Sunday 8 May 2011

Woodpeckers and butterflies

When we arrived at the wood yesterday, I saw a black and white bird take off from near our camp. At first I thought it was a Magpie, as we do get them there occasionally, but when it landed in a nearby oak I realised it was a Greater Spotted Woodpecker! Sadly the light wasn't that great, but I still got some of my best photos yet of this bird, and it was great to see one down in the coppiced area by our camp - a first since we bought the wood.

DSC_7709 greater spotted woodpecker

DSC_7714 greater spotted woodpecker

DSC_7713 greater spotted woodpecker

Later on the sun came out, and with it the butterflies. I was pleased to get my first photo of a Red Admiral this Spring, and also this was the first time we've been able to take a photo of one at the bottom of the hill in Sweep Wood, as the coppicing has let the light in:
DSC_7793 Red Admiral

DSC_7790 Red Admiral

They're not the only things flying around though - there's swarms of St Marks Flies up the hill in Sweep Wood (thanks to Patrick Roper for help with the ID):

The dangling bits are just their legs:

Here's a male one landed:

Their name comes from the fact that they're often seen around St Mark's day - 25th April.

Also in Sweep Wood are lots of flowers, including some new ones since the coppicing. The Bluebell flowers are fading now, and the seed pods are swelling:
DSC_7724 bluebell seed pods

But they are being replaced by some white flowers:
DSC_7727 woodland flowers

Not sure on the ID for these, any comments welcome!

The Foxgloves are preparing to flower, though I expect we still have a few weeks to wait:
DSC_7745 foxglove bud

There's also this new one, which I think is a Stitchwort, but not sure about that:


The Buttercup is another new arrival, though I guess it will only last until the trees close canopy in a couple of years:
DSC_7755 Buttercup

The plum tree at the top of the hill finished flowering a while ago, and a strange thing has happened - not only has it been growing fruit, it's also grown some strange pods, which are now going a bit mouldy. Any comments on what's going on here would be appreciated! Here's a pod next to a fruit:

Some fruits and a pod on their own:


and here's the inside of them:

Back in our camp, the pears on one of the fruit trees are looking more conventional:
DSC_7798 Pear growing

The trees in the part of Sweep Wood we coppiced in 2009/10 are doing really well now. The trees we singled to grow on as possible future standards have a lot of side-growth, now there's more light. Here's a Sweet Chestnut and an Ash:


and even the Hazel that got chewed by rabbits last year is having another go at growing:
DSC_7767 Coppiced hazel

The whole area is really looking amazing now, a bit of a low-level jungle!



Marianne said...

You're right about the stitchwort.
The other white flower,if not cow parsley, looks like wild carrot, Daucus carrota. certainly that family.

Mike Pepler said...

Thanks Marianne, is that greater or lesser Stitchwort do you think?

I've looked at pics of wild carrot, and it's not that, but you could be right on cow parsley - I'll have to get a picture of the leaves next time - silly that I didn't do that before...

Cheers, Mike

Unknown said...

Greater Stitchwort I expect. Lesser has smooth-edged leaves.

Could the white umbel be pignut (or earthnut), conopodium majus? The leaves are little fingers, quite different from Cow parsley.


Much said...

It is Greater Stitchwort Mike. In your second photo, look at the sepals on the flower in the top left hand corner. Lesser Stitchwort has sepals as long as the petals and they are clearly grooved.

I have got Greater Stitchwort in the Wood and Lesser Stitchwort in the "Stony Field" (Where I walk Max)

Mike Pepler said...

Thanks Much. I assumed it must be somewhere else in the woods for the seeds to have been there to wake up post-coppicing in that area, though I've not seen it before. But then again, my level of observance goes up and down!

Mike Pepler said...

@Nick and Harry: I shall investigate the Pignut possibility next time I'm up there... it certainly looks like a possibility. Interested to see that Pignut has edible tubers, though I think I'd only want to try a single one, as there's not a huge amount of it growing there.