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Unusual or exotic trees : The Quince, Cydonia oblonga.

Unusual or exotic trees : The Quince, Cydonia oblonga.

by Chris ~ 22 March, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The quince is endemic (native) to south west Asia, the Caucasus; an area occupied by countries like Turkey, Georgia, Northern Iran, Azerbaijan, and Armenia - where it can be found growing on rocky slopes and woodland margins.  The quince can survive in a variety of climates.  It even flourished (in historical times) in the heat of Mesopotamia, however,  in order to flower properly it needs to experience a cool or cold period when the temperatures drop below 45oF.

It belongs to the Rosaceae (Rose) family, which also includes apples and pears.  The fruit of the Quince is not dis-similar to a pear but it is generally larger, ‘knobbly’ and a bright ‘golden yellow’ colour.  The tree itself can grow to a height of 5 to 8 metres and to a width of some 5 metres.   Read more...

March’s Monthly Mushroom: Frosty Bonnet (Mycena tenerrima)

March’s Monthly Mushroom: Frosty Bonnet (Mycena tenerrima)

by Jasper ~ 15 March, 2019 ~ comments welcome

There are not many signs of mushrooms about at the moment, as we transition to a time of emergent Spring greens and Monty Don back on telly. Resupinates  continue to flourish in the dank places beneath logs, while the remnants of certain brackets  persist on trunks and stumps. Nevertheless, aside from a few notable exceptions, like St. George’s Mushrooms or Morels, there won’t be many of the more obviously mushroom-shaped fungi around over the coming few months.

Read more...

Disease in American deer - chronic wasting disease (zombie deer disease).

Disease in American deer – chronic wasting disease (zombie deer disease).

by Chris ~ 27 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) affects deer, sika deer, reindeer, elk and moose. It was recorded in the wild in the United States some forty years ago, but had been seen in captive deer back in the 1960’s. Now the number of reported / observed cases is increasing; it is spreading in the United States and Canada.  Some 24 states in the U.S  and two Canadian provinces have recorded cases.

Chronic wasting disease also known as ‘Zombie Deer Disease’ affects the central nervous system of the animal.  The deer experience loss of co-ordination, weight loss, bouts of extreme aggression. And eventual death.  It is a neuro-degenerative disease.  The affected animals have a ‘wasted appearance’ and a ‘vacant stare’. Read more...

The mite that kills honeybees - Varroa destructor.

The mite that kills honeybees – Varroa destructor.

by Chris ~ 22 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The woodland’s blog has repeatedly reported on the state of honeybee populations and the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder / syndrome.  Three principal factors have been held responsible for the decline in honey bee numbers :

Amongst the parasites, various viruses have been associated with decline - such as deformed wing virus (DWV), sacbrood virus (SBV) and black queen cell virus (BQCV).  These viruses are spread within the colonies (hives) by the activity of mites, specifically the varroa mite.  It has generally been assumed that whilst the mite feeds off of a honeybee (by hitching a ride on the bee), it did no great harm.   However, recent work by Samuel Ramsey et al (formerly at the University of Maryland) suggest that it is the mites’ feeding activities that are ultimately responsible for the death of the bees. Read more...

When the Earth’s forests burned.

When the Earth’s forests burned.

by Lewis ~ 17 February, 2019 ~ one comment

Some sixty six million years ago, much of the Earth ‘caught fire’.  A large asteroid smashed into the Earth (on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico).   The force of the impact has been estimated to have been a billion times greater than the force of the atomic bombs deployed at the end of WW2.   The impact of the asteroid and its effects were devastating, resulting in catastrophe on a global scale.   The event has been mainly associated with the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Immediate to the impact, rocks and material was ejected high into the atmosphere - as this material fell back to earth, searing heat was generated and fires were ignited; indeed, intense forest fires were ignited certainly across the Americas.    Read more...

Woodcock Wood's Buzzards

Woodcock Wood’s Buzzards

by Chris Saunders ~ 15 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Well, not ours exactly …. but during the spring and summer it’s rare for us not to see and hear the buzzards. In Woodcock Wood they fly above our backdrop of Corsican pine and make forays across the chestnut coppice, occasionally perching in the tall oaks. With open fields behind the pines, this makes the perfect habitat for this beautiful bird.

We are lucky that Woodcock Wood is a small but central part of their territory. We see them most often in spring when the pair renew their vows in noisy and beautifully aerobatic courtship displays. It’s usually their calls that attract our attention, and then it is a privilege to watch their mastery of flight in these displays. Read more...

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

by Jasper ~ 11 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The mushrooms, toadstools or fungi that attract the most attention tend to be the more colourful, exotic, rare, recognisable or tastiest types. The Clouded Funnel can lay claim to none of these virtues. They are as common as muck and, while at one point considered edible, are now seen as best avoided for the table.

Nevertheless, despite the prevalence of the species in both coniferous and broad-leafed woodland environments, this belle laide of the mushroom world does have its charms if you are prepared to look more closely. Read more...

Unusual or exotic trees : the crab apple or wild apple tree.

Unusual or exotic trees : the crab apple or wild apple tree.

by Lewis ~ 1 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Throughout the U.K, there are various apple trees in our hedgerows and woodlands.  Some of these are crab apple trees (Malus sylvestris), some are cultivated forms of apple (Malus domestica), some are Chinese Crab Apples (Malus hupehensis), some Siberian Crab Apples (Malus baccata) and others are hybrids somewhere in between.   The Chinese and Siberian Crab Apples were sometimes planted by the Forestry Commission in and around picnic areas and conifer plantations. Read more...

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