
Female Blackbird, Lesser Redpoll - a first ever sighting in our wood:-), Great Tit, Female Chaffinch
White Squirrel
10/2/21 - Photographed in the snow by Laura Simms - see below
27/2/21 - Near Bridleway Gate by John Zareba - see below
7/2/21 - Seen in the snow by Lee Butcher - see below.
16/2/21 - Sighting of deeroff Broad Walk and then off Beech Grove between Avis Grove and Courtwood Grove (RH)
Sightings 2021 - January 13 - 31
First Photos this year of the following 5 birds - see below
Wren, Kestrel, Goldfinch, Long Tailed Tit, Ring Necked Parakeet, 
White Squirrel
14/1/21 - Seen again in Courtwood Grove near the Bridle Way gate by HG. 
Red Kite
17/1/21 - Seen over the wood by Linda Morris. 3 reported sightings so far this year.
15/1/21 - Seen by Ruth Budd.
Sparrow Hawk
17/1/21 - Seen in Leafy Grove by Neale Fox.
24/1//21 - Sighting of 3 deer on Bridle Path by HG
Sightings 2021 - January 1 - 11
First Photos this year of the following 11 birds - see below
Robin, Song Thrush, Buzzard, Red Kite, Redwing, Nuthatch, Crow, Magpie, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird.
Great Spotted Woodpecker seen but not photographed by James Moon.
White Squirrel
A superb sighting to kick off the year - a white squirrel, seen by Karen Kinkead on 2/1/21 for the first time since July 2020!! It was seen again on 6th and then again (twice) on 11th - with all sightings in Courtwood Grove, some distance from White Squirrel corner where they have been seen in the past. An earlier sighting near The Wend was made just before Xmas and reported on 10th Jan by David Howes.
Red Kite
6/1/21 - Red Kite sighting by RB
11/1/21 - Two Red Kites filmed by Melissa Spackman
8/1/21 - Sighting of 2 deer on Bridle Path by HG

First Sightings in Selsdon Wood 2021.pdf First Sightings in Selsdon Wood 2021.pdf
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Past News and Sightings
Reported Sightings of Deer, White Squirrel & Red Kite in November

13 November - female deer seen running across F1 by Ruth Budd

20 NovemberWalking along Bluebell Grove and saw through the trees a Red Kite flying just above the tree tops being seen off by some unhappy Parakeets .

No reported sightings of White Squirrel

Sightings November 5 2020

On November 5th a visit was made to our wood by local resident Ray Heaton and his Dutch friend Aljos Farjon who is a world renowned expert on oaks and conifers. Having seen our collection of sightings, Aljos was keen to find as many species of fungus growing on oak as our wood had to offer. Nine of their findings are shown below. Also seen was Stereum hirsutum but as Aljos did not supply a photograph a photo from stock has been included.

To add extra spice to the walk they saw a Goshawk in the car park field although the sighting was too brief for a photograph. The bird was only about 30 feet away and they saw it clearly though fleetingly. Although the identification of hawks from sightings is controversial Ray is sure that is what he saw and we would be very interested to hear from other who have seen Goshawks in Selsdon Wood.
Reported Sightings of Deer, White Squirrel, Red Kite etc in October
Red Kite & Buzzard 
26 October - Red Kite and Buzzrd spotted over F1 (RB)
No reported sightings of White Squirrel or Deer this month
Reported Sightings of Deer, White Squirrel & Red Kite in September
12 September - Young deer on Bridle Path by Cascades at 9am (HG)
No reported sightings of White Squirrel or Red Kite
Sighting September 8th 2020

This amazing shot was just posted on the FB page by Luci Collings.

She asked: 
Can anyone tell me what’s going on here? When I gently prodded the blue lump - which was quite solid - the two pale slugs rapidly ingested it between them.

Kerry Fuller responded:
"Slugs are hermaphrodites. Once a slug finds its mate, they entangle themselves in a ball with their protruding genitalia. Once the mating is concluded, each mate bites off the male genitalia from the other, which leaves each slug forever female. Once they decide to mate again, they can only mate with another slug which has not mated yet since it will be the only male mate in this act of reproduction"

Reported Sightings of Deer, White Squirrel & Red Kite in August
31 August - Group of 3/4 seen in Beech Grove on 31st August by Justine Rimell
No reported sightings of White Squirrel or Red Kite

Reported Sightings of Deer, White Squirrel & Red Kite in July 2020
July 6th, 10th, 14th & 22nd by Ruth Budd - in Leafy Grove & Langford's Way
July 16th Deer with Fawn by Ruth Budd
July 25th Deer with 2 fawns by Ruth Budd
White Squirrel 
July 6th and 16th by Ted Forsyth in garden by roundabout at the top of Courtwood Lane
July 14th by Ruth Budd in The Wend.
Red Kite
July 10th by Ruth Budd

1/2/20 - First Reported Deer Sighting of 2020 - by Aileen Young

Following your request for sightings in the latest newsletter, I would like to tell you that my husband and I saw a full sized deer on Saturday 1st February at 1400 hours.

