Monday 18 April 2022

Spring arriving in the woods

This is always one of my favourite things to spot in Spring - the first Wood Anemone flower in our woods (taken on 19 March):

2022-03-19 13.47.07
I've also got quite a few interesting videos of wildlife on the trail camera! But first, let's rewind a bit, because back in February there was Storm Eunice! The storm knocked over some coppice stools towards one edge of the woods, which we've cleared up to some extent but will go back to later - we're converting some to firewood, and others to dead wood to leave on the ground. There was some more immediate damage to sort out though, like this holly branch that was blocking the footpath:   
2022-02-18 16.34.43
More of  a problem was this two-stemmed coppice stool that had also blown across the footpath. This was sad to see, as we'd saved this tree when coppicing here over a decade ago, to allow it to grow on to become larger. But, the intention was to fell it at some point for timber, it would never have stood for decades with two stems, so I guess the wind just did the job for us:
2022-02-18 17.19.19
2022-02-18 17.20.07
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Tracy and I cleared a path right away, on the afternoon of the day the storm hit, when the wind had died back a bit:   
2022-02-18 17.38.27
And then a few days later I carefully removed the stems, and the stool settled back into the ground:   
2022-02-25 15.24.24
2022-02-25 15.24.32
There's also been a flurry of firewood deliveries, so we've been collecting the last of the wood cut in winter 2018-19, which is very thoroughly seasoned now!    
2022-03-14 14.04.18
Some was processed straight into the trailer for delivery:   
2022-03-14 16.02.59
The rest was moved round to our main area for storing timber:   
2022-03-14 14.30.03
2022-03-14 14.52.44
I've also been experimenting with using my bike trailer to move timber through the woods, as a way of reducing the use of fossil fuels:   
2022-04-11 15.24.08
Moving on to the wildlife, here's three recent videos from the trail camera, showing wild boar, bats (surprisingly!) and a lovely close up of a Roe buck (male deer):


As you could see in the final video above, there's a brilliant carpet of Wood Anemone right now: 
2022-03-24 13.50.51
The trees are coming into leaf too - here's some Birch just opening up in mid-March, the Oak was a couple of weeks later, and Sweet Chestnut after that, over the Easter weekend:
2022-03-19 13.52.43
Up in Sweep Wood, where we coppiced just over a year ago, the ground is now looking very green again:   
2022-04-11 14.07.36
And by early April the Bluebells were showing. They're usually a bit later in our woods than some other places nearby, because of the local geography.   
2022-04-11 14.08.21
There's been some warm, sunny days too, so quite a few butterflies out, like this Comma and Peacock:  
I was pleased to get a nice shot of this Buzzard overheard too!   
Winter did have a sting it its tail though, this photo was taken on 1 April!   
2022-04-01 08.41.30
Back at home Pete has been enjoying this playground (some old cardboard packaging): 
2022-01-11 12.49.07
We also brought him a 'tree' home from the woods. At first he needed to be tempted into it using millet:  
2022-04-03 08.09.26
But now he flies straight into it and perches there!   
2022-04-07 16.04.38
And finally, sunset on Camber beach in late January:
2022-01-29 16.28.47
That's all for now. Mike

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Saturday 16 April 2022

Final days at Dungeness, and a new job!

It's taken me a while to get round to this post, but things have been busy! The day after I finished my fixed-term part-time job as a Ranger at Dungeness, I put in an application for another job, and am now on the point of finishing work at Ashden after over 15 years there! I'll be working at Citizens Advice 1066, leading on energy efficiency and energy advice projects. Part-time though, so I still have time to spend in the woods, of course.

But let's get back to my final days doing the Ranger job. Despite being mid-winter, there were still some nice days in December as the end of my contract neared:
2021-12-28 14.54.35

I'll certainly miss spending long days in the unique shingle environment there, which looks barren but is incredibly diverse when it comes to plants, insects and birds.
2022-01-03 14.07.17

2022-01-02 15.23.35

I did have a special treat in my final week there, with this bin lorry managing to get stuck: 

A breakdown truck came to help get it out, and it got stuck too....

Quite spectacularly stuck! People don't seem to realise that the shingle goes down for many metres...

It took a second breakdown truck to pull the first one out, and between them they got the bin lorry out too, several hours after it got stuck!

I can of course go back to Dungeness any time I like, and one of my first trips there after finishing was to try some night-time photography. This is Orion, from the end of the boardwalk at the Point of Dungeness, taken using multiple exposures combined into one image using Deep Sky Stacker:
Orion, from Dungeness

And then a few shots around Dungeness, showing the lighthouses, power station and some other buildings:



And finally, I popped back in late February to see what Storm Eunice at done to the Dungeness A power station!
2022-02-27 15.41.35
News from the woods coming up next... Mike

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