Friday, 26 November 2010

Work at Penorchard

Work has just been carried out at the Penorchard Meadows reserve to help save a rare black poplar tree.

The weight of a large limb overhanging the public footpath in the "Bogs field" was causing a vertical crack to develop in the tree's main trunk. The condition was safe enough for walkers to pass underneath the limb but the crack was widening and in danger of splitting the trunk; hornets had been seen entering the narrow crack during the summer. Arborcultural contractors employed by the Trust took down the overhanging limb to remove the weight pulling on the trunk (see before and after photographs).

Other trees in the woodland area were trimmed at the same time and the larger branches were cut into short lengths to make log piles for insects and smaller mammals (see photograph).

Volunteers from the Stourbridge group removed all of the brash from the area to keep the woodland floor relatively clear to encourage the existing numbers of broadleaved helliborine and violet helliborine to increase. 67 plants were recorded this year (12 in flower), see photograph.

John, Penorchard Meadows

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Autumn at Feckenham

We have had some excellent autumn visitors recently. Flocks of fieldfare, redwing, siskin and redpoll have all been seen on the reserve together with goldfinches and goldcrest which were flying around the main pool with a family of long tailed tits.

Our resident kingfisher has been there every day and has provided some excellent views, in particular taking a dead dragonfly from the pool surface which it struggled to swallow.

I spotted this great spotted woodpecker last week on one of the oaks in the poolside wood and last Friday we had a brief visit from a female hen harrier which unfortunatley was not near enough for a good photograph but through binoculars it could be seen stretching and preening on one of the large willow branches at the far end of the paddock. There have been three or four buzzards about and the raven flew over again last week calling as it went.

We have a regular Wednesday workparty which over the winter will continue with reedbed management and alder coppicing so anyone interested in joining us would be very welcome. We start at 10.00am and meet in the management area at the entrance to the reserve.

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Splash of colour

This mandarin duck has been providing a splash of colour on the Sailing Pool at Upton Warren over the last few days.

Stuart, Upton Warren

Friday, 19 November 2010

Chance Wood - a view from across the border!

Hidden away across the county border in Staffordshire, down a path which would have connected the old village of Stourton with the thriving village of Kinver, lies an area of unusual woodland. Planted in the 19th century as an ornamental wood, Chance Wood is dominated by large oaks and beech with specimens of yes, hornbeam, ash and sweet chestnut. The wood was donated to our Trust in 1977 by the Holmes family of Stourton Court.

In effect the wood must have been an early version of our current passion for 'wildlife gardening'. However, years of neglect led to an impenetrable palisade of sycamore by the early 1980s, not helped by the spread of the once fashionable rhododendron.
On the face of it, not a great recipe for a nature reserve but on Sunday morning when I ventured into the wood to survey the effects of Saturday's work party I was surrounded by a large party of long-tailed tits accompanied by blue and great tits, nuthatch and two tree creepers. It wasn't long before I'd addded green and great spotted woodpeckers to the morning's bird list. My ears still just about register the calls of goldcrest and it only took a few moments to spot them busily collecting invertebrates from the canopy.

Walking to the bottom of the wood I disturbed the buzzard which had been roosting in an old silver birch and heard the cronk of our local raven flying over. The yew tree in the valley bottom had attracted blackbirds and redwings to feast on the rapidly disappearing glut of berries. Clearly it hadn't taken long for the wood to recover from the onslaught of the dozen or so volunteers the previous day.
I'll try to remember to add to this blog as the year progresses and introduce you to some more secrets of this enchanting woodland and the history of its family. Within the month there will be stirrings under the leaf litter which will result in many locals coming for their annual visit. Which family member was "Shot - we think he was" and who was killed on the railway line at Llanvihangel?
Roger, Reserve Manager, Chance Wood

Friday, 5 November 2010

Wyre Forest visit to Longmore Farm

Naturalist and author Gordon Forrest recently led the Wyre Forest Local Group on a very enjoyable visit to Longmore Farm, Chaddesley Corbett.

As he took us to interesting wildlife areas he was able to share his experiences of studying them over a long period of time. It was particularly interesting to see some of the photos from his books that showed the places throughout the seasons.

Our next outdoor meeting is on Sunday 14th November with a walk around Rock led by Wenda James. We'll be meeting at 10am on the car park at the Rock Cross Inn in the village. The optional Sunday lunch should be booked in advance with Wenda on 01299 402406. Everyone is welcome to attend - for further information about the group contact Richard Cory on 01299 822748 or David Howell on 01562 741891.

See you at Rock!
David, Wyre Forest Local Group

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Worcester group is back!

Worcester Group members may be aware that their committee, having lost several long-standing and valuable members, has struggled for some time to organise activities. It got so bad that the committee didn’t have enough people to carry on and so, regretfully, no indoor meetings were organised this winter.

With backing from Community Officer Zoe and Conservation Asst Paul, a meeting was held at Lower Smite Farm in early October for anyone interested in helping to run the Group. Half a dozen people came along to enjoy Zoe’s presentation about the Wildlife Trust and our wonderful local reserves, and then to enjoy tea and cake with existing committee members and find out a bit more about what we're all about and the many different ways to get involved.

It was a great evening with a very positive result. Everyone was keen to get the committee started again and continue to provide meetings and activities for Worcester Group members to enjoy. We are now delighted to announce that indoor meetings will start again next spring at our new venue of Nunnery Wood High School, Spetchley Road, where there is plenty of free parking.

We have already arranged two special events so make a note in your diaries! On 2 March 2011 Johnny Birks will give a talk on that fascinating yet little-known mammal, the polecat, and on 6 April 2011 our very own Harry Green will talk to us about garden birds and the year-round importance of the garden habitat. The cost for each meeting will be just £2 including refreshments.

The newly-formed committee has lots of creative ideas for future indoor and outdoor events, so do please support us by coming along, having a good time, and supporting the Trust’s work on behalf of local wildlife.

It is never too late if you want to get involved! You can contact the group via the website – we’d love to hear from you.

Sandra, Worcester Local Group