Friday, 7 March 2014
We are very grateful to dog walkers who bag up their dog's faeces and take it away. There are two well-used dog-bins just by the field gate of the car park. Thank you.
But I'm afraid bagging it up and leaving it on the ground is not much good. The stuff will be nicely preserved inside its plastic bag. Really it's worse than not clearing up at all.
I found four parcels this week.
This one was easy to retrieve, nicely placed by the noticeboard.
But this one has been around a while. It's easy to see but hard to reach in the middle of a bramble bush.
Unfortunately we have to pick these offerings up and take them to the bin ourselves.
So please pass this message on: "Bag it up and TAKE IT AWAY".
Monday, 3 March 2014
There are four main reasons we cut trees at Filnore Woods.
1. To coppice trees so that they re-shoot and produce numerous stems - this is especially done on hazel.
2. To thin the number of trees so that they don't grow too tall and spindly. Expect to see more of this thinning in future as we have allowed our trees to grow a bit too close to each other for too long.
3. To make paths safe and passable by cutting off projecting branches that could poke out an eye or rip a coat.
4. To remove fallen trees and dangerously leaning trees. We have had to cut off several willows, silver maples and some dogwood stems in the old tree nursery, that had fallen across paths.
The photo below shows a dead stem on a silver maple tree in the former Northavon tree nursery near post 16. (In the photo you can see post 16 through the gap between stems.) This dead stem needs to be cut off before it breaks. As well as being dead it's leaning at an angle of 20 degrees from the vertical.
The silver maple behind and to the left is alive but the stem is damaged and it's leaning at about 45 degrees. I have been keeping an eye on it and it appears to be subsiding. So I'm afraid it will also have to be felled soon. We don't want anyone getting injured.
And this beech tree near post 14 surprised us by up-rooting last week.
High winds and soft, wet soil probably helped, but there must have been some weakness or decay in the roots. Most trees don't fall over.
Some small branches have been removed so you can get past. We may use the trunk wood to make a bench seat later in the year.
Friday, 28 February 2014
As the nesting season is supposed to start on 1st March, I thought I'd check the eight nestboxes we put up last spring (see blog post for 18/3/13). Well we know one had been broken up but I could only find four of them. It's not immediately obvious to me how to tell if they are occupied.
But something has been happening on this one. Either a nuthatch, a woodpecker or more likely a squirrel has been trying to make the hole bigger.
The nest boxes are for small hole-nesting birds like tits but what I did find was loads of nests in the trees.
Some are probably pigeons and maybe we have some crows. The ball-shaped one (photo below right) is a magpie, I think. They include a roof on theirs.
Some nests are quite close together but I don't think we have a rookery yet. Rooks prefer bigger trees - and they make a lot of noise.
These trees certainly need thinning out, don't they.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
I came across this gallant little flower in the Valley woodland just above post 9.
Then I noticed a little bunch of primroses lower down the slope, surrounded by hundreds of waking celandine plants with their heart-shaped leaves.
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Photo: Simon Harding
Crow Garlic is the commonest member of the onion genus in the wild. A whole lot of them are colonising the woodland near the pylon at Filnore.
Photo: Simon Harding
The leaves are like chives but the flowers in May and June are less spectacular. Sometimes they just produce little bulbils instead on the top of the flower stalk.
These bulbils or little bulbs can lie dormant in the soil for a long time and then become new Crow Garlic plants.
Monday, 17 February 2014
Simon pointed out to me that there is an advantage in winter for mammal watching: their burrows and holes show up better when there is less vegetation around. He took these pictures.
Probably a rabbit's entrance
A hole for a vole? in the middle of the picture.
Another rodent's front door
Thursday, 13 February 2014
We know that someone's awake.
Moles seem to be very active in the welcome area just inside the main entrance to Filnore Woods.
Bad news if you're a worm, but it's good to have evidence of some mammalian wildlife at Filnore.
According to BBC Nature, where I found the picture, they can create up to 20m of tunnel in a day!