A natural history trip to the heathland and bogs at Wildmoor Heath between Bracknell and Sandhurst, not far from the infamous Broadmoor Hospital. For a report on all that the group found please look here.
It is an interesting mixture of habitats including woodland; peat bog and heathland. Rather different from my normal chalk downs.
There were not that many plants in flower. Near the car was a Common Storksbill (Erodium circutarium).
In the peat bog area were some unusual plants such as Bog Asphodel (Narthecium assifragum) with rather striking seeds.
Just to prove this was a nutrient poor bog environment, Common Sundew (Drosea rotundifolia) was out to capture insects and consume them.
Another more unusual sighting was a lichen growing on tree bark. This is British Soldier Lichen (Cladonia Cristatella).
One other flower growing among the rushes was Tormentil (Cladonia cristatella)
This shot gives a general idea of the habitat, with a view over heathers in the foreground, a boggy area and trees fringing it.
Amongst the rushes were quite a few spiders. This Raft spider (Dolomedas fimbriatus) as its name suggests is happy to walk over water. Human hands are just as good though!
As a peat bog, it is moss that is important. This one is a tough and vigorous species, apparently tough enough to be used in Ireland to make twine in the olden days.
We saw two Araneous quadratus spiders but I only managed a good shot of its close relative the Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus). What lovely markings!
The star of the day was the caterpillar of the Sycamore moth, an amazing brightly coloured creature. I don't think it is poisonous, although vivid colours often indicate that a creature easy to spot is unwise to eat. By contrast the moth is a dull grey one with excellent camouflage. In the first shot the Sycamore moth caterpillar is about to disappear down a hole in an old dead branch and the second it has partly disappeared.
Reminding us that this was the middle of September was a good range of fungi. Including this bracket fungus
There were some Amarita rubescens (Blusher) which are supposed to be edible when cooked.
As this was acid and boggy ground, there were some Bilberry plants (Vaccinium myrtillus) but no bilberries.
Also Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) was in some profusion under young silver birch trees right by the path.
Another bracket fungus was Birch Bracket (Piptopros betulinus)
Finally, although a lot more fungi were around at the time, a Parasol (Lepiota procera)
Quite a good haul and an interesting location, but no Dartford Warblers or Sand lizards or Adders which would have made it a real treat.