Thursday, 20 October 2011

Chance Wood - a new year of work parties

As work party co-ordinator for Chance Wood my year starts now and runs until spring; we tend to leave the wood alone during the nesting season and late summer apart from the odd ad-hoc session pulling balsam and any other maintenance tasks that arise.

A couple of weeks ago three of us walked the wood and drew up a list of tasks for this season’s work parties.  We’ve decided to try running our meetings on a different day of the week in order to meet the needs of the majority of our members; we’ll see how it goes!

The first, urgent task for this month was to remove the large numbers of sycamore seedlings before they lose their leaves and become invisible

and before they develop into young trees in subsequent years.

This gave us a relatively easy start to the year’s work, although a couple of us worked at digging out the larger specimens by the roots; quite hard work but the soil is very dry and sandy so it could have been worse!

As we worked we were accompanied by parties of foraging tits, the buzzard mewed above us and a pair of ravens ‘cronked’ as they flew overhead; returning from dragging a pile of brash to our pile I almost came eye to eye with a sparrowhawk strafing the small birds.

Some might say that we put rather too much emphasis on the party part of ‘work parties’ but we do like a piece of cake!

Roger, Chance Wood

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Summer at Feckenham?

 I think we could all be forgiven for thinking that summer 2012 arrived early over the last few weeks.   
Common Mouse-Ear

Cut-leaved Cranesbill
Lots of plants have started to come into flower now on the reserve. After the recent hot spell I photographed these in bloom last week with others just about to burst forth. They are all in places where we did a late cut by hand a few weeks ago. The new growth and warm spell has meant that the grass, sedge and rush is now lush with many plants that would normally be in flower much earlier in the year re-appearing in these patches. 
Common Vetch
Although I've heard of cowslips and primroses currently in flower elsewhere, our cowslips aren't but they have put on plenty of strong new leaf growth so who knows, they might. 

The dragonfly laying is a migrant hawker (Aeshna mixta) which is only the 9th record on site since 1981, the last being 2005.  It's good news that they are back. 

Migrant Hawker
Visitors to the reserve will notice that our Galloways are munching their way round Hill Piece and Kernocks Middle Close but I think that the grass etc. is growing faster than they can eat it! 

Our winter work schedule is under way and we have plenty of work to keep us busy so, if anyone out there would like to join our Wednesday workparty, we would be pleased to see you. It's the last Wednesday of each month, 10.00am start on the reserve.

As winter approaches we look forward to seeing flocks of redwing and fieldfare descending on the fully laden hawthorne and if the temperature drops dramatically who knows what else will pay a visit....

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor