Little Elms, opposite The Elms is a fragment of woodland which we have recently opened up to both foot and mobility scooter travel. A path leads through the trees and on to the Jubilee field.
The Little Elms is mixture of ivy-clad Ash and Sycamore trees, interspersed with several conifers. In the winter, the noisy chattering of Mistle Thrushes can be heard frequently, with the melancholy song being heard in late winter. Mixed flocks of Tits forage high up in the canopy with the occasional overwintering Chiffchaff amongst them. In the pines, Goldcrests can be heard squeaking as they look to glean small insects from the needles. The clattering wings of roosting Woodpigeons is a common sound during this time.
In Spring, butterflies such as Speckled Wood and Holly Blue flit and dance in the sunny glades. All the while, several species of bird make use of the nest-boxes provided. High up in the canopy, Great-spotted Woodpeckers drill into the bark. On a still evening, this can be a good opportunity to see Pipistrelle Bats as they actively forage around the borders. Returning migrants use the small woodland, in particular, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers may be found sallying in the open spaces. Firecrests are another species to watch out for, the high-pitched song usually drawing attention to the tiny bird.
In summer, the bramble flowers attract lots of insects. Willow Emerald Damselflies can be observed perched on exposed branches whilst Southern Hawker dragonflies patrol higher up catching prey on the wing. Early autumn migrants such as Crossbill have been known to drop in and feed in the conifers.
Autumn brings more excitement to the Little Elms. Numbers of migrating passerines such as Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs pass through, often flitting between the Elms and Little Elms. Scarcer species such as Wood Warbler can occur during this time. Again, Flycatchers use the boundaries of the woodland, hawking out into Jubilee field before returning to a perch. Goldcrests and Firecrests are particularly fond of the ivy and conifers during this time and amongst them, Yellow-browed and Pallas’s Warblers have potential to be drawn in. Migrating finches such as Siskins may also use this space. The last butterflies may also be seen flying in warm days with Red Admirals, Commas, and Speckled Woods all likely to be spotted.