Monday, 16 July 2018

Fox cubs, flowers and insects - summer in the woods

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering down the wayleave, photographing butterflies and flowers, when something made me stop and go back a few steps to look along a path. I'm glad I did, as this was what I saw:


After this initial look of alarm, the first fox cub trotted along

and the second one followed, not really paying me much attention

I know we see urban foxes all over the place, but I don't see them in the woods so often, so it was nice to see these two young ones. Hopefully they will take their food in the woods, and not stray into nearby farms...

Despite the hot weather and at least a month without rain, the woodland is looking great, while everyone's lawns are turning brown. I guess that's the difference between a functioning ecosystem and a typical garden!

Most of the insects don't seem to mind the heat, here's a White Admiral and Meadow Brown butterfly, followed by what I'm going to call 'dragonflies' in the absence of any expertise identifying them!




The flowers are all looking good too, here's a selection of what's sprouting up along the wayleave:




The Sweet Chestnut trees are flowering too:

And Hazel nuts are growing, though the squirrels will get these before we do I expect:

Where we were coppicing last winter, the regrowth has got going:

The Alder is much quicker off the mark than the Sweet Chestnut though:


Next door to that coupe is one we cut two years earlier, which has some nice foxgloves now, some in their first year of growth:

and others in their second year and flowering:


Finally, I've got a new toy - a Husqvarna 536LiXP battery chainsaw!
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It's been doing well so far, half a battery charge is enough to process this trailer of logs:
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I'll do a proper review on the chainsaw when I've been using it for a while...


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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Spring in the woods

As Spring shifts to Summer, here's a few pics from the last couple of months. Spring started cold, and when it did warm up, everything happened in a hurry - we had a great display of Bluebells:


We did of course have a good carpet of Wood Anemone first:

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And shady patches started to appear as the trees overhead came into leaf:


The birds have been busy too, this nesting box we put up has been used:

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And right next to it another bird built a nest, under the edge of the roof of our firewood store:

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As well as the usual work of cutting logs ready for next winter, I also finally got round to winching out two nearly-dead coppice stumps that have always been in the way when turning the car and trailer round. It wasn't easy, but not a lot can resist a tirfor winch with a pulley and a mattock:



With the holes now filled, getting in and out will be a lot easier:



Now for a summer of camping trips! :-)


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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Springtime snow in the woods

This was the scene in the woods a few days ago:


But bizarrely, just a week earlier, I'd taken photos of the signs of Spring emerging, such as leaves on this Elder:


Bluebells making good progress:


And Dog's Mercury growing well:


But the snow had come down, though not as thickly as in some parts of the UK.


I topped up the bird feeder for the small birds, and this pheasant was straight over to collect what I'd spilled...


Not much use to the treecreeper though, which went about its business looking for food in an oak tree:


Of course, not all the animals in wood get on together, I found a trail of blood in the snow too. Well, at least someone didn't go hungry...


The snow's melted now, so hopefully the progress towards Spring can resume shortly...


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Friday, 29 December 2017

Birds, drones and Christmas in the woods

The coppicing still isn't finished... there's only a day's work left to do, but I've been ill, so have had to take a break from the woodland work. I did still manage to get up there a bit for some less strenuous activities though, such as cooking a Christmas lunch for us and a friend:

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We've changed the birds' food too - they seemed to be rejecting several types of seed that were in the mix we were using in the feeder, so we tried peanuts instead, which proved an immediate hit:


I also managed to get some shots of a buzzard coming to visit, though I doubt the peanuts would be of much interest...




Finally, we also had a different kind of aerial visitor:

This was a DJI drone, brought by Nate of, who used it to carry out inspection surveys of some of our oak trees, to check branches for disease or damage that wouldn't be visible from the ground. Here's one of the videos:

Meanwhile, back at home, our cockatiels have been eating chilli peppers...

Hope you have a great 2018, see you in the New Year!


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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Nearing the end of coppicing...

With the colder weather and the lack of leaves on the trees, it's easier to get photos of birds in the woods, so here's a Marsh Tit and a Blue Tit:



The coppicing is proceeding well. Here's a photo from the end of day 1:


And here's a photo from the end of yesterday:


Don't worry if it looks a bit drastic, the trees will all grow back and while they're doing it there'll be a great habitat for the wildlife.

Here's a few other views of the area we've been coppicing this year:




There's only about 20 stools left to coppice now, but they'll take longer than you'd think as there's a lot of hazel in there, and processing it is a slow job.


Still, we should have it done by the end of the year, fitting it around work and other commitments...


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