It was another glorious sunny winters day and for my visit I decided to start by having a little amble around the north section of the common. I started off in this area by checking some of the Bramble bushes looking for leaf mines but I had know joy. That said there were lots of examples of Violet Bramble Rust on the leaves. This is a common fungus that causes the reddish/purple blotches on the leaves.
Violet Bramble Rust (Phragmidium violaceum)
Another fungus I noted during my mooch about was Velvet Shank. This is a species that produces fruiting bodies throughout the winter and when younger the caps can be a radiant orange colour.
Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)
On the bird front I added 3 new species to the year list in the part of my visit with Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush and a ♂ Kestrel all becoming welcome additions. Also of note was the sheer number of Robins present. It almost seemed like there was one on every other bush! Although a common species of British breeding bird their numbers increase further still in the winter time with migrant Robins arriving from Scandinavia to winter in the UK.
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
I then decided to head over to the Lower Poolands car park and walked a circuit around the southeast section of the common. Here I added three more species to the bird list with a Jay, 2 Rooks and a Cormorant. The latter flew over heading southwest towards the general direction of the River Severn. A Pied Wagtail also flew over heading east.
Again I spent some time looking at Bramble leaves and this time it paid off as I found the leaf mine of a Stigmella aurella micro moth.
Leaf mine of Stigmella aurella on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)
For more information on leaf mines the following website is an excellent resource: