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Woodland web updates (3).

Woodland web updates (3).

by Chris ~ 14 January, 2021 ~ comments welcome

Big Garden Birdwatch.  Once again the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is about to swing into action.  This year , it will take place from the 29th to the 31st of this month.  To take part, you just need to count the birds that you see in one hour.   Details and guidance are available here : https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/everything-you-need-to-know-about-big-garden-birdwatch/ 

Butterflies (and moths).   If you are interested in adding to your knowledge of wildlife, then the Butterfly Conservation people not only offer guidance on identifying moths Read more...

Woodlands web updates (2)

Woodlands web updates (2)

by blogs at woodlands ~ 3 January, 2021 ~ 2 comments

Holly and ivy have seasonal connotations, and due to climate change they are probably looking quite lush and vigorous at present.  Studies have shown that in recent times, holly has spread further north in Europe than ever before - ‘pushing forward’ by some eighty miles since the 1960’s.  Ivy too is on the move, growing vigourously.  However with both plants, their growth can come as a threat to other woodland species, smothering some (Ivy can grow to great heights using its tiny adventitious roots) or when growing horizontally it can affect the herb layer.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/dec/16/plantwatch-holly-ivy-and-how-warmer-weather-boosts-christmas-plants Read more...

swift brick

Swift-bricks: fancy sex in a swift box or in flight?

by Angus ~ 24 July, 2020 ~ comments welcome

Swifts are amazing creatures - they migrate from Europe to Africa and back every winter, they cruise at 70mph and in a lifetime they might fly a distance equivalent to three return trips to the moon.  There is some question about where swifts actually mate - it is certain that they can copulate in mid-air, but they also routinely mate at their nest sites.  Possibly mating on the wing is a lightening quick liaison between individuals that are paired with someone else - a case of a 'swift quickie', that may have the effect of widening the gene pool - even if it's a long shot.  Despite all their aerial stunts, they spend about a month every year incubating eggs or brooding chicks on a solid surface such as a ledge or crevice, an old nest or a specifically designed swift box or swift brick. Read more...

Birdwatch 2020

Birdwatch 2020

by Chris ~ 21 April, 2020 ~ comments welcome

The RSPB has organised the Big Garden Birdwatch for some forty one years.  This year’s event took place back in January (25-27th) and some eight million birds were recorded.

The most counted garden visitor this winter was the house sparrow with nearly 1.3 million sightings over the weekend.  This was good news as the sparrow has been in decline for much of the time since the inception of the BGB.  After the sparrow count, starlings were the second most frequently sighted and then the blue tit. Read more...

Birds at Woodcock Wood: A Conundrum for the Summer

Birds at Woodcock Wood: A Conundrum for the Summer

by Chris Saunders ~ 16 August, 2019 ~ comments welcome

July and August can be difficult times to watch and appreciate woodland birds. With nesting coming to an end, there is little in the way of birds’ song, and the beginning of summer moult means that many birds prefer to hide away in dense foliage, not because of vanity but rather because they are at their most vulnerable to predation - their feathers are in poor condition during the moult, and their energy levels are lowered by the process. In spite of this, there is still plenty of interest to hear and see, but perhaps it takes a bit more time and effort than at other times of the year. Read more...

Woodcock Wood: Nuthatches

Woodcock Wood: Nuthatches

by Chris Saunders ~ 30 May, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Nuthatches are one of our real favourites. We’ve had them nesting in a box in our walnut tree at home for several years. They are colourful, noisy and bold birds, full of character, with a bit of a mean streak. They will keep the sparrows and tits under control at a feeder, and even a mated pair don’t tolerate each other too well where food is concerned.

They are able to climb headfirst down a tree, a feat not managed even by the Treecreeper. This agility is evident from an early age. We’ve had the privilege of watching young grow with a nest box camera, and they climb around inside of the box well before their feathers are fully developed. Read more...

Bird by Bird - about the threats to wild birds

Bird by Bird – about the threats to wild birds

by Angus ~ 17 May, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Jayne Ivimey and Julia Blackburn have put together an amazing exhibition that makes grown ups cry.  It describes the plight of wild birds in the face of human activities from oil spills and pesticides to loss of habitat from climate change.  The official RED LIST is the list of seriously endangered species and the number of birds on it has recently grown from 36 to 70, so that extinctions now seem almost inevitable for some with humans as the perpetrators.  But this is more than just a lament: it is also a celebration of what the authors call the "miracle of the gift of flight" and the magic of birdsong.   Woodland birds play an important role in the roster of the 70 birds that Jayne has recreated in clay. 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...

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