OUT DOOR FIELD TRIPS 2016
OUTDOOR FIELD TRIPS 2015
27th December. Kinver. Leader : Geoff Lambert
13 people set off from Kinver village on a murky but mild day heading towards St. Peters church.
After a fairly stiff climb we reached the church which was shrouded in fog, to my surprise we
noticed the daffodils in the churchyard were already out.
I have never seen them out so early but
having had the warmest December for many years both flora and fauna are confused. On reaching
the trig point on Kinver edge, the normal view of the Malverns, Sheepwalks and Clent hills were
lost in the mist. In spite of the weather, there were lots of people out walking, many taking their
pet dogs along the edge. We reached the N.T. car park at Kingsford country park for our coffee
stop before moving on for the rest of the walk. Being on lower ground, we had clearer conditions
to enjoy the surroundings and in spite of all the rain endured these last few weeks, so far mud had
not been a problem. That was soon to change as we climbed a stile and into a heavily churned up
field, this was followed by even deeper mud where we had to negotiate a brook, fortunately there
were no mishaps and soon we were enjoying lunch. Holy Austin Rock forms part of the sandstone
outcrop of the edge and for many years the 'Rock Houses' were inhabited. In recent years the N.T.
restored 2 of the dwellings and they are now inhabited again. There is also a tearoom, not open in
late December but well worth a visit from Easter onwards.
It was directly below these 'houses' that I took a group photo before heading back to the car park.
The following birds were spotted on the walk...... Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robin, Rooks, Crows and a
Buzzard [flying low near us].
21st March Himley Leader : Andrew Milligan.
I had led field trips to Himley and Baggeridge several times over the past few years. We had been early in the year for snowdrops, in the spring for the bluebells and wild garlic and we had seen the orchids in the Summer .This was however, our first time to see the wonderful carpet of Daffodils [Narcissus pseudonarcissus] on the slopes of the Himley woodland and in the woodland itself. The 20 members and potentional members were not to be disappointed on this second day of Spring! Apart from the daffodils, a truly unforgettable sight, there were several patches of the blue Spring Squill [ Scilla verna]to be seen as well as a surprising clumps of Snowdrops still in flower. Here and there were a few Winter Aconites [Eranthis hymalis] and Lesser celandine [Ranunculus ficaria]. Also the easily overlooked Dogs mercury [Mercuralis perennis] with their greenish white tiny flowers were growing by the path. Most of the birds were noted either in Baggeridge or near the lovely cascades. Here we saw Robin [Erithaeus rubecula] and Long –tailed tit [Aegithalos caudatus] whilst the Great Spotted Woodpecker [Dendrocopus major] had been heard drumming in the woods. The chief interest on the Baggeridge Lakes are the waterfowl and as usual Mallard [Apas platyrhynopos] , Coot [fulica atra], Moorhen [Gallinula chloropus], Canada goose [Branta canadensisi] and Mute Swan [Cygnus olor] were observed. We watched a pair of dabchicks [Tachybaptus rugicollis and a Tufted duck [Aythya fuligula]. Sadly the Grey Heron noted the previous day had disappeared.
Baggeridge also revealed some of the first sightings of the year of Spring flowers namely Primrose [Primula vulgaris], Coltsfoot [Tussilago farfara] and Cowslip [Primula veris] in bud : the latter two in the teasel field.
It had been an enjoyable and rewarding morning especially as It gradually became very warm when the clouds passed by . I hope that the two new potentional members will be encouraged to join, impressed as we all were by the display of daffodils in the Himley woods a sight which will be long remembered and so close to home.
2nd May Wyre Forest . Leader Olly Cadman
The weather was dry but very cloudy, but we had high hopes of sunshine when we started our walk. From the back of the old railway-line car park, just above Dowles Brook, we made our way into the woodland, and were rewarded, very quickly, by wood anemones, primroses and bluebells. ThIs was a lovely colourful start to our walk. Between the trees we saw wood spurge, dogs mercury, garlic mustard and hairy bitter cress. We continued from the wood to where a small tributary forms a pool and then we walked up the tributary for a couple of miles. Thankfully what is usually a very muddy track was easily negotiable after a few days of dry weather preceding our walk. And what an array of wild flowers greeted us - honeysuckle, dog violet, bilberry, pond sedge, hard fern, herb Robert, wood sorrel, celandine, barren strawberry, golden saxifrage and woodrush. How grateful a lot of us were that we had 3 very knowledgeable naturalists with us who could point out unusual wildflowers and plants. At the top of the tributary we joined a wide forestry track and walked down to the old railway line track. We found so many different species on the forestry road - dog violets, Jack by the hedge, ivy leafed speedwell, bugle, bog stitchwort, yellow pimpernel, thyme leaved speedwell and native archangel. On the railway track we found a very convenient log on which to sit and have our lunch. On a short walk along the railway track we saw stitchwort and vetch and in the woodland leading down to Dowles Brook, we saw wood woodrush, wild garlic, cowslips, early dog violet, dog’s mercury, lady’s smock and ground ivy. The remainder of the walk was along Dowles Brook and still we saw many different plants, namely Silverweed, blackthorn, bitter vetch Goldilocks buttercup, meadowsweet, woodrush and wood sedge. Our birders were not idle, but there was limited scope for them on this walk. They did see a wood warbler by the tributary and a wren and on the forest track, robins, chiffchaff and nuthatch. The only other item of interest was the wood ants and their amazingly large nests. The sun did come out for a while, but we were pleased to get back to the cars and make our way home after a very interesting and educational walk.
