I managed two short visits today , one either side of lunch . This morning's was to High Broom Wood at West Wickham , a long narrow wood , following a small stream , The Beck , and completely lined on the two long sides by houses and gardens . At the entrance is a notice board , and details of the local residents that have 'adopted' the wood as a Friend's group . Their stated object , 'to look after the wood for local families and dog walkers to enjoy'. Right under the notice board was a pile of fly tipped rubbish , and walking round , the local gardeners seem to use the wood as a dumping ground for their unwanted plants and other material . At one point , down by the stream was a pile of dumped container plants , with the root ball still in the shape of the container that it was growing in . Cuttings , that could be composted and returned to the soil lay at the back of nearly every back garden fence , and in the surrounding areas , evidence of garden plants that have colonised the woodland as a direct result of the dumping . Little wonder that native plants are in such danger of hybridisation from such selfish behavior .
It wasn't even a good visit for wildlife , with very little bird life found , until a movement down by the stream , produced a Grey Wagtail , working it's way upstream , looking for anything eatable . A terrible shot I know , but the stream is lined with towering Alders , with grey skies and constant movement from the subject , it was the best I could get . Under what could well have been another pile of garden cuttings , I came across another underground Common Wasp's nest . This one was not so busy as the last , the cooler temperatures reducing the activity . Just one butterfly was recorded , a Speckled Wood . The only other thing of interest was found amongst the debris brought down by the recent winds , close to where I parked the car . It is the fruits , a nut within leafy bracts , of the Hornbeam-Carpinus betulus , a member of the Hazel family . Obviously , these have not yet ripened .
After lunch , I visited Spring Park Pond , and must admit , the sun almost got out a couple of times whilst I was there . I wasn't expecting to , but managed to record 4 species of butterfly , 3 Small White , 2 Large White , 1 Speckled Wood and one chilly looking Small Copper , hanging on for dear life in the middle of the meadow . Two species of dragonfly were recorded , a single Common Darter and 2 male Southern Hawkers , knocking seven bells out of each other every time they met . I checked the Bramble areas hopefully for Wasp Spiders , to no avail , but whilst checking one web , a fly flew or was blown into it and the resident Garden Spider made sure it didn't get away . I walked back to the car along the hedge that we layed over a five year period , and it was pleasing to see how well it is doing , especially where Spindle was planted , and now is showing off it's pink fruits , that will split open in time and reveal it's orange seeds , that will hopefully produce more Spindle plants .