The Wednesday volunteers joined, by Andy Lee worked on the fallen tree in Pony Wood on Wednesday. The trunk and larger branches were sawn up and left in situ, the smaller branches were taken into the wood to make a hedge of brash: although dead wood is good spread around a woodland to rot down naturally, too much can cover ground flora, encouraging perhaps brambles to grow over it to shade out lower plants. It can also cause a problem for access for management in the future. Stacking brash either in heaps or rows is beneficial to small mammals, birds, insects etc, but a row or hedge can create corridors through the wood to connect to outside boundaries etc. Eventually they compost down with mosses, lichens and fungi to increase nutrients to the woodland floor.
Mandy Bannon sent this message by email:
Mike took this photograph of a writhing bundle of big orange caterpillars – yesterday ( July 11th) on Pony Wood – Aldcliffe Rd path. It was about 5 yards down from the bend where the bench is (on Flora field side of the path). If you zoom in, you’ll see above the caterpillar masse is a fine cobwebby structure that they appeared to be leaving.
Do you know what they might be?
On our routine monthly inspection yesterday we (Oliver and Glenys) found quite a number of flourishing plants among the Flora Fields stubble, which had been sown in the arable crop last spring. Some flowers were visible in July when the crop was high, but they seem to have been given a new lease of life by the crop removal at harvest time. They are fairly clearly visible from the footpaths, in two strips paralleling respectively the Canal boundary and the Long Pads boundary. We identified Corn Marigold and Cornflower quite easily but were unsure of the other two – possibly varieties of Chamomile? Can anyone identify these (apologies for photo quality!) ?
This appeared to be the game the Wild Park cattle were playing in Cromwell’s Pond (Hay Meadow) yesterday! Attraction was the tasty bulrushes. Rather distant phone photo was taken after some of them had drifted off to find alternative vegetation to munch.
The big task of collecting the hay bales.
Three of the rustic volunteers involved!
Yesterday, 5th August, the barley crop was harvested. The view shows the hive of activity in front of Aldcliffe mountain.
Can anyone identify the bird who has been cheekily walking along the plinth outside our house!?
Whilst preparing for the Ragwort Working Party yesterday morning a woman passing by told us that she had seen baby barn owls at dusk on the top of the shed stone wall. She said that they and their parents could be heard calling to each other in the trees. We looked and listened after the volunteer session last night but without result.
Newly observed flowers include teasels in the Orchard:
The first of our wildflower plugs in flower: greater bird’s foot trefoil:
And what I think is bloody crane’s bill in the Hay Meadow