We had just closed  the gate at the Courtwood Lane entrance, when the deer ran at full speed in front of us from the newly flattened working area on our left and across our path in front of the Notice Board and confidently headed for the area directly behind the back gardens, where it promptly and silently disappeared from view. Unfortunately, this flight was caused by an unleashed golden labrador that must have spotted the deer in the opened up area.  The dog, however, was completely outwitted by this very smart and handsome deer and continued on his journey along The Wend, with his owners and accompanying children. 
Last Reported Sighting of Deer

11/8/19 - Deer - sighted by Robert Marshall and posted on FSW Facebook Page.
5/3/19 - 3 Roe Deer by Steven's Larch. The larger male had a scar (dog bite) in its right hind. John Zareba
19/2/19 - 2 deer seen crossing Beech Grove close to Avis. (HG)
6/1/19 A poor deer was trapped inside the deer fencing by the Courtwood Lane Gate and being driven frantic by a whippet circling the area outside the fence. Several man were there trying to find a way to let the deer out. After a while it suddenly went quiet. The deer had managed to escape from the far end of the fenced area and the dog had run off after it. Before long th dog returned - so we are hopeful that the deer escaped safely. (HG)

Last Reported Sighting of White Squirrel

9/8/19 - Sighted by Ted Forsyth close to Courtwood Lane roundabout.
17/3/19 - Sighted by Karen Rabbitte and posted on FSW facebook page.
11/1/19 - Sighting away from usual territory at junction of The Wend & Bluebell Grove - HG

Other Significant Sightings

23/3/19 - Red Kite over F2 by Steven Budd - the third sighting in the last 2 weeks.
16/1/19 - Yellow Bird's Nest - not before seen in Selsdon Wood. A very curious saprophytic plant that entirely lacks chlorophyll. It's declined quite significantly in south-east England and new sites are rare plus there is only one other site for it in Greater London at High Elms Country Park in Bromley. (Michael Waller)


Last Sighting of Deer

1/11/18 - Two, possibly 3 deer seen in Bluebell Grove - HG
5/9/18 - Deer seen in Great Field by Dave Thompson - video posted on FSW Facebook Page.

Last Sighting of White Squirrel

31/12/18 - Sighting in usual spot - Beach Grove close to the intersection with Langford's way - HG
16/10/18 - Sighting in usual spot - Beach Grove close to the intersection with Langford's way - HG
23/5/18 - Sighting in Langford's Way corner of Great Field by Brian Stevens

Other Significant Sightings

18/5/18 - Lovely photos of Greater Spotted Woodpecker nesting by Steven Budd posted on FSW Facebook page. 

Hedgehog Survey

Members of FSW will have received my message in February asking for sightings of hedgehogs to be reported to The London Wildlife Trust - I have had a number of replies saying "sorry no hedgehogs seen" but also this from Ashesh Datta who lives on Forestdale:

On 23rd December (the day before Christmas eve) I saw a hedgehog quietly sleeping in my neighbour’s front garden in the small gap between the front gate and the dustbin shed. I went there to deliver my Christmas greeting cards at 6o’clock in the morning – as it was early I did not wake my neighbours up. Sorry, I don’t have a photo! 

I have recommended that this should be reported to the LWT. Great news that they are not totally extinct in this area:-)
17/1/18 - First sighting of a flower - earliest ever - Hairy Bittercress (HG)

13/1/18 - First sighting of bluebell leaves - earliest ever. (HG)

Reported sightings of White Squirrel

5/1/18 - White squirrel spotted again today - that is twice this year!!! It was a little way off its usual spot in the newly coppiced area to the west of The Wend. (HG)

2/1/18 - Delighted to say I saw the white squirrel today - on the usual corner. It dug up a nut and sat eating it. (HG)
Last reported sightings of Deer

8/11/17 - A double today - two deer in the wood beside the Cascades bridle path AND a white squirrel in the usual place. I watched as the squirrel dug up and ate something it had stashed. (HG)

5/11/17 Saw at least 3 deer in the Gorses area today. One was a stag with large antlers. There was also a hint of movement close by so there may have been a few more - but I saw 3 clearly. Sadly no camera. (HG)

28/8/17 - in David's Crook (TFl) 

Last reported sightings of White Squirrel

8/11/17 - A double today - two deer in the wood beside the Cascades bridle path AND a white squirrel in the usual place. I watched as the squirrel dug up and ate something it had stashed. (HG)

5/11/17 - Saw the white squirrel this afternoon around Langford's Way - Angela Thompson

17/6/17 - In Langford's Way (TFo)

Other Sightings

24/5/17 - I had completed my walk and was coming out of the wood when I heard Crows making odd noises so I looked up. They were mobbing a high-flying bird of prey which was heading towards the wood. Using the binoculars I realised it was not the Buzzard I was expecting but was in fact a Red Kite. There may even have been a second bird but there was so much movement in the sky that by the time I was convinced of the ID any other birds had vanished. (TFo)

