Tuesday 20th May 2014 - Styal Woods

Our first evening walk of 2014. 10 of us met in Styal for a walk down to Styal Woods. The rain which had kept away most of the day also joined us, but not for too long, and not penetrating far through the cover of beech trees.

A friendly Red Admiral butterfly joined us just before leaving the road.

A pair of Dippers was a welcome sight near the weir. They flew off as we passed on our way out, but one returned just as we passed again on our return. Other birds included: Kestrel, Wood Pigeon, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Mallard.

Fringe Cups (Tellima grandiflora)
Fringe Cups (Tellima grandiflora)
One unusual flower was Fringe Cups (Tellima grandiflora) - a member of the Saxifrage family. A native of moist forests of North America, it has naturalised in the UK from garden escapes.

Hawthorn and Rowan were in full bloom as were Cow Parsley and Pignut. Within the woodland were Yellow Flag Iris, Herb Robert, Wood Speedwell, Bush Vetch, Creeping Buttercup, Russian Comfrey, Yellow Archangel, Pink Purslane and a few remaining flowers of Garlic Mustard, Wood Avens, Greater Stitchwort, Bluebell and Red Campion. An attractive field of Meadow Buttercup brightened the fading light.

There were a few specimens of Hart's Tongue fern and Giant Horsetail was just showing above the surrounding vegetation. Many of the grasses were in full flower: Cocksfoot, Yorkshire Fog, Meadow Foxtail, Wood Millet and Sweet Vernal Grass.

Not much (non-avian) fauna was seen - a 7 Spot Ladybird, a Brown-lipped Banded Snail and a few chocolate brown slugs (probably Arion rufus). A large, unidentified bat was seen in the old gasomter near the mill.
Mike Pettipher

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