It's been looking rather autumnal on Skipwith Common over
recent weeks, with the amazing seasonal colours of the birch and oak trees
lining the tracks through this beautiful NNR. The Common is a great place
to visit if you fancy a fairly ‘easy’ walk, whilst keeping an eye out for the
wildlife that live there, there’s always plenty to look out for.
whilst we’ve been working on the reserve we’ve come across some weird and
wonderful fungi – including the well known Fly Agaric and the aptly named,
Orange Peel. Like its name suggests, the orange cups often resemble discarded orange
peel strewn on the ground, often on embankments or slightly raised ground, or amongst
grass and herbs at the edge of woodland. If you spot one there will probably be
more nearby, with it being a species that usually grows in clusters, and although
it is widespread in the UK it isn’t a particularly common species – feel free
to let us know if you spot any fungi or other wildlife when visiting the
Common, either on here or our Twitter account, thank you.
The Common is also a good place to enjoy Jays at this time of
year, as they are easier to see now the leaves are thinning and whilst they are
busy stock piling acorns for the winter. Winter flocks of tits and Lesser Redpoll
can also be seen roaming around the site, usually staying high in the tree tops
– listen out for the high pitched and rather nasally calls of these flocks,
which may also have something else with them.
warblers, such as Chiffchaff and Blackcap, sometimes follow the flocks
searching for food, with both having been seen recently moving around in tit flocks.
In the next few weeks we also expect to see an increase in wintering Woodcock,
with these birds coming across from Eastern Europe and Russia, to winter with
us on the Common, whilst our scrub clearing team flushed a small Jack Snipe
from one of the wet heaths last week. Please keep dogs on leads when visiting
the site to reduce disturbance at what is a difficult time of year for many of
our wintering wildlife – and to avoid disturbance to the livestock
(Hebridean Sheep and Exmoor Ponies) that help graze the reserve.