29/4/17 Took the bat detector with us this evening and heard and saw a few bats in Courtwood Gove  (NF)

14/4/17 - Orchid, Early Purple  - This large group of 13 EP Orchids off Langford's Way was discovered for the first time  this year. (NF) - see photo above from NF

28/3/17 - First sighting of Bluebell flowers (HG)

26/3/17 - Frog in pool in Linden Glade. Karen found him in the undergrowth and picked him up and put him near the pool. I then prompted him into the water. However he liked it because he then swam and sat in the middle underwater. (NF) - see photo above from NF

3/2/17 - First sighting of Bluebell leaves (HG)

Sightings of White Squirrel

17/6/17 - In Langford's Way (TFo)

14/3/17 -  See below for a short video captured by Magdalena Kozlowska.

white squirrel video.mp4 white squirrel video.mp4
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4/5/17 - Male Roe Deer - posted on FB page by Ernie Thomason

8/3/17 - Pheasants spotted in the path beside the Cascades (HG)

 - I heard a great cawing coming from the wood just by the top corner of Great Field. At the top end of Courtwood Grove there were half a dozen or more crows in a tree making a racket. 
I saw them move from tree to tree a few times and then caught a glimpse of what they were mobbing as a large brown bird flew up with the crows following. I did not get a good look but I think the shape was more like an owl than a hawk - most probably a Tawny Owl as one has been seen in this location in the past. (HG)

24/1/17 - As we walked along Vale Border near Quail Garden gate, a female Sparrowhawk flew low between Janet and I and vanished into Selsdon Wood. (DM)

12/1/17 - When I entered the Courtwood Lane gate on Thurs morning I was met by a Fox walking towards me.  It continued coming until it was within ten feet then unhurriedly turned and walked off into the bushes. (TFo)

9/1/17 - We saw a Red Kite flying S over the S end of Baker Boy Lane at 12.30 today. On the way back from Sainsburys (us not the kite). Outside Croydon. It probably came up the Court Wood valley. Like the one we saw last year. Visible from Selsdon Wood! (DM)

Last reported sightings of White Squirrel

29/12/16 - Spotted by Andy Hart.

6/12/16 - In usual location (TFo)

15/10/16 - After a gap of several months without a sighting a white squirrel was spotted in the usual location of the junction of Langford's Way and Beech Grove. I was not able to get a photograph so this is one from our archive taken by Ted Forsyth. It was initially on the ground but quickly took to the canopy on spotting me and my dog. I followed its movements for several minutes. (HG)

Last reported sightings of Deer

3/11/16 - 3 Roe Deer seen in David's Path (TFo)

15/9/16 - Deer spotted in Linden Glade. When I entered Pool Grove I heard a thump behind me and thought it was a falling branch, but when I looked round I was in time to see a Roe Deer bound across the path a few feet away.  There was no sign of any pursuit. (TFo)

31/8/16 - I had several phone calls to report a dead deer in Vale Border between the Quail Gardens gate and Beech Grove. I reported it to the council and it was removed early the next morning. It appeared to have been savaged by a dog. Ted had seen a live deer in Great Field earlier in the day - this may have been the one that was killed. (HG)

13/8/16 - Two young deer seen in Fox Shaw (HG)

27/7/16 - One adult male seen in Great Field (HG)
Notable sightings in July 2016

14/7/16   The Swollen Leg Flower Beetle, Oedemera nobilis, was once very common in this area but has been much more rare in recent years, so seeing a few return this year was welcome.  This is a particularly fine male specimen in Great Field.

Also this month we have a new section on the Fauna pages under Beetles - the Rove Beetles, 
Staphylinidae. This is the largest beetle group although only 4 species have been identified in our wood. They have flexible abdomens and very short leathery wing casings which store their folded up wings.Because folding the wings takes time and effort they rarely fly. 

3/7/16   These newly hatched first instar nymphs of the Common Green Shieldbug next to their egg casing are a rare sighting under an oak leaf in Great Field.  They will change appearance dramatically as they grow much larger, ending up all green in late summer but sometimes changing to all brown in winter.   The second photo showing just the egg casings after the nymphs dispersed shows just how tiny the nymphs were, well under two milllimetres each in length.

1/7/16  Pirata piraticus, Pirate Spider, a Wolf Spider, here the female carrying her egg cocoon in typical fashion for these. She's very battle scarred, missing three legs.

Other species of invertebrates photographed for the first time in Selsdon Wood in July 2016 can be seen on the Fauna pages of the website. They include:

3/7/16 - Sawfly - Arge melanochra, Bramble Sawfly - One of many very similar sawflies, it often feeds on umbellifers as well as bramble.

3/7/16 - Soldier BeetleRhagonycha lignosa - Similar to the common Rhagonycha fulva, but black all over except for the elytra and appendages.

