The Elms is a small plantation and one of the only areas of woodland within our reserves. It houses tree species such as Scots Pine, Oak, Elm, Ash and Sycamore. Here you may also come across some more woodland specific species such as Firecrests and Goldcrests. The Elms was planted as a refuge for migrating birds coming in off the coast as an area to rest and feed.
During the spring the floor is a carpet of Snowdrops and Bluebells. You can find birds beginning their mating routines. Dunnocks can be seen shuffling feathers in order to impress, and Robins become quite territorial. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps arrive as early migrants and can be heard singing throughout the Elms whilst Firecrests pass through at this time too. Orange-tip butterflies begin to be seen around Hedge Garlic and lots of Bumblebees, such as Early Bumblebee and Forest Cuckoo Bumblebee, forage among the flowering Green Alkanet.
In summer, the increased foliage provides a home for species such as Jay, Sparrowhawk, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. The Elms is a great spot for Comma and Speckled Wood butterflies.
Autumn is a good time to look for Flycatchers, both Pied and Spotted, and look out for ‘continental’ Coal Tits in the conifers. Goldcrests can be abundant and later on you may find a striking Pallas’s Warbler moving darting around with the. You may also find interesting invertebrate species such as the Southern Hawker dragonfly and Willow Emerald Damselfly, which are both species that prefer woodland than water bodies.
In winter, large groups of tit species are often seen here and groups of Goldfinches (and occasionally Siskins and Lesser Redpolls) feed in the tops of the trees. The dead wood and undergrowth provides opportunities for fungi to grow and lots of species can be found.