Winter wildlife has started to return to Broadwater Warren in the last few weeks. Look out for flocks of finches on the heath, a mixed flock of 40+ chaffinches and linnets has been seen feeding on the heathland near gate 1 and you never know if a brambling might be joining them. The odd redwing and fieldfare has also been seen feeding on site, these numbers will probably increase over the coming months. Last year there were flocks of 100+ feeding on the heath and berry bushes.
On our fungi walk last month we found a good range of species including a few new ones for the reserve. Although not a new record for the reserve one of my favourites was this nicely patterned fungi called the Deadly webcap, so named because even the smallest bit ingested can cause kidney failure! Only one specimen of some of the species seen was collected to show the participants on the guided walk the identification features and they were placed back on site. Please remember to leave fungi where you find them, as a lot of invertebrates rely on the fruiting bodies for feeding or their life cycle.
Our last dormouse check of the year was very productive with 16 being seen in the box. They were all very good weights so will hopefully survive the winter. Normally over 15g is sufficient for them to survive depending on the weather conditions and we had one female which was 35g! We also found 7 crammed in one box, 2 adults and 5 juveniles. The picture below of 2 in a sandwich bag is because we need to weigh and sex the dormice before returning them to their nestbox.
The heathland was looking particular picturesque last week with the morning due on hundreds of spider’s webs across the heath.
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