21/7/16 - Ichneumon stramentarius - One of the smallest ichneumon wasps, as can be seen from the relative size of the hogweed flowers it is on.

Friday 6th May 2016 at 9.30am 

Cuckoo heard calling in Selsdon Wood at the Courtwood Lane end - possibly from Puplet Wood or Baker Boy Lane. Report by Ted Forsyth


5th May 2016

Herb Paris (shown) is now flowering in Selsdon Wood. About 60 individuals were seen on 1st May growing by the chain link fence on The Bridleway west and downhill from the Bridle Way Gate towards the Yew Tree Gate. Some were in flower. My thanks to Heather Govier who pointed out the location of this colony in early April when there was no sign of any individuals. If any Friends know of other locations for Herb Paris within Selsdon Wood, I would be most grateful for location information (preferably with OS Grid Reference) for Surrey's Rare Plant Register being prepared by the Surrey Botanical Society (  

Paris quadrifolia, Herb Paris or true lover's knot, is a Eurasian species of flowering plant in the family Melanthiaceae, although authorities formerly regarded it as part of the Liliaceae family. It is related to Trillium, with which it can be confused. Trillium, however, is generally 3-merous (3 leaves per whorl, 3 petals etc.), whereas Paris quadrifolia is 4-merous. Paris quadrifolia has solitary flowers with four or more very narrow greenish filiform (threadlike) petals and green petaloid sepals. The flower is borne above a single whorl of four or more stem leaves. It prefers calcareous soils and lives in damp and shady places, especially old established woods and streamsides. It occurs locally in temperate and cool areas throughout Europe and northern Asia from Spain to Yakutia and northern China, but is absent in the wild from the Americas, Africa and the southern hemisphere. In Britain it is more frequently found in the east of the country, but it is uncommon throughout its range. Each plant only produces one blueberry-like berry, which is poisonous, as are other tissues of the plant. Paris quadrifolia poisonings are rare, because the plant's solitary berry and its repulsive taste make it difficult to mistake it for a blueberry.( Report by Brian Pitkin 

1st May 2016

The Owl Box in Smith Grove is being used - but by squirrels. Report by Neale Fox

After this sighting by Neale, Tony Flecchia repeatedly visited the box and finally on 5th May obtained several photographs of the mother and the pups. They were clearly nesting in the box.

30th April 2016

Three Buzzards soaring high above Field 2 - they eventually drifted off one by one in the southerly direction.
Report by Ted Forsyth

Early-purple Orchids
- see photo -  out on the unofficial footpath from the dogleg in Court Wood Grove. Some are
broken. Blackcaps & Chiffchaff now in the wood. Report by David Malins

Other flowers spotted today for the fist time this year are Herb Robert, Yellow Archangel & Lilac ivy-leaved Speedwell. Report by Heather Govier

29th April 2016

I heard a Willow Warbler singing between The Wend and Beech Grove yesterday.  The song is a descending musical "Wee-wee-woo-woo-woo". Report by Ted Forsyth


22nd November 2015

I saw the white squirrel at the usual crossroads. It was on the ground and Bella chased it up a tree. Report by Heather Govier

24th August 2015 - A Deer spotted in the Great Field. The first photo shows the location (see tiny dot to the left of centre) - the camera is facing due east. The deer stood and watched for some time as I approached - Bella, my dog, had not spotted it. Eventually it ran off into Langford's Way. HG

7th August 2015 - Butterflies - On the marjoram patch in David's Crook I saw: Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small Skipper, 10 Gatekeepers. 8 Meadow Browns and nearby there were Peacock and two Silver-washed Fritillaries. Speckled Woods were seen in Greenhill Way (2), West Gorse near Farleigh Border, Middle Gorse, and Langford's Way (2). There was a female Brimstone in Linden Glade and a Large White elsewhere. Report by Ted Forsyth

3rd August 2015 -
Deer -
Small deer spotted crossing the short leg of the Great Field and trotting off along Avis Grove. No photograph unfortunately. Report by Heather Govier.

4th May - Fox Cub

Thanks to Sheila Woolcock for this adorable fox cub (below left) photographed in Vale Border.

2nd May 2015 - White Squirrel

Ian Frost spotted our famous White Squirrel on our Bluebell Walk on 2nd May and managed to get some great photos of it (see above right). It was at the usual location - the junction of Beech Grove and Langford's Way. After much peering, most of the other 40 walkers also managed to catch a glimpse of it so many thanks to Ian for his sharp eyes:-) See the Walks page for a full report and more photos.

26th April 2015 - Cuckoo heard

We have a Cuckoo in the wood again. It called about half a dozen times at 6.30 this evening at the junction of Avis Grove and Addington Border. It is many years since I last heard a cuckoo although there used to be a regular visitor. The location was different - I usually heard the old one around the corner of the Great Field where it joins Langford's Way but It could be 10 years or so since I last heard it. (Ted also heard a Cuckoo in Puplet Wood on 17/5/15).