16th May – Belvide – Leaders Brian and Pauline Jones
Some 20 members and guests met at 43 Horsebrook Road Brewood on a sunny but cool morning. Having walked through the quiet lanes, spotting swifts and a kestrel en route, we arrived at the entrance to The West Midlands Bird Club Belvide reserve to be greeted by Colin McShane the well-known local bird expert and ringer. He was immediately able to show us a handful of seven great tit chicks which he skillfully drew out of a nesting box and carefully replaced. As we walked through woodland he explained that the 74 hectare reservoir was owned by the Canal and River Trust and used to top up the nearby Shropshire Union Canal. It is managed in association with English Nature and West Midlands Bird Club as a nature reserve. Much work has recently taken place to create habitats in new reed beds and in lagoons protected by bunds to include safe nesting areas. There is, however, a current “negotiation” going on over water levels; these are too high to let the new habitats develop but the owners want to maintain these heights in case a future drought threatens canal water levels. Volunteer help is sought to clear vegetation and finish the creation of new woodland walks.
The group entered the first hide to view the huge expanse of water, spotting great crested grebe, shell ducks, pochard, terns and plenty of coots, a number of which were sitting on nests out in the water. We did see a family of little coots. En route to the second hide we were lucky enough to see a pair of swans fussing over a clutch of six very new cygnets on the water’s edge and later, a rather lonely black swan. There was a lot of birdsong: chiffchaffs, willow warbler, blackcaps, whitethroat, wrens, sedge warblers, robins, blue tits, chaffinches and blackbirds. Other birds seen were Canada geese, mallards, moorhens, great crested grebes, little grebe, herons, gadwall and shelducks.Most of the party moved on to see a different view from a third hide in which we partook of our packed lunch whilst observing lapwings flying and swooping in display flight, cormorants and common terns . We also watched tree sparrows. These are special as there aren't many about. Swifts and swallows were flying. Several common terns were there. A pair of oystercatchers had a chick. We were shown the areas used for netting and ringing birds and saw and heard common sand pipers amongst the reeds. Butterflies seen included: peacock, orange tip, small white and green veined white.
Sheila Moore recorded some plants for the new Flora including Alliaria petiola [Garlic mustard, a food plants for the orange tip butterfly] , Angelica sylvestris, which prefers damp areas and Carex pendula [pendulous sedge] and Carex sylvatica [Wood sedge]. Several speedwells were seen including wood, Germander and field.
All gradually made their way back to the car park and to No. 43 where tea and cake were served. BJ
30th May Brewood - Barnfield sandbeds and surrounding area. Leader - Pauline Keates
A group of 10 people met at Brewood Scout Hut and proceeded to Barnfield Sandbeds. This disused sand quarry was for many years used as a dump for all manner of waste, including chemicals. The soil is very poor and shallow. Now it has been taken over by Staffordshire County Council and is a Nature Reserve. We found an abundance of wild flowers, including Red Campion (Silene dioica), White Campion (S. latifolia) and hybrid Pink Campion; Lesser yellow trefoil (Trifolium dubium), Creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans), Birds foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus),Common vetch (Vicia sativa); Dovesfoot, Cut-leaved and Pyranean cranesbill (Geranium molle, G. Dissectum and G. Pyrenaicum) and Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) The pond, still in its infancy, has been planted with marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), water crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis), Lesser water spearwort (R. Flammula), Bogbean (Menyathes trifoliate)and Yellow Iris (Iris pseudocorus). We walked across two crop fields to Horsebrook where Wild garlic ( Allium ursinum) and Bistort (Persicaria bistorta) lined the brook. Our lunch stop was a field in the sunshine surrounded by buttercups ( R. Acris), Ragged robin (Silene flos-cuculi), Lady`s smock (Cardamine pratensis) and Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa). My rucksack also acquired a hitch hiker of a Cardinal beetle! Next we proceeded towards Shutt Green, following the stream where we saw Fools watercress (Apium nodiflorum) and Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga). At the back of Broom Hall Barns we saw a number of farm "weeds" including Field madder (Sherardia arvensis), Scarlet pimpernel (Angallis arvensis), Common fumitory (Fumeraria officinalis) and Common poppy (Papaver rhoeas). We returned to Brewood along the canal where we saw Water figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) and Hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata). During the day we only saw 2 butterflies: a green veined white and a peacock. Birds seen were Jay, buzzard, long tailed tit, and goldfinch.
