Saturday, 27 November 2010

First frost in the woods

Yesterday was the first proper frost in the woods. I know it's been cold in more northerly parts of the UK already, but it's a bit warmer where we are. The grass and leaves were crispy with ice, and the soil had mostly frozen solid.


In the shade, the frost actually stayed all day, so I expect it will build up over the coming week, as it looks like the weather will stay cold.

Anyway, this kind of weather is great for working in the woods, as you don't get too hot, the ground is firm underfoot, and it's often sunny. Here's the view as I arrived not too long after sunrise:

My first job was to fill the bird feeder. I also had to refill it seven hours later when I left, as they'd eaten this much in that time:

I did of course stop to get some pictures before starting work, as the birds arrived as soon as I'd filled it. Mostly Coal Tits, with one Blue Tit:





I also tried getting some fast shutter photos of birds in flight, but as the sun wasn't up very far I had to do them at ISO1600, so they were a bit noisy, but here's the results anyway:



I need to be there nearer to midday to have another go...

I heard some rustling noises nearby, and saw a pheasant trying to be inconspicuous with its white, red and blue/green head...

Coincidentally, Tracy saw a Reeves's Pheasant a few miles from the wood today. Would be interesting to get a picture of one if they spread over to us...

On to the work... as I was there on my own yesterday, rather than tackle too many big trees, I worked on some awkward Hazel stools along the edge, as these take quite a bit of time but there's not much to go wrong. I've cleared a nice gap here:

and another one here, though a few stems have been left as I need a rope on them to pull them back into the wood:

There was also some windblown Chestnut that I finished dealing with. The stool is still alive, so perhaps it will recover...

In the meantime, it made a neat vantage point to take a photo from:

Here's a view from the reference point at the bottom, followed by one from before we started:


It really does feel like the end is in sight, though there's a few more weeks to do yet, especially roping the edge trees back in.


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