17th April 2015 -  Blackcap

The is first picture of a Blackcap  taken in Selsdon Wood. It was photographed by John Zareba who was taking photos of the splendid Blackthorn along Vale Border when he saw this little bird.

12th April 2015 - Nuthatch

On the Spring Walk a Nuthatch was heard in Great Field making it's characteristic "weeep weeep" call. Some of the party managed to spot it high in the branches of an Oak in Steven's Larch.

Sad sightings in March 2015

25th March 2015 Injured Badger

This bedraggled and seemingly injured badger was wandering about in broad daylight today. It was spotted and photographed by Debbie Paul who reported it to us and has now contacted the Badger Trust.

It was seen in Steven's Walk and possibly also near the badger sett in the wood between Field 2 and Field 3, close to Heather Creamer's bench.

The sighting has also been reported to the East Surrey Badger Protection Society. They have told me that the injury looks very like an eviction from a sett. When the female has cubs she will often attack any male that comes near to drive it out of the sett. That bite on the rump is apparently very typical.

25th March 2015 at 5pm Injured Deer

This deer was photographed by John Zareba who reports: "I was walking along the Vale Border path when I saw the deer on the other side of the metal railings. It did not move but looked as if ready to run. It was only after I checked the zoomed picture that I noticed its injured hinds... which is where dogs usually get them."

Also take a look at this great blog about the Selsdon Wood white squirrel written by our regular contributor and photo competition winner Mark Shoesmith.
And see his scary caterpillar video!


July 26th 2014 - This Roe Deer Doe, seen in the bridle path beside the Cascades, was photographed by Tony Flecchia. The deer was trapped outside the reserve by the top gate being closed but he was able to gently walk her up the hill and and leave the gate open for her.

April 18th 2014
- At 6.15pm the White Squirrel was seen sitting on a branch before scuttling up the trunk - rep
ort from Ted Forsyth

April 17th 2014 - 2.00pm
- I've just returned from the wood and saw a Holly Blue butterfly just at the bottom of Langford's Way.  Also heard Treecreeper again.
- report from Ted Forsyth

April 3rd 2014 - White Squirrel off Langford's Way. Brimstones, Peacocks and Small White butterflies in various places. Bee Flies in many areas . I heard a Treecreeper calling near the junction with Beech Grove but I could not see it. However, as I waited I heard a Tawny Owl calling from Court Wood Grove. - report from Ted Forsyth

April 1st  2014 - A Roe buck spotted by Ted Forsyth feeding in the fenced part of Court Wood, visible from Courtwood Lane.

April 1st  2014 - A pair of Nuthatches - at the end of Leafy Grove where it joins Gorse Plantation. Spotted by Sheila Woolcock.

April 1st  2014 - White Squirrel - around the crossroad of Langfords Way & Beech Grove. Spotted by Colin Shepherd.

March 29th  2014 - Birds - report from Ted Forsyth - At least 7 Chiffchaffs were singing and also 2 Blackcaps. Calling Canada Geese flew over the golf course, unseen but probably two or three judging by previous occurrences.  I looked for the Tawny Owl at Linden Glade but it was not visible, but when I was walking away down West Gorse towards Leafy Grove I heard it calling behind me, possibly even in the other part of West Gorse leading in the direction of Farleigh Border.

March 23rd 2014 - Tawny Owl in Linden Glade - spotted by Michael Elmer.

March 22nd  2014 - Birds - report from Ted Forsyth - 7 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackcap & 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers plus lots of commoner birds but no owl.

March 22nd  2014 Long-tailed tits in Courtwood Grove - spotted by Heather Govier 

March 21st  2014 - White Squirrel in the usual haunt in Langford's Way - spotted by Heather Govier

March 4th 2014 - A pheasant in Avis Grove - - spotted by Heather Govier


November 24th 2013 - White Squirrel - spotted by Heather Govier

November 4th 2013 - Bat - spotted by Heather Govier - A bit late for Halloween, I spotted a bat at 4pm flying over the Great Field at the North East corner of Steven's Larch.I stood watching it for 10 minutes. 

May 15th 2013 - Roe Buck and May 20th Robin - both spotted by Tony Flecchia (see above) - This Roe buck was at the high southern end of David's Crook. It was more concerned about someone with a large dog approaching up the western flank, so took no notice of me. I also finally got a photo of the Robin that's been hanging around the deer fence near the charcoal burning area. I had to use the full 35 times zoom and it's difficult to get a still image at this 840 mm focal length, but it's turned out quite well. Its plumage is a bit bedraggled though in this damp weather!

May 12th 2013 - Long-tailed Tit spotted by Brian Stevens - First long tailed tit I've seen for a long time in Selsdon Woods at about 8 this morning in Courtwood Grove. Unfortunately didn't have a camera with me as it didn't seem particularly bothered by me or the dog & just flew a few feet to the next tree whenever I got close to the tree it was perched on.

