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Wildlife - October

A month of changeable weather, with the dampness producing a fantastic array of fungi in the woodland. These include the weird Jelly Ear on old Elder trunks, Wood Blewit with its slight slimy cap and pale purple colouring, plus the deadly (and to be avoided) Death Cap, a greenish tinge giving it away.

In the canopy tops, tiny Goldcrests arrive in numbers along with an occasional Firecrest, also a good selection of warblers with Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Wood Warbler often in evidence.

Hawthorn trees laden down with haws, sloes (Blackthorn), the orange berries of Stinking Iris and vivid pink of Spindle provide blasts of colour as well as food.

White Old Man's Beard entwines its way across the berry-clad HawthornDog Rose and Bryony, where Redwing and Fieldfare spend their day.  An occasional Ring Ouzel may join them, as do other Thrushes - SongMistle and Blackbirds.

Field Mushrooms and Parasols emerge on the downland slopes where a Bloody-Nosed Beetle may trundle. Scarlet Pimpernel sometimes flowers on the eroded paths.

Field Scabious, KnapweedWild Carrot and Fleabane still flowering in the uncut areas of the  meadows, where Linnets, Goldfinches and Yellowhammers are often feeding on the seeds of Teasel, Woolly Thistle, Bristly Ox-Tongue and umbellifers.

Look for Meadow Pipits, Grey and Pied Wagtails and flocks of Skylarks in the meadows. Overhead late Swallows and House Martins feed up before flying southwards.

Early  morning seawatching in rough weather always produces a steady flow of  ducks - Teal, Scoter and Wigeon, plus Great and Pomarine Skuas. From the east come Brent Geese, while Guillemots may be revisiting the ledges.

The autumn is usually a good time for  watching the Bottlenose Dolphins, and often a  Black Redstart is seen around Tilly Whim caves.

Occasional late  butterflies such as Clouded Yellow or Brimstone can fly over on sunnier days, and Ivy blossom attracts Bees, Hoverflies and  Butterflies - Red Admirals, Large White, Commas or Painted Ladies.

Sea Aster and Golden Samphire may still be in flower, while in the sunny spots Grey Bush Crickets can be heard