Monday, 22 September 2008

Monday 22nd.September 2008

A trip to the local refuse/recycling depot was on the cards today , so I thought I would combine it with a stroll around the nearby South Norwood Country Park . Many years ago , when I was a kid , it was Elmers End Sewage Farm , but things have moved on since then .The site is right on the borders of Bromley and Croydon , and is managed by the latter . It is surrounded by Elmers End BR and Tramway Station , Croydon Arena and Beckenham Crematorium . A small stream , the Chaffinch Brook runs through the site , feeding a man made lake , before heading towards Clockhouse and joining the Beck , after which Beckenham gets it's name .
Being so close to housing , the site is heavily used by dogs and dog walkers , with the obvious results . I was amazed by the large stands of Michaelmas Daisy , an introduced species from North America . Great swathes if it , throughout the site . The prize for the most eyecatching shrub on the site would have to go to this Spindle , with it's pink fruits and leaves on the turn as well . All the berried trees and shrubs have already got a red hue about them .
A good hour's walk over the whole site , produced just one specimen of fungi . I mentioned the other day that numbers have dropped during this dry period , but this was ridiculous . At least it was something different , Coprinus comatus-Shaggy Ink Cap or Lawyer's Wig , and I think you can see how it gets it's name .
Very few birds were seen or heard on the visit , apart from the expected Tits , Corvids and Wood Pigeons It's been some time since I last visited , but it was renowned for it's Kestrels , which you could almost stroke as you passed under them , no sign today at all , in fact as we passed one of the Kestrel nest boxes , a squirrel was making himself at home . It might be some time ago , but I remember a juvenile Red Backed Shrike staying for several weeks , and for a couple of years running , Bearded Tits overwintered in the small reedbed . No sign of Shrike , and the reedbed is almost non existant , so no overwintering this year .
The one chance of seeing birds was thwarted , when we arrived at the lake to find a group of BTCV volunteers working around the edge on one side , removing willow and digging up/replanting reeds . On the other side of the island there were 3 Grey Heron , all very twitchy ,
and ready to take flight for the least reason , together with a group of Tufted males , not looking
quite so dapper now that the breeding season is over . Also in Newcasle United colours , were several Canada Geese .
The best sighting by far on the lake , were three Shovellers , two males in eclipse plummage , and one dowdy looking female . One of the eclipse males pictured below .
A small flock of Black Headed Gulls in their winter plummage , occupied a shallow sand bar to one end of the lake .
Apart from the Michaelmas Daisies and the odd thistle , the vegetation was all green , so it was nice to find a bit of colour alongside the stream .
Just starting to come into flower was this Bistort-Polygonum bistorta , a member of the Dock family , and the book says it should flower into October , so that should bring some cheer . As we left the lake and headed back to the car , the Canada Geese decided to leave as well , but much more noisily than our departure .

After lunch , and before the sky threatened , and produced rain , I had a quick look at High Elms . A couple of Speckled Woods , no sign of the Buzzard that I fleetingly saw on my last visit . I did hear over the weekend , that it was about in the vicinity of Burnt Gorse on Tuesday and Wednesday last week . Once again , practicaly no fungi , but on the way back to the car , came across some that looked very like the young version of the big dinner plate specimens I found on the Greensand Way . These are of the same family , Lepiota , but these are L.rhacodes-Shaggy Parasol , as opposed to L.procera-Parasol Mushroom . Some more autumn fruits caught my eye before the car park , and these were the fruits of Wild Privet , surprisingly a member of the Olive family , and whilst talking of the Olive family , the Ash and Lilac are also members .

I set off home , and made it just as the first spits started .

1 comment:

Steve said...

Hi Fred...I think about 10 years ago PK (pre-kids) I went to south Norwood CP and saw Pied Billed Grebe - a North American Vagrant that pitched up - remember that? Nice bird...not seen one since (unsuprisingly) Keep up with the fungi....I am learning alot!