April 24th 2013 - Chiffchaff in Larch - photographed by Sheila Woolcock (see below left) - This little chiffchaff was very vocal - full of the joy of  spring!

January 17th 2013 - Tawny Owl - photograph below right by David Malins - report by Ted Forsyth - Just before the snow fell a Tawny Owl was found at a roost behind Linden Glade. Once the snow arrived it disappeared but one small owl pellet was picked up from under its roost tree. Analysis showed it contained the remains of a Wood Mouse.


December 20th 2012 - Dead Deer Update - report by Heather Govier - The window of opportunity for removing the carcass may now have been lost as today it was in pieces which were rapidly becoming widely dipersed. When I reached the area the carcass was being chewed by a German Shepherd and when the owner called him away and I approached another dog (possibly a lurcher - in a blue coat with no owner in sight) went over and pulled part of the carcass towards Steven's Walk. The dog then managed to detach a leg and ran off with it in his mouth. 

December 18th 2012 - Deer Put Down - report by Heather Govier - Last weekend we received a call to the FSW number to report an injured deer in Selsdon Wood. We told the caller that we did not have resources to deal with injured animals and suggested that he should ring the RSPCA. This was done and an RSPCA officer attended and put down a deer that had been badly injured - probably by a dog attack although the officer could not say for certain. (We had received a report of a deer being chased by dogs so this does seem likely.) The RSPCA officer told me that she euthanised the deer with a bolt to the head and RSPCA policy is not to remove carcasses of such animals but to leave them as carrion. They do remove animals killed with chemicals so that the drugs do not get into the food chain.

A walker in the woods then contacted me to say that her dog had been attracted to the carcass and become trapped behind fencing. She had heard that the policy was to leave carcasses in situ but was very unhappy with this. I have checked with the Council and would like to confirm that, whatever the RSPCA policy may be, it is definitely NOT the policy of the FSW or of Croydon Council to leave dead animals in public spaces. We have reported dead deer to the Council in the past and they have been removed and having ascertained the location of the current carcass I have reported it today and asked that it be cleared away. I will let you know the outcome of this.

The walker who got in touch reported that there were two deer but the RSPCA officer told me that she had only dealt with one and I have only managed to find one carcass. I understand that the other may now be outside our wood in the land beside Quail Gardens. The Croydon Rangers have been informed about this one too.

The dog attracted to the dead deer had become trapped behind deer fencing. This is used in various locations in the wood to protect newly planted or coppiced trees from deer grazing but it is clearly not very effective at keeping the deer out as this dead animal was inside a fenced area and indeed I have frequently seen live deer within fenced areas. In the coming year I will ensure that the FSW reviews the whole approach to the use of deer fencing and seeks some professional advice about its value.

December 2012 – White Squirrel - from Ted Forsyth - I have twice recently seen the squirrel. On one occasion while looking out of the window to check the birds I noticed the squirrel bounding along the road as it moved round the roundabout, at the top of Courtwod Lane finishing over by the oak tree. On the second occasion it came into my garden to search for fallen sunflower hearts under the bird feeder, spending only a few minutes before disappearing.

November 2012 – Bird Boxes - from David Malins - Five new bird boxes were installed along the Green route on 5th November. By 8th November a great tit was spotted at the hole into box 1 doing the usual head prodding to make sure the hole was suitable - just after 3 days!

26/7/12 – Bella's chase - report by Heather Govier - Bella today did a 'Fenton'! We were walking down the north edge of David's Crook at sunset when we heard a rustling in the bushes. Bella went to investigate and out shot two full grown deer. They leapt off across the field with Bella in hot pursuit. Labradors are not the fastest runners and she was already losing ground when the deer adopted the perfect strategy and split up. Confused, Bella went a different way entirely and disappeared off towards the Jubilee. The deer circled round, joined up and stood together at the top of the rise watching us, seemingly quite unperturbed. I called Bella to heel and we continued our walk. (There is a photo of Bella in the Rogues Gallery on the Dogs page.)

20/7/12 – Harlequin Ladybird - from Tony Flecchia - An unfortunate sighting today of the larva of the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). It was in Steven's Walk adjacent to the FSW coppice at the junction with Leafy Grove. This is a dangerous invasive species with a voracious appetite that includes our native ladybirds, and the beetle bites humans too. There's a reporting survey to monitor it's spread and I've completed that on behalf of FSW, reference number HAXY 44537. Information links:

July 2012 Badger Rescue and Release – story & photograph from David Malins - In early July a young badger, about 6 months old, was injured by a car in Linton Glade. A concerned person called the RSPCA who collected the badger and took it to Wildlife Aid animal hospital in Leatherhead. The badger seemed to have suffered mild concussion and quickly recovered. Two days rest and good food confirmed it was ready to go home. The next job was to release the badger near a sett close to its accident.

