September 12, 2010

This week in wildlife

To Wimbledon Common today, which for the most part still looks summery, especially on a bright, warm day like today. Recent rains have left the ground damp, though, and everywhere there are mushrooms and fungi, from bracket types to puffballs and, in the woods, a fairy ring surrounding one old holly, which looked healthy enough but was probably doomed. 
We found a badger sett deep in the woods. There was sand around two of the entrances, too yellow-looking to be from underground; most likely it had been left there by somebody hoping for prints. Scout stuck her head into the holes as far as she could and came out wild-eyed and excited. We did find musteline claw-marks, but not in the sand, which for the most part had been disturbed by dogs and people; a few yards away, though, were some shallow scrapings in which the marks of long nails could easily be seen.
The long grass of the open areas, partly green, partly tawny, has stopped growing, and here and there the heather is out. Despite the rain the pond near Wimbledon Village is low; as we left a small, dark heron was stalking its margins, his head a perfect spear perfectly poised.