Friday, 13 January 2017

Winter toadstools

Throughout Filnore Woods we maintain 20 marker posts to help you find your way round the self-guided trail.  
Near the leaning Silver Maple is number 16 leading you between two plane trees.


Not far away is another tree which has unfortunately suffered some bark damage.  
A broken decayed stem had to be sawn off.  


If you look closely at the sawn off stump you can make out some toadstools of the fungus called Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes).


Here are some photos of a more spectacular specimen I saw in Leigh Woods last week.  
The Latin name means 'little flames with velvet feet'.  


 Each stalk is covered in dark brown velvet at the base.



Velvet Shank is one of the few fungi to survive winter's cold.






Sunday, 8 January 2017

Brambles cut back

Friends of Filnore Woods volunteers cleared back the brambles which were encroaching on the far side of the site at Filnore Woods.  You can see how much they cleared  by the long row of 'arisings' and the brown, grassless ground that was previously covered.



Looking up the hill


And looking down


We have now disposed of all those bramble stems, so that the grass and wild flowers will be able to thrive again and walkers will continue to be able to use the path in comfort.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Winter flowers

I went for a walk round Filnore Woods, determined to show you all that even in winter there are flowers to be found.  Disappointingly the only floral items I discovered were hazel catkins.


  Even these are still closed up but later in January they will stretch out to look like THISSSSS.

 

Searching around you may find other trees with nascent catkins such as alder, birch, and even oak and walnut, though these latter two are less conspicuous as yet.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Jack Frost the artist

A sunny, frosty morning is what winter should be like, so seeing this sunbeam lighting up a patch of frosted grass I was drawn out.


The little frost crystals seem to cluster at the tip of the grass blades.  Now why is that?


In amongst the grass are old leaves from last year.


A hazel leaf edged with white


 But not all leaves are dead.  
The veins on these nettle leaves are left green while the rest is frosted. 


On a flatter bramble leaf there is an even scattering of frost granules.


And primrose leaves are outlined with sugary icing.  
A promise of spring flowers to come.



Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A step change

The path up from the Valley Woodland to the Viewpoint is fairly steep and in wet weather was becoming slippery.  So we installed a dozen of our locally grown steps.


Before and after

The poles were from our coppice so we first had to work out how to space out the available material.  

Here is Alan solving the puzzle. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.


The sides were placed first and then the steps cut to fit.


Hazel pegs were driven in to hold everything in place.


Here's Roger drilling guide holes and Will nailing the stakes to the poles to secure them in place.  Plus dog Mia lending a helping paw.


Lastly the stakes were sawn off flush and then woodchip, brought up from our pile, was tipped behind the risers to produce steps.  Derek in action below.


From scattered poles to useful steps.


Extra photos supplied by Derek (he with the woodchip bag)















Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Shell shock


This is a corner of our tool shed container, which we call The White House.  Originally painted white it is gradually toning in with the landscape thanks to rust and the growth of algae on the paintwork. 



But a few days ago I noticed a strange pattern  .  .  .



White trails through the grey-green algae



I think it has been caused by a snail or snails eating off the algae and thereby cleaning the white paint.  The jagged marks must be where the snail has been moving its head from side to side as it crawls along, scraping off the algae.  The spikes suggest that some of the tracks were formed on the way up and some on the way down.



Snails eat with a sort of rasping tongue called a radula.  You can see it on this video.



Or you can see it for yourself by smearing some flour and water on a sheet of glass.  Put a snail on the glass and watch from underneath as it feeds.




Saturday, 3 December 2016

More autumn leaves

Further to my posting of 26th October, here are some more autumn leaves.  In photo 1  there is one large PLANE leaf contrasting with NORWAY MAPLE leaves and one cherry leaf  (the small green one).


Photo 2 has a PLANE next to smalller, finely divided SILVER MAPLE leaves.


Golden brown BEECH leaves are slow to rot down and can suppress plants trying to grow below beech trees.


Photo 4 shows golden yellow ASPEN leaves, almost round and with scalloped edges


Lastly here are the heart-shaped leaves of SMALL-LEAVED LIME, still on the tree.


An extra identifier for lime is this small bunch of seed-containing fruits attached to a leaf-like bract, now all turned brown.