Monday, 20 October 2014

Volunteer work

Brambles and other undergrowth were the target of our volunteers earlier this month.
 

Andy and Eric rescued this oak tree which was surrounded by marauding brambles.
 

A spot of refreshemnt after a job well done.
 
The main work party cleared the path leading out to Vilner Farm along the Jubilee Way again

 
 Meanwhile Steve completed his path near post 10 with a generous layer of woodchip. 

 
This is now a virtual motorway.
 
Come on people.  Come and use our paths and help keep them open with your tramping boots.
 
 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Robin's song

 
One bird that you will hear singing right through the year is the robin.  You will probably recognise the bird when you see it, but you are more likely to hear it.  Try this excellent video from 'TelsWeb', which I found on youtube.
 
 
As well as the sweet fluty song you may hear a 'tik tik tik' call from somewhere in the bushes.  This is what is usually referred to as the alarm call.  It means the robin is feeling cross or frightened.  If a magpie or squirrel or cat is around the robin may sound off.  Have you heard this?  The link below is from 'Shirls gardenwatch'.  So thank you Shirl  - and Tel.
 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Owl Prowl

On the evening of Tuesday 28th October Ian McGuire of 'Wild Owl' will be leading an informative walk round Filnore Woods, telling us about Owls.  Meet at the Leisure Centre at 7.00 pm.  Wear warm clothing and boots and bring a torch.  It's part of the South Gloucestershire 'Discover Festival', which has over 200+ events.  Check it out on www.southglos.gov.uk/discover-festival.
 
The three most common owls in Britain are the Tawny Owl
 
 
the Barn Owl
 
 
and the Little Owl
 
 
For more info about British Owls see Ian McGuire's website www.wildowl.co.uk.
 
 
Of course we must not disturb owls in their natural environment - see below.
 
Found on a 'Paperlink' birthday card
Thank you 'Paperlink'.
 
 
 

 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Children behaving badly

 
On Sunday the children in the picture were found in a group throwing stones at the tool store and at the trailer next to it.
 
They had previously been seen cycling through the woods. A 'jump' had been made out of the pile of woodchip, which had been heaped up right across the path near post 11.
 
The rear panel of the trailer was torn off.  It was eventually found buried in wodchip as part of the bike jump, which has been dimantled.
 
    
 
I was able to re-attach it to the trailer although the bottom board was damaged.
 
 
Much of the wood stored alongside the tool store had been flung into the nettles
 
 
along with five plants in pots, only two of which have been found.
 
 
Some missing equipment was found in the stream bed.  
 
 
The police have been notified and it would be helpful if anyone could identify any of these individuals so that a proper investigation can be carried out.  Any of the young cyclists who have been using this part of the wood might be able to shed light on the names and whereabouts of the perpetrators.
 
Filnore Woods is meant for the quiet enjoyment of all.  No-one has the right to spoil the place for other users.
 
I had hoped that the bikers would use the place responsibly but as we have found in the past (a) they ride fast without consideration for walkers, small children or dogs, (b) the use of bikes damages the paths, especially in wet weather.
 
So regretfully we have to ban bikes in Filnore Woods.  It would be helpful if anyone using the Woods could tell bikers that
bikes are not allowed in Filnore Woods
 
If enough people say it they may get used to the idea.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Invasive plants

I suppose any plant that does well and spreads can be called invasive.  We could just as easily call them 'successful' plants.  However, if we want to maintain a varied collection of plant species and a lot of different habitats for invertebrates and other creatures, we have to 'control' the dominant plants to give the others a chance.
 
So the hogweed with its statuesque seedheads is one.

 
 And creeping thistle with its creeping roots and it seeds carried by fairies - or thistledown more prosaically.

 

 
The Friends of Filnore Woods expend a lot of energy trying to prevent brambles taking over the grassland.  At the end of the summer they send out these long looping stems to root in the grass and form new plants.  (The brambles, I mean, not the FFW.)

 
 Even oak and ash, the main trees at Filnore, keep trying to turn grassland into wodland.
 
Acorns planted by jays produce tiny oaks that if left become mighty trees.

 
 And ash trees produce so many ash keys that they can turn up anywhere.


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Path cleared again

 
The path through the rosebay and bramble in the part of Filnore Woods known as the tree nursery field gets overgrown very quickly.  So our stalwart volunteers set to.
 
 
The arisings were stacked, either to be burnt later or to be allowed to rot down. 
 
 
The entrance near post 13 now looks much more inviting.


 
And the path is pleasantly passable as far as post 14.

 
But we needed a second work day to clear the jungle . .
 
 

. . . up past the row of beech trees . . .
 
 
. . . as far as post 15, which had, by the way been broken off and removed.


 
More debris was stacked up.
 
 
 
But this time it was all burnt.  The brambles burn well and once the fire is hot the grass will burn too.   It's not an ideal solution but with the composting site closed, we have to dispose of the arisings somehow.  And bonfires are fun.  In a people-free untamed wilderness fire would be a normal and natural if infrequent process.  So we can think of ourselves as a force of nature.
 

And to complete the job, post 15 was found and re-installed.
 
 
 






 


Monday, 22 September 2014

Hip hip hurrah - an autumn stroll


 
Rose hips shining on their thorny stems. 
One of the sights of autumn.
 

 
There's so much to see at this time of year so try and get out for a stroll while the good weather lasts, even if it's not sunny.
 
We have wild pear trees fruiting in the pylon field.


 
 And a different sort of fruit - the ash keys which carry the seeds all over the place.  Although we know about ash die-back threatening to kill 90% of our ashes, whichever trees survive will quickly re-colonise, I am sure.



If autumn seems like a sad time to you, with leaves falling to the ground and so many plants dying back, take comfort from the signs of next year's spring.  Already the hazel catkins are showing, ready to grow into 'lambstails' in January and February.


 
Speckled wood butterflies are still on the wing.  I tried to get close to these two sitting on dock leaves but they fluttered off.

 
One was still parked when I clicked the shutter but you can see his pal just taking off.

 
Signs of mammal life.  could it be a badger dropping?  I'm not sure but it was full of the remains of berries.

 
I can't resist another shot of Old Man's Beard.  In the pic below you can see flowers and seed pods on the same plant.

 
The garden cross spider females are fattening up with eggs for next year's spiderlings.  She will die in the frosts and never meet her children who will hatch out in the spring.  Sadness and hope together.