Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The weekend's work, and lots of wildlife

The highlight of the weekend for Tracy was that she discovered she can split logs with a maul! I think she'd just assumed she couldn't before - it's one of those things that if you try it in a half-hearted way it doesn't work - you have to really mean it!
While Tracy was splitting logs, I was loading longer ones into drying racks. There's still a few more racks to do, and we want to get them loaded up soon to make the most of the summer weather for drying:There were jobs to do back at camp as well, like making some kindling while dinner was cooking - it's always useful to have a pile of ready-chopped and dry small bits of wood
The summer wildlife is beginning to come out now, like this lizard:
the beetles:
And this hornet. Before you think it's just a wasp, compare it to the size of the dry chestnut leaves, or the honeysuckle leaves!
Despite it's fearsome looks, the European Hornet is apparently quite docile.

There are loads of birds around, but with the leaves on the trees it's much harder to get pictures of them. It took us 10 minutes to get this mediocre picture of a Song Thrush, but I was still pleased as this is the first one we have of this bird in the woods - they're fairly shy.
I managed to get one of a Robin too:One bird that's different is the Blackbird - now that there's some ground cover coming up, he seems happy to roam around the woodland floor near our camp:The trees are growing at an incredible rate. The buds on the coppiced Sweet Chestnut only started opening at the beginning of April, and six weeks on, each bud has become a shoot six inches long or more:
Another tree growing like mad is a Birch in the wildlife corridor that we deliberately ring-barked in the winter to create some standing dead wood. You can see how it has put out new shoots just below where I cut the bark:and the top of the tree has only a few leaves (compare it to the other Birch behind it):
On the other hand, bits are falling out of some trees - this oak branch came down in the wind:
but at other places there are young oak just starting out in life, and we've built little fences round them to hide them from marauding rabbits:
That's all for now. I'm off to Leeds this weekend for a stag party, including outdoor kart racing and clay pigeon shooting! I think Tracy may well go to the woods though.


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