I am a Committee member of the East Surrey Badger Protection Society, so was asked to assist the release. On a cold dark drizzly evening I met a representative from Wildlife Aid who brought the badger in a carrying cage.  I decided that there were 2 setts that the badger could have come from - one in Selsdon Wood or another beyond Sorrel Bank. We took the cage and opened it on top of the largest sett which was in Selsdon Wood. The badger was reluctant to leave its comfortable cage – so it had to be gently tipped out. It lay on top of the sett for about 10 minutes trying to work out where it was. Then ignoring that sett, it set off hesitatingly along a badger path in a south-westerly direction towards other badger setts.

We were congratulating ourselves when it stopped and walked slowly in a wide circle. It then came out onto the main path, sniffed at our boots and then set off determinedly back along the main path in the opposite direction. It passed the sett I had chosen without hesitating and disappeared in the direction of the other sett I had considered. It appeared to know where it was going.

Young as it was it seemed to have a homing instinct, like pigeons, the badger was able to circle and then know the way home.

When wild animals are sick, injured or orphaned we rely on organisations like Wildlife Aid to give them a second chance.. Their programme of Rescue - Rehabilitate - Release needs our financial and practical help. Please see their website:  and help them if you can. 

18/6/12 – Greater Spotted Woodpeckers at nest hole - from Tony Flecchia - I did another patient waiting job this afternoon and have two photos of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker at the nest hole in Pool Grove - one of the male parent (the male is identified by the red patch at the nape of the neck) arriving to feed the chick and another of the male chick (identified by the red crown) looking out to see where the parent was going afterwards, clearly it's near to fledging and getting nosy!

(This was the nest hole first found by Ted Forsyth on 14th June - see below.)

I had to con the woodpecker to get those photos since it wouldn't tolerate me near just as Ted had said. Therefore I deliberately went close to upset it and stayed there for quite a while to get it really frustrated at not being able to reach the chick, the latter continuously cheeping to be fed. Then when I guessed it might be desperate, I went away just a little into cover but with a small opening between branches to see the nest hole. The woodpecker could still see me, but it eventually accepted I meant well by backing off and risked coming in. The chick emerging was just a lucky bonus.

14/6/12 – Badger - from Tony Flecchia - I'd resolved to get a photo of a badger in the wild for the FSW website. Targeting a known sett area, I first had to make sure they were in residence since they often move around in disturbed areas. So I went over on Wednesday evening (13/6/12) as it got dark and planted some peanuts in the four sett entrances that I thought were currently active. Returning first thing Thursday morning, the peanuts had gone so that showed they were in residence.

Thursday evening I set off to get there by just after 9pm knowing they'd be a late hours group in that location, but it started raining just as I left home. With everything set up and loaded with camera in silent mode, a camping stool and a torch for the return journey, I carried on anyway. Once there the protection from thin trees was poor and I had to be close for flash photos, so I chose a spot close to two holes, 6' and 8' away, set up the stool and sat down to wait in the wet. By 10.30pm it was completely dark under the trees so I would have to rely on hearing to know if a badger surfaced.

An hour and a quarter after getting there I heard a faint movement, raised the camera from under my sleeve and used the infra-red focus beam to see a badger just out of the 8' hole, but that scared it and it dashed back in. Several minutes later I sensed there was something there again though not hearing anything, so once again tried and this time the badger was there and it froze, trying to understand this bright red spot coming from my camera. I pressed the button and after what seemed an age the flash fired and I had the shot. Of course the flash scared the badger back down, so to avoid any more disturbance I left some more bonus peanuts and quickly left.

It was pouring by now and Broad Walk was pitch black under the low cloud cover and heavy rain, so it was a torchlit trip home through the woods. Broad Walk looks very different in darkness, seeming much narrower and closed in like a tunnel with only the odd moth flitting through the torch light despite the rain. I arrived home before 11.30 pm, bedraggled and  very wet, but pleased to have got the photo.

14/6/12 – GSW nest - from Ted Forsyth -

When I entered Pool Grove from David's Crook I heard a nest of young Great Spotted Woodpeckers making their continuous chattering noise. Hoping to get a photo I remained long enough to see an adult try to return to the nest but as she was so agitated I left without a photo. The nest is on the left in a broken branch on an Oak tree a few yards into the trees.

12/6/12 – Swift - from Heather Govier

Spotted a dozen or more Swift soaring over the Jubilee Plantation.

11/6/12 – Roe Deer - from Heather Govier

So much for deer fencing! I saw a Roe Deer today inside the fenced area at the end of Langford's Way. There was another in David's Crook - they seem to like this rainy weather.

10/6/12 – Nesting Blue Tits - from Tony Flecchia

I think the blue tits in the nesting box in Linden Glade have now fledged. Yesterday one called, looked in and went straight off without entering, perhaps thinking one youngster was still in there. Today I spent 20 minutes patiently watching but no birds called. I saw two small birds flash across the glade but was unable to identify them in the time.

