Report on walk led by Fred Taylor & Colin Dibb at Basildon Park on 16th September 2011.
Weather warm and (late) summery. Some cloud and a little wind, 8 walkers. A slow and long walk lasting 3.5 hours. The long walk completed by five, three turning back after an hour.
Points of interest included:-
The Hawthorn bushes at the entrance to the Pheasant copse at the top of the park have black haws. (Some are very dark red – almost black). Guelder Rose shrubs are laden down with berries, more than I have ever noted in previous years. Horse Chestnuts in the park are not as badly-affected as last year by the Leaf Miner Moth. Sweet Chestnut has potentially a record breaking crop of nuts (if they all fully mature).
Two deer (probably Roe) seen beside the top path – disturbed from a raspberry patch. Good crop of nuts on Hornbeam trees. Still a few blackberries.
There were sightings of Red Admiral – feeding on the early Ivy flowers. Speckled Wood, A White at distance and a Small Tortoiseshell. The Ivy was also attended by Hover flies and other insects. Several Hawking Dragonflies were noted.
The Buzzards were vociferous in the top wood. The adults are still attending their offspring. Nuthatches were noisy as ever, and both Green and Larger Spotted woodpeckers were seen. The canopy was active with Bluetits and Great tits. Crows flew over the Park and woodland. No Hirondines were seen.
There were many deposits of Fox Scat throughout the length of the walk. It contained many seeds and pips. There continue to be many paths and tracks from the Badgers, although the latrine at the exit from the wood is no longer in use.
The Hidden Valley actually smelled of hay. There are still the drying flower stalks of Spotted Orchids to note. Colin found the remains of Adders Tongue fern and one stalk of Ragwort. Eyebright is still abundant.
The Park is now beginning to take on the hues of autumn. There is a promise of spectacular displays of colour from the Beech, Hornbeam, Spindleberry and Acers. (This group includes the Sycamore/Maples in the Park). We can look forward to some good photo opportunities over the next few weeks.
Fred Taylor & Colin Dibb
Pictures by Fred Taylor