Wildlife in September 2017
1st September: Recording Fineshade's ants
We are always pleased and grateful when wildlife experts send us records of the wildlife they have found here and today we heard from Anna Jordan who stayed on the caravan site in July. Anna is the Joint Norfolk County Ant Recorder and during her stay in Fineshade she was busy seeing what type of ants she could find. There have not been many (any?) records from Fineshade before but Anna found various different species in different parts of the wood. Anna says "The ants recorded were all species that are fairly common and widespread but that's not to say that their aren't any rarer species there, as I was only able to cover a fairly small area."
We are sending the records to the county Biological Records Centre and also to the Forestry Commission ecologists. Anna also sent these pictures and locations for some of the other interesting wildlife that she recorded.
A species of red ant nesting in birch
Female adder basking
Purple Hairsteak butterfly
9th September: Seen at the hide
Kurt Hellwing was at the Wildlife Hide today and coincided with a Kingfisher eyeing up a potential catch in the pond. The red on the base of the bill suggest that this is a female. Kingfishers are not at all regular in the wood but have been recorded occasionally at the pond in front of the hide.
Kurt also noticed that the tit box on the Wild Service Tree in front of the hide has some new occupants - Hornets!
Back at Top Lodge a young Red Kite was sitting up very confidently in the trees near the horsebox carpark
Hornets in the tit box
Juvenile Red Kite
16th September: Black, red and white berries
Everyone seems to think it's been a good year for blackberries, though the best of the crop is over now. But some juicy black berries can still be found - we noticed one Fineshade visitor picking some from high up in a bush this morning, and then feeding them to her seemingly very grateful dog.
But if you walk down the track that runs north from Top Lodge you'll see some very different berries - some white and others bright red. Just after you get to the tree house play area you'll see the first of the Snowberries forming together with some of the delightful small pink flowers. The berries will stay on the plants long after all the leaves have gone. See what we wrote about Snowberries last December by clicking here.
It's not clear whether Snowberries are good to eat but the luscious-looking red berries are definitely best avoided. This is the fruit of Black Bryony, (Tamus communis), a twisting climber and our only native member of the yam family. You'll see it in other places in the wood but there is a plant on the right just before you get to the tree house. It's wound its way up the stem of a Teasel.
Admire the berries, but don't be tempted to eat them - they are said to be highly poisonous.
23rd September: Return of the Dog's Sick Slime Mould!
And it's much earlier this year.
You can read all about the slimy mess in the grass at Top Lodge in last November's diary entry.