Monday, 25 June 2012

Battle Great Wood (TQ765163)

This weekend we decided to explore Battle Great Wood.

This is a very popular wood for visitors and combined with the relatively good weather on Saturday (23rd June) it meant that there were lots of dog walkers, ramblers and horse riders out enjoying the woodland.

At the start of our walk we saw a few meadow brown and speckled wood butterflies, but it was this pristine Brown silver-lines moth (Petraphora chlorosata) that caught our attention.

(Picture Heather Martin 23/062012)

It has been a good year for Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsia). Their flower spikes are noticeable all along the rides.

The orchid flowers bring out the bumblebees too. Here we have a White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum);
(Picture Heather Martin 23/062012)

And a Southern Cuckoo Bumblebee (Bombus vestalis).

If the common spotted orchids have done well this year, then the Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) have done even better.

Once the rapid growth begins then the woodland ride edges flourish with life.

Hoping to exploit this marvellous living resource is the funnel web of a spider;

And there she lurks at the bottom of the funnel; think of it as a three dimensional web.

A commercial woodland plantation can often be rather uniform, but it can also lend itself to majestic free standing trees like this Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) a tree native to north-western North America.

(With thanks to Kate Harris of the Forestry Commission for the tree ID).

Along the rides we also saw this Longhorn Beetle (Strangallia melanura);
(Picture Heather Martin 23/062012)

Many Hoverflies like this one, which is possibly (Chrysotoxum bicinctum).

And a Mullein Moth caterpillar (Shargacucullia verbasci) feeding on Common Figwort (Scrophularia nodosa).

Another highlight of our walk was a flock of noisy Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra), I had never seen (or noticed) these birds before.

 More on Crossbills at the RSPB Website

With thanks to Dave Monk, Martyn Parslow, Rod Taylor and Heather Martin for providing photographs, insect, plant & songbird identifications and much encouragement.

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