6th June Northicote. Leader : Andrew Milligan
Bad weather had forced the cancellation of this field trip last year but we did enjoy a talk about Northicote in the Autumn. Ten members met on a day with alternating cold winds and warm sunny periods for a field trip which introduced an area of Wolverhampton unknown to many. We began by going up and over Bushbury Hill where members were surprised by the gorgeous meadow which contained ,among other flowers Creeping and Meadow Buttercups [Ranunculus repens and acris], Red Clover [Trifolium pratense and Yellow rattle [Rhinanthus minor] which is parasitic on grass. The botanists had a field day here and recorded many plants for the Flora. Equally impressive were the views over to the Wrekin, Brown Clee, Titterstone Clee and beyond- a revelation to many. In Northicote we walked over fields, alongside the brook and through the woodland back to the farmhouse and the farm. It had been a lovely morning, surprisingly varied and the leader was very pleased to have introduced members to a relatively unknown [to them ] attractive part of Wolverhampton.
28th June . Chillington Hall grounds. Leader : Sheila Moore
6 people joined me on a morning that had been wet earlier but soon cleared up. We entered the estate by the Codsall Wood entrance. There are many non native trees in the grounds including Western Hemlock, Deodar Cedar and Weymouth Pine. There were several groups of Swamp Cyprus which likes the damp ground. We crossed the M54 which has Danish scurvy grass flowering along its central reservation in Spring. A common spotted orchid was found just after the bridge which was a new record for this tetrad. Yellow pimpernel was seen by the paths and several patches of Bugle. On a small island in the lake were Gunnera and Skunk cabbage, two introduced species. Further on we found Bog myrtle which has been established in a wet area for some time. Wood club rush and ragged robin were found in the wet meadow while 3 nerved sandwort and Sweet woodruff were in a wooded area. Yellow flag iris, Gipsywort and Skullcap were on the edges of the pool. I did some grappling for water plants [Potomagetons and duckweed] which also brought to light Gammerus [Freshwater shrimp] and Asellus aquaticus [water woodlouse] identified by Robin Stuttard. On the lake were tufted ducks, mallards, Canada geese and great crested grebe. We also heard Chiff -chaffs. We returned to the cars just as it started to rain having had an interesting walk. SRM
5th July . Much Wenlock Leaders : Marg and Ken Horton
21 members met at Kingswood Close on a sunny afternoon. Some members had driven through torrential rain in Bridgnorth. Our walk took us by the church alongside the Priory and onto the disused railway line. We then walked on to Windmill Hill which was covered with many flowers including Creeping cinquefoil, Ladies bedstraw, Fragrant agrimony, Fairy flax, Salad burnet, Eyebright, Yellow rattle, Pyramidal orchid, Common spotted orchid, Bee orchid, Lesser quaking grass, Milkwort, Yellow wort, Bladder campion, Rest harrow, Hoary plantain, Field bindweed, Vipers bugloss and Storksbill.
This year has been particularly good for orchids. The hill is limestone and is grazed for a short period by Shetland ponies. In the woods we saw Wood speedwell, Thyme leaved speedwell, Wild arum, Wild garlic and Nettle leaved bellflower.
1st August . Upper Ludstone Leaders : Alan & Stella Clowes
On a cloudy but pleasant morning, twenty six members and friends set out on a short walk of about 2 miles. Ample time was available to look at plants and wildlife.Views across to the Wrekin, South Shropshire hills and the Clee Hills were a feature on sections of the walk.As in previous years birds were not in abundance but House Martins, Swallows, Swifts, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Wren and Missle Thrush were all noted. A lone Kestrel was also spotted Butterflies were not as prolific this year but Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Tortoise Shell, Large White, Essex Skipper, Common Blue were seen on field margins. A significant number of ladybirds were noted and the Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar was seen adjacent to the car park at the Boycott Arms.
