Sunday, 8 December 2013
These little balls of pinky-white fluff with long dark tails are constantly on the move in small family groups.
photo: London Bird Club
You may not see them at first but you may hear their high-pitched squeaks "dibbedy-dee" "dibbedy-dee", which they use to keep together.
They have tiny beaks, bushy black eyebrows and 'peppercorn eyes'.
photo: Roger Wyatt, Oxfordshire Bird Log
We know that they nest at Filnore Woods because we found a nest in the brambles. See the post for 29th March 2012.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
In a community woodland, a variety of activities take place.
I wonder whether this sudden crop of pallets and padded seats is for a housebuilding exercise or a bonfire.
As long it doesn't harm the tree or spoil other people's enjoyment of the woods, let's see what happens. It must have taken some effort to get these materials here.
Does anyone know what is going on?
Sunday, 1 December 2013
Here's another berry spotted today in Filnore Woods.
The Spindle Tree produces coral-pink berries divided into four quarters. When the berry splits open, the bright orange seeds hidden inside can fall out.
Spindle twigs are four-cornered, square in section, and very straight. This made them good for skewers and for spindles for hand spinning.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
A memory of last summer and a foretaste of next spring
One o'clock, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock . . . . . . dandelion clocks are a good way of calculating the time. You can decide what time it is for yourself by how hard you blow.
And away go the tiny seeds on a downy parachute. Several flowers per plant and hundreds of seeds make it a wild flower which is very successful at spreading --- or a weed as we often call successful and common plants!
Sunday, 24 November 2013
Fieldfares have now been recorded again at Filnore Woods.
I last mentioned them in my post for November 5th last year. You may have heard the "chack, chack" squawks of them in your garden if you have left fallen apples on the ground. They come to us every winter from Scandinavia and northern Europe.
Fieldfares are large grey thrushes with long tails and they will sometimes be feasting in flocks on berries, in the company of the smaller and slightly shyer Redwings, another Scandinavian thrush species, which, as you may have guessed, have reddish-brown patches on their flanks and under their wings .
I often think Fieldfares look rather more severe than redwings. It must be that dark patch around the eye. Redwings have a white eyebrow stripe and another stripe across the cheek.
To hear their calls listen on 'Brett Westwood's Birdsong Recordings'. There is a link on the right of the blog page, below the blog archive, headed <Helpful links>.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
I took a few pics on my stroll round Filnore Woods. Even on a dull day there is colour in the woods and fields. As the leaves die they in turn will feed the growth of next spring. Living and dying goes on all through the year, each dependent on the other.
Although it can overwhelm other plants, bracken brings an attactive splash of colour right through the winter.
Dogwood leaves are still painting the woodland edge.
Guelder Rose shines with both golden leaves and scarlet berries.
Rosehips glow like scarlet jewels.
Do you see a white patch along the path?
Somebody killed a pigeon here. If it was a fox, the feathers would have been bitten off but it looks to me as though the feathers were pulled out. This would suggest a bird of prey made the kill.
There are still flowers to be found. This pignut flower I found the other day usually shows between May and July. But like the buttercup I found recently (29th Oct), it's having a late flowering.
And here is a mystery. We haven't planted any horse chestnut trees and there aren't any nearby. So who planted a conker here? Was it a squirrel? or a jay? or a human?
Saturday, 16 November 2013
Last Sunday a team of ten Filnore Friends set to work widening paths and making a first cut of hazel coppice. Here are a couple of hazel stools, as we call the cut bushes. (plus Mr Darcey the dog rushing helpfully around)
The twigs are trimmed off. You can see them stacked on the right in the photo below. The remaining poles of various thicknesses and lengths will be put to work.
One of the uses is to edge paths and to make steps. These steps near the wooden footbridge were fixed in place last year, which made the path a bit easier to negotiate. We shall be doing more where the path is steep.
The handrail of the bridge had been snapped somehow so it has been temporarily repaired
On the other side of the bridge our workers cut back the overgrowing sides of the path. The wider the paths are the less wear they get. Use the sides of the path, if you can, rather than churning down the muddy middle. This will help to keep them open.
Thanks to Gemma for the photos.