However , the monthly bird survey on West Wickham Common was due , so off I set . From the start , I knew I was going to be struggling , and , sure enough , that was how it turned out .
13 species were recorded , and 6 of those were singletons . No sign of Winter visitors , and the best of the bunch were a Great Spotted Woodpecker , 6 Rose Ringed Parakeets and a Grey Heron . I thought I heard a Heron half way round , but wasn't sure . When I got to the houses , about three quarters of the way round , there it was amongst the chimney pots . As I know from the farm lake , they usually fly off as soon as they catch sight of you , but this one wasn't bothered at all . Certainly wouldn't want a jab from that dagger-like bill . On leaving the Common , I thought I would have a look around Highbroom Wood , a long thin wood , completely enclosed on the two long sides by houses , and a stream , The Beck , after which Beckenham is named , running the entire length , between West Wickham and Eden Park . The stream runs in a corridor of Alders , which always attract Siskins later in the season , and is the only place I know locally to have a chance of seeing Redpolls . Since my last visit , it appears that a 'Friends of ' group have been doing work tidying up the woods . I just hope that their efforts don't put off the Redpolls , as I noticed from their noticeboard that they are tidying up again next Saturday .
As I parked the car , for the third day running I heard the 'chak-chak' of Fieldfares , and a small flock of 7 flew parallel with the stream above the trees . No sign of the Siskins or Redpolls , and a meagre 12 species were recorded . The best , apart from the Fieldfares were 2 Rose Ringed Parakeets and a Nuthatch . On this miserable day , even fungi was hard to find , but I did manage a couple . The first Nectria cinnabarina-Coral Spot Fungus can be found on many dead , broad leaved trees , and often found on Sycamore .The other , found on a log in the stream is Stereum hirsutum-Hairy Sterium . Most of the trees in the wood are native , but just on the way out is a stand of a North American introduced species , Robinia pseudoacacia-False Acacia , which in the Spring , produces panicles of mauve flowers , not unlike those of the Wisteria . These particular ones must be coming to the end of their time , as several have large fallen branches beneath them .
A friend of mine , loaned me an old book , listing the old/country names of common birds . I thought I would post a couple of the old/country names , and see if the reader can work out which bird they refer to . I only picked out two names for each bird , they were the ones that I liked best from the lists .
Bird 1 . Crank bird or Pump Borer
Bird 2 . Peggy wash or Washerwoman
I'll give the answers on my next post .