9/6/12 – Chicken of the Woods - from Heather Govier

There seem to be a fair few specimens of this fungus around at the moment. Today I spotted one a little way into the wood on the south side of Vincent Avenue. See this and 3 others in the Fungi gallery above. Don't try to spot a resemblance to a chicken - it is the TASTE that is supposed to be like chicken!

5/6/12 – Blue Tit at nesting box - from Tony Flecchia

I spotted a Blue Tit going in to the nesting box on a Silver Birch tree in Linden Glade. (Later in the week Tony photographed a bird entering and leaving the nesting box.)

21/5/12 – Cuckoo - from Heather Govier

I heard the first Cuckoo of the year today in the Noakes Way area. Summer must be here at last!!!

27/4/12 – White Squirrel - sighting from Ted Forsyth & Paul Ogier

I had been out for an early walk and was returning down Langford's Way when I met Paul Ogier around 8.30am. As we stood talking he suddenly said, "There's a white Squirrel - there's two together!" . They scampered through the undergrowth and disappeared. That's the first time I have seen two.

16/4/12 – Various sightings - from Ted Forsyth

When I arrived at the top of Langford's Way a Tawny Owl called from the Larches between Courtwood Grove and Langford's Way. I had a good look but could see nothing.

Further down Langford's Way I found the White Squirrel. It was initially on the ground and gradually worked its way to the base of a conifer where it started jumping up and down madly like a young lamb. Eventually it settled to nibble a stick then, as I walked towards it, climbed to a low branch still carrying the stick.

27/3/12 – Green Woodpeckers - sighting from Heather Govier

A pair of green woodpeckers in Farleigh border.

26/3/12 – Blue Tit & White Squirrel - sighting from Ted Forsyth

In the crab apple tree in The Wend there may be a Blue Tit nesting in a crack in the trunk.

Returning back down Langford's Way I saw the White Squirrel on the ground for the first time.

24/3/12 – White Squirrel - sighting from Brian Stevens

Another sighting today @ 1630hrs in the trees alongside Courtwood Grove - almost exactly where I saw the last one.

16/3/12 White Squirrel - sighting from Brian Stevens

White squirrel at the junction of Courtwood Grove & Beech Grove at 1300hrs today.

10/2/12 Deer - sighting from Heather Govier

There were three deer in the snow on the bridle path by the Cascades.

9/1/12 Woodpecker - from Heather Govier

There was a noisy wood pecker rattling away at the south end of Beech Grove today. I fear I didn't manage to spot it though. I understand that this is unseasonably early because of the mild winter.


12/12/11 – Pheasants - sighting from Heather Govier

Two pheasants fighting in Bluebell Grove. No camera to hand sadly!

7/12/11 – White Squirrel - sighting from Paul Ogier

Saw two white squirrels together in the same area as last week and managed to get some photos.

5/12/11 – White Squirrel - sighting from Paul Ogier

I saw the white squirrel - no not the white rabbit! - between Langfords Way and Addington Border Path at the Courtwood Lane area of the Woods. It confirmed the sighting mentioned to me by a neighbour whose home backs onto the woods. He saw it last week (30/11/11). The last time I saw a white squirrel was in December 2009 and the early part of 2010 (about 3 sightings). It was in the same area of the woods. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me! 


31/10/09 - Owls in Selsdon Wood - from Ted Forsyth

Having heard a number of owls calling recently I decided to take the chance tonight to wander through part of Selsdon Wood.  Starting at 4.45pm I entered from Courtwood Lane and turned on to The Wend. The first owl seemed to be calling from somewhere on Langford’s Way. Once I reached East Gorse I turned right and heard two owls having a hooting battle in Middle Gorse. I gave a crude imitation of an owl and heard a reply on my right near where we erected an owl box, and immediately one of the Middle Gorse birds flew across to that area. I walked through Middle Gorse but got no reply to my imitation. I continued up Farleigh Border, again with no replies to my imitation hoots where I know there is a roosting bird. I turned into Greenhill Way then into Vincent Way and down to Jubilee Plantation. I tried a few more hoots then started walking towards David’s Crook. As soon as I got on to the grass, a female began “kewicking” behind me then a male hooted in the trees between me and Greenhill Way. I entered Bluebell Grove, hearing another hooting bird, then turned down towards Steven’s Walk. Walking by Steven’s Larch more hooting produced no results. Courtwood Grove and Addington Border gave no more results though I am aware of a territory close to The Cascades. I retraced my steps to rejoin Langford’s Way and back to Courtwood Lane by 6.00pm.

Six hooting birds were heard, including one in flight, and one kewicking bird. I was unable to cover large parts of the woods and have frequently heard birds calling close to Courtwood Lane and from Puplet Wood. I suggest there are probably ten or twelve pairs though some of the calling birds might have been well-developed youngsters. Near Courtwood Lane I have heard what seemed like young birds with weak voices.