Sheepleas 4 July 2024

Seventeen members attended the walk at Sheepleas, familiar for fungi events but new for butterflies. Conditions were sunny but there was wind with a cold edge that undoubtedly discouraged flight. There were reasonable numbers of Marbled Whites and Meadows Browns about but other species that should have been abundant in the flower meadows were confined with one exception to single figures. Early on came sightings of the solitary Comma and Red Admiral encountered. Later came singles of Large Skipper, Large White and Brimstone. Two Small Heaths and three Ringlets came to seem excessive. The star sighting was a dozen fritillaries flitting about at speed that obstinately refused to land in order to permit precise identification. Eventually one was spotted on the ground and after a long wait it lifted its wings to reveal the tell-tale splodges on the underwing that clinched it as a Dark-green Fritillary. The butterfly species count came to eleven, accompanied by the same number of bird species, mainly heard, that included a tuneful Garden Warbler.

Sheepleas 19 October 2023

The annual fungi walk initially looked as though it would be continuing the autumn trend of rain-reduced events. However on a very gloomy morning a two hour reprieve from the precipitation unexpectedly greeted the nine members who ventured into the woodlands. There no less than 35 species of fungus were waiting to be found though as a result of the prolonged period of wet weather their colouration was not as bright as might be expected. Old favourites such as fly algaric, turkey tail, saffrondrop bonnet and magpie inkcap were present though perhaps in reduced numbers. Other species caught the imagination for their appealing names, blushing bracket, velvet shield, burgundydrop, jelly ear, bleeding broadleaf, wrinkled crust, deceiving bolete and fiery milkcap being excellent examples. Others gave a clue to their edibility with appellations such as poison pie and funeral bell. The resumption of the rain coincided with the return to the car park where all agreed that the two-hour circular walk had been time very well spent.