Saturday, 26 April 2008

Summer is here!

...or at least the weather says so! We got sunburnt in the wood today - forgot that now we've coppiced there's not much shade!

Everything is getting very green now. The oaks are coming into leaf:
The thing we can't quite figure out is where on earth the 15 oaks we had thinned fitted in, because it still looks pretty crowded:
It's nice to have it sorted - the oaks that are there now will stay for decades, if not longer.

We spent the day continuing to clear up the brash and logs that are left from our mad effort to get all the felling complete by Easter. There's still quite a few piles of oak and chestnut brash dotted around:
We got to work burning the chestnut and the oak twigs, while separating the thicker bits of oak out to pile up so they can rot as a wildlife habitat. We're not including any chestnut in these piles as it doesn't really rot and nothing seems to live in or on it!
It's important that we get the brash cleared up and sort out the logs and other produce now, before the regrowth on the chestnut really gets going - the last thing we want is to do is drag stuff over stools and rip off the buds that are growing.

Someone came to watch me sorting the brash out, and came closer than two metres!
I've always found that robins love to watch people work in the woods, I think they are hoping you'll disturb or uncover some bugs for them to eat. Hopefully I provided some dinner for this little guy.

Later on in the day my parents turned up with my sister Cath - they're staying in a self catering house here for a couple of weeks, and my brother and his family are coming next week too (it's a big house). Cath got to work helping cut up branches for the fire:
Things are getting interesting out in the wayleave. The birch is almost fully in leaf now:
and there are bugs about:
Something very interesting has happened too. Remember the ruts that the tractor left extracting the timber? Well, as we've not got around to fixing them yet, they have filled with water:
And it looks like we have inadvertently created a new habitat, albeit temporary, because stuff has moved in, including pond skaters:
and this lizard, who was sunning himself on the hot dry earth before scampering off into the heather when I came to take a photo:
We're now thinking that we might hold off on filling the ruts until they have dried out naturally, to give a chance for any creatures that have moved to to head on their way.

And finally, a bit more on butterflies, which are becoming ever more common in our clearing. I saw a Peacock butterfly today, but didn't get a photo, as I was holding a chainsaw instead of a camera - d'oh!

Tracy however did better, getting a picture of this Small White:
That's all for now. We may go up tomorrow too, depending on the weather.


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