Friday, 22 January 2010

Walking Damp Woodlands.

Late Thursday morning I headed to my usual parking spot near the River Mole but decided to take a totally different route. This time it was a short walk upstream and then heading uphill while trying to stay upright on very sticky, wet chalky footpaths.

Taking a brief rest at the railway bridge before the uphill journey into uninspiring woodland consisting mainly of nude grey Ash trees and a few green Yew dotted here and there. For the first half hour or so it was deathly quiet apart from the occasional 'squawk..squawk' of overflying Parakeets and  'krra..krra..krra' of the local Carrion Crow population.

The verdant green mosses covering previously felled logs and....

Ferns recolonising an old stump show just how damp the understory canopy is throughout this hillside. My journey eventually got me to the edge of Updown Wood where it borders the open farmland with a greater mix of trees including some Birch and Beech. Here the bird life began, at last, with Blue, Great, Coal and MarshTits. Then through the branches I heard a Nuthatch calling and eventually managed a couple of record shots just to prove to you that I actually saw something!


My attention was then drawn towards a group of Long-tailed Tits and scanning through the flock I eventually located 3 Lesser Redpolls (another tick for 2010) but only a rear end shot..not for publication. 

View over the open farmland and river valley to the 'posh' houses on the opposite hillside.

Lots of 'Old Man's Beard' (Clematis vitalba) decorated both sides of the trackway as I headed

downhill and out into the open fields to see Green Woodpeckers, Jackdaws and several Mistle Thrushes with Redwing feeding amougst the stubble field.

On the way home I stopped at Epsom Common Pond, still partly frozen over, and no water life at all.
Only met one dog walker...not surprising with these underfoot conditions. On the edge of the woodland I heard the thin repeated call of a Treecreeper which then flew onto a nearby tree but quite high up.

This is the first time I've attempted to capture this well camouflaged species and the shots in this collage are all cropped slightly.

Finally the reflective quality on the little pond devoid of any fishermen.

Hope you all have a good wildlife watching weekend.  FAB.


  1. Nice series! I always like to go on these walks with you to see what you see!

  2. I agree with Montanagirl. I felt I was walking along side you feeling the cold. Love the Nuthatch.a bird I hardly ever see. I also took a record shot of a Treecreeper today...not an easy bird to see let alone photograph.

  3. I see why they call it "Old Man's Beard". Looks just like mine did till I trimmed it nice and close a couple of days ago.

    I really like all your reflection pictures lately.

  4. Thanks Mona. It's always a pleasure to hear that you are with me.

    The Abbot. Cheers Trevor, I suppose it is what I do best..walk and watch and then snap, if I remember! The TC is great to watch but I agree a b***** to capture.

    Richard. Yeh, I used to grow mine longer some years ago...sorry you probably meant the Clematis!
    Low light levels, calm days and sometimes I just see a reflected image that I like. Appreciate the compliment.

  5. I truly felt like I experience every bit of this walk w/ you! Loved all the different images you capture - that water reflection was perfect!
    Also, love your stunning blog header!

  6. Hi Shelley. I'm delighted that you followed my footsteps. The water and rushes shot was just a quick snap..I'm also glad it came out so well.

    The snow has departed (for now) so may be time to change the header soon. Anyway, thank you.

  7. Frank, a very nice representation of your walk! Love that you have nuthatches also, they're quite the busy-bodies..and the creepers too. Well done! We have 'old man's beard' here, it's called Western virgin's bower, clematis ligusticifolia, very similar.

  8. Jann. We may be miles apart but still there are many things in nature that are similar for us to share.

  9. This is the sort of post that inspires me to get back out and explore the woods in my area.I chuckle when I see photos not for publication.The vast majority of mine fall into that category.The reflective water pond shot is terrific!

  10. Nice to see a Nuthatch Frank, I haven't seen any this winter. Those Treecreepers are not at all cooperative are they.

  11. What a lovely walk..thank you! As I sit looking out over a frozen white expanse, it's nice to share a little vicarious warmth.

  12. Beautiful post, Frank. I wish I had this trail here. I loved the moss-covered logs and ferns, and your Tree Creeper shots are wonderful!

  13. Is that where you live Frank, in the posh houses. :-)

    Some good lakes you visited today, might get a nice surprise species there this winter.

  14. Larry. If I was really honest with myself a lot of the pics I have posted would probably stay unpublished. Sometimes you try so hard and nothing works the way you hoped, but that's birding verses photography!

    Roy. I hear the Nuthatch more often than actual sightings almost all year round. You're dead right the TC's always have another agenda, but it's fun trying.

    Susan. Glad to share a little bit of 'green' for you. Love the snow but I think aftera while the constant white and grey would drive me insane. Stay cheerful.

    Kelly. Thank you. I'm just as jealous of the Little Miami Bike Trail and a few other locations!!

  15. Warren. In my dreams!! Unfortunately everywhere I looked it was mostly Coot and more Coot but who knows next time.

  16. Hi Frank,
    Well done on the lesser redpoll and on the tree-creeper... This little things are not easy to put in the box!!! Your pictures are very nice and I realize that you are probably colder than we are nowadays... We have 10°C and rain and have been having that for few days!!

  17. Lovely Shots Frank,my favourite has to be the Nuthatch.

  18. I love damp woodland.....the smell alone is enough to pull me into the magical world that exists there.
    Moss, love it. I have a damp garden, moss, fungi, lichen grow in abundance...beautiful.

    Nuthatch and treecreepers are great little birds. I had a treecreeper in my garden last year and managed to post a good image.

    Lovely post........

  19. Not easy to photograph Treecreepers! A good try :)

  20. Hi Chris. Similar temperatures here today but expected to get cooler again.

    JRand Sue. I'll get one up day. Cheers John.

    Cheryl. Nuthatch or Treecreeper in the garden here would be a 'mega' sighting. I'd love a woodland garden but unfortunatel the space is far too small.

  21. Hi Penny. Hopefully I'll get a better closer view sometime!

  22. Well done on the Nuthatch and treecreeper - neither of which are easy subjects.

    Would't surprise me if sales of Wellie boots have exceeded sales of all other footwear this year ;)

  23. Some great images of your walk Frank, makes one feel we are there with you.Treecreeper is a hard bird to find here in West Cornwall seem to get more in the North of the County.

  24. Hi Tricia. Well my wellies have had more outing in the last few weeks than most of thier life!

    Hi Monty. Never mind you have all these other rarities to keep you occupied at the moment.

  25. I'm playing catchup Frank. Love the top photo!! It's so nice when you can actually catch up to the bird you hear in the woods and get a shot off. Nuthatch and Treecreeper were great. Wish you could have gotten that Redpoll, next time! Your walk was wonderful and I was glad to be taken along.

  26. Hi Eve. Glad you found time to pop over. Always great to hear from you.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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