Sunday, 14 August 2016

Repairing a culvert, butterfly spotting and a slow worm

The culvert we built 5 years ago in Sweep Wood has been in need of some maintenance... The downstream end had silted up, and the wooden 'kerb' had shifted:

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The upstream end was a bit clogged up with debris too:
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First step was to dig out all that debris, so I could get to the pipe to clear silt out of it:
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Same again at the downstream end, which took a while due to the quantity of silt:
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With that done I cut a new log to use as a 'kerb', and also made some stakes, all produced from wood we cut last winter just a short walk from the culvert:
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I drove the stakes in with a post driver, cut them off, then re-pointed what was left over to make a extra stakes to drive in, Hopefully this will hold the new kerb in place for some years:
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Here's the finished result, which will be much easier for people to walk over, and for me to drive over when the time next comes:
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Just along the path from there is the area we coppiced last winter, which is growing back nicely now:
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What's really striking is how many butterflies are there, when there would have been none a year ago. Here's a ragged looking Meadow Brown:
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A couple of shots of a Comma:
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And a Speckled Wood. In addition to these I also saw a Red Admiral, a Peacock and a Large White, but they didn't sit still for photos.
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Back at the camp in Chestnut Coppice I was surprised to see a slow worm in the wood store when I went in there to get some logs after dark, but nice to know we've provided a dry home for it. I've also disturbed a wren sleeping in there at night as well!
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That's all for now...

Mike

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The beginning of the end of the seasons?

OK, you may think the title is a bit dramatic, but from what I've just been reading, some unprecedented stuff has been happening to the jet stream in June 2016, and we really don't know what the end result will be.

As you may know, the jet stream circles the Earth in the upper atmosphere in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Due to the poles warming up, the jet stream has been more erratic in recent years, and been meandering around a bit, sending weird weather further south across Europe and other places. However, heat at the equator causes air to rise, effectively forming a barrier which the jet stream cannot cross, separating the two hemispheres. But not this summer, when a climate-change-boosted El Nino has now transitioned into the related La Nina. The centre of the image below image (taken from here) shows the jet stream crossing the equator from North to South.


There's more info in Robert Scribbler's blog here, but the general idea is that this is allowing summer and winter air to mix, and it has never happened during the time we've been watching the jet stream. The impact is unknown, but it could in theory reduce the differences between summer and winter, and potentially make our climate and weather even more unstable.

If you're interested in further background, there's an interesting 15 minute video here, but be warned it is quite technical!



Mike

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

The woodland turns white and blue...

The woods are now at an especially beautiful stage, where for a week or two there are both Wood Anemone and Bluebells out:

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The whole woodland floor has really greened up:
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The trees are catching up now as well. Birch are always pretty early coming into leaf:
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As is Hawthorn:
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But the Oak is now catching up too:
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And even the Sweet Chestnut has some leaves appearing:
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It won't be long before you can't see very far through the woods, as the leaves fill in the gaps and create shade.

Meanwhile, our tame pheasants are still busy gobbling up any spilled seed from the bird feeder. Here's the male one keeping a watchful eye over his two females!
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Mike

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Springtime in the woods and a happy pheasant

The woods are finally waking up to Spring! The Wood Anemones have got going, despite my worries they were developing slowly compared to the Bluebells:

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But the Bluebells are on their way out too:
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As is the Broom in the wayleave
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And a wild Daffodil in Sweep Wood:
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The trees are getting going too, the Willow in the wayleave is in flower, with lots of catkins on display:
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The Birch trees are quite well into leaf now:
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And the Hornbeam is getting started:
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Here's the area we coppiced over the winter, which is now looking very green!
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The wildlife is busy too, lots of Bumble Bees around:
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And at least one of our tame pheasants is still around - they always make this noise when they eat the seed we've left for them:


Looking forward to some more sunny days in the woods soon!

Mike

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Friday, 25 March 2016

First bluebell bud this Spring

Last weekend in the woods I spotted the first Bluebell bud! I guess it won't be long now before we get our first flowers...

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The Wood Anemones are still struggling though, there's the odd one around:
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Most don't have any sign of flowers, and a bit sparse this year:
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There's been a lot of boar activity in the wood recently, but I think there must have been some deer around too, from the gnawing on this Ash tree, unless anyone has other ideas about what might have done it?
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The rabbits have been at it too, grazing the Bluebell leaves:
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Mike

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