It's been a while since I described what has been happening in Chance Wood. We've continued to work on rhododendron and sycamore control and eaten plenty of cake!
This January we've taken the plunge and started to repair the fence along the public footpath; every previous attempt to make temporary repairs has soon resulted in the wire being cut and little messages written on the posts to the effect that the wood should be open for mountain biking! We've put off attempting more serious repairs until we've been able to gather enough material to make the new fence more difficult to dismantle. John's masterpiece of posts, wire and woven dead-hedge looks pretty substantial but only time will tell if it will stand up to a determined attack.
Our Reserves Officer, Andy, joined us this month and checked the wood for any dangers, particularly in the form of dangerous trees over-hanging the pathways. There is a little non-urgent work that we have now got planned for later this year. As is often the case Andy commented that although Chance Wood is a small reserve it has a great variety of substantial trees, it's always worth taking the time to stand back to admire them.
Yesterday, after the rain, the wood was full of birdsong. In particular two of the larger oaks held a flock of over 100 redwings making enough noise to fill the wood, then going silent before they changed trees, a process that was repeated several times.
There were good numbers of the normal woodland birds; blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits, nuthatches, a treecreeper, great spotted woodpeckers, goldcrests and a pair of colourful bullfinches. Blackbirds and robins were joined by mistle and song thrush, it was good to see a flock of 50 starlings just outside the wood and a number of chaffinches, which had a pretty bad year last year.
The snowdrops are appearing again in small groups and we look to see what effect the mild winter will have had.
Roger, Chance Wood