Those members with a particular interest in plants spent much useful time referring to books and identifying different species. Some of the more interesting were as follows.On the roadside; Wild Carrot, Horseradish, Black Horehound, Mugwort, White Campion, Fools Watercress, Meadow Sweet (damp). In the cropfields; Field pansy, Black Bindweed, Imperforate St John’s Wort, Bugloss, Nodding Thistle, Field Convolvulus, Canadian Fleabane. Finally at a field end, and probably sown – Alsike Clover, Greater Birds Foot Trefoil and Sainfoin. All returned safely at 1.00pm after an uneventful but enjoyable morning.
9th August Whixall Moss Leader : Barry Probin
In November 2014 we had a very interesting talk about Shropshire's meres and mosses and this
inspired Pat Newill of Wulfrun walker to arrange for a guided field trip of one of the mosses. We were
interested to join them on a joint field trip. 19 people met Barry Probin , a Natural England volunteer,
at the NNR base to start a fascinating historical and natural history walk.
After the last glaciation some 9.000 years ago, a large melt water lake was formed which filled with
swamp and fen plants and later sphagnum moss. A large dome of peat was formed which was to
become Britain's third largest lowland raised bog, now a SSSI and a European Special area of
Conservation. English Nature is now gradually restoring this site after decades of peat cutting
We first learned about the Carr woodland - a belt of Alders around the bog. Then we saw remains of
the Battery store of the WW2 Strategic Starfish site. We then turned to Natural History. By the acidic
pools colonised by the Sphagnum moss we saw both Ling [Calluna vulgaris] and Crossleaved heath [
Erica tetralix] which is gradually returning as Ling is retreating as the Moss is getting wetter again. Also
noted were Angelica , Round leaved Sundew [Drosera rotundifolia] , Cotton grass [Eriophorum
angustifolium] and an alien from N America Pitcher plant which will be removed. Bog Rosemary was
spotted at another pool. Whixall moss is note for its dragonflies and
damselfies. We observed White faced, Black, and common darters a common Hawker and blue tailed
and common Damselflies. It is also home to the nationally rare Whitefaced Darter but it remained
hidden but we learned that some had been collected to be introduced into nature reserves in Cheshire.
We did see two young Raft spiders for which the moss is noted which caused some excitement, as did a
row of prehistoric pine stumps. The summer has been
disappointing for butterflies but we did spot Meadow brown. Gatekeeper, Large white and a Silvery Y
moth. Birds were rare too but included, Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, Swallow, Swifts and House martins
and a group of Sparrows.
Lately the" Walkers" have shown an interest in the birds and flowers seen on walks and it was
encouraging that the "Walkers" organised this Field trip so it is to be hoped that we will have more
joint meetings. The day was rounded off with an excellent carvery at a local inn!!
30th August . Four Ashes. Leader: Paul Newton
The leader was joined by 12 members for a walk around the Staffs and Worcester canal, returning by a farm lane. The weather appeared somewhat threatening and in the afternoon we had to curtail our route arriving back just as the rain started. Although late in the season we did record 84 species for inclusion in the forthcoming BSBI Atlas 2020. Of note was much Impatiens capensis along the canal bank together with Scutellaria galericulata and Stachys palustris.
3rd October Pattingham. Robin and Mair Stuttard
Ten members gathered on a dull but dry day for a short walk near Pattingham. The theme of the walk was fruits and galls. Before leaving the car park we looked at spangle galls (two species) and pea galls on oak leaves. Progressing down Pool Meadow we saw galls caused by mites on field maple. Walking to Nore Hill we looked at the galls in knapweed heads caused by the knapweed gall fly. Excavating the chambers we found healthy larvae, larvae parasitised causing premature pupation and the remains left by caterpillars that had eaten the larvae and the knapweed head as well as leaving frass. Leaving Nore Hill we saw robin’s pincushion galls on rose. On an oak tree near the fishing pool we saw a further species of spangle gall, button galls. By the fishing pool there was an uncultivated strip of field full of late-flowering arable weeds including poppies, mayweeds, bugloss as well as annual nettle, common fumitory as well as a range of hybrids between red and white campion. Walking up to Rudge we saw many Knopper galls on oak acorns caused by a gall wasp whose first generation is on Turkey Oak that we found nearby. At Rudge we looked at a variegated sweet chestnut that had small fruits. Birds seen/heard : buzzard, yellowhammer, greenfinch, greater spotted woodpecker.
18th October Wombourne . Leader : Enid Lavender
A group of us walked from Wombourne station along the Railway Walk, then by the Wom Brook to Giggetty, along the canal to Awbridge and then back on to the railway line to the station. The weather was good and we enjoyed the exceptionally vivid Autumn colours of the trees along the route.
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