Sunday, 31 October 2010

Home tweet home

Yesterday, Stuart from Chelmarsh Bird Ringers came over to help put up another 20 bird boxes, most of which he had put together in his spare time.
10 of the boxes have holes in the front for species like Redstart and Tits whilst the other 10 are open fronted boxes that will hopefully attract Spotted Flycatchers.
Once all these boxes were put up, we tackled the trickier task of erecting a Tawny Owl box, there are no photos of this being done as it involved both of us balancing up a ladder/in the tree whilst trying to secure it with wire.
If a pair of Owls do use it to raise their young i will be able to get some great photos as Stuart gets attacked by the parents whilst ringing the chicks! Fingers crossed!
If you come across any nest boxes whilst out in the woods please don't be tempted to look inside, leave it to the professional, i will put photos up here so that you can see whats inside.

Birds seen recently include, Willow Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing, Tawny Owl, Marsh Tit, Raven, Buzzard, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecked, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tit
Apologies about the title of this update.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Nordic Walking - coming soon

On Saturday the 11th of December at 10am we are hosting an introduction to Nordic Walking session at Wenlock Edge.
It is a great opportunity to try this fast growing low impact sport that offers almost a full body workout.
There will be 2 instructors on hand to show us how its done and ensure that participants are using the correct, most efficient technique. The session will last for between 1.5 to 2 hours, 45 minutes will be used to equip people with the correct size poles and teach the basics, this will be followed by a walk lasting for about 1 hour. There will then be time to ask questions of the instructors.
This introduction will be available for a price of just £6 per person and includes pole hire, limited spaces are available, booking information available next week, look out for posters in Much Wenlock and here on the blog.

Sheep on the move

Rounded up and ready to go.

The 5 Hebridean sheep that have been living in the species rich grassland opposite the Wenlock Edge Inn have gone to the Long Mynd for the Winter. They have been on the grassland since the hay was cut in August, keeping down the end of season growth so that it is good condition ready for next years growing season.
I am pleased to report that rounding them up went well,  no rangers were seen running laps of the field as the sheep were fooled into entering the pen by a bucket of nuts. If only it was always this easy!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Autumn watch 2

A few cold nights, including the first frost and some lovely, cool but sunny days have given the woods a very Autumnal feel.
The Fallow deer rut is definately taking place as the Bucks have been heard grunting in the evenings, they sound like a huge pig! An early morning or evening walk may result in you being able to hear it for yourself.
Beech leaves are still turning, some trees are still completely green whilst others are almost entirely brown, the cold weather this week should really get things moving.
Fieldfare and Redwing are moving into the area in search of fruit such as Hawthorn berries. The Jackdaws are still circling over Lea Quarry in the evenings providing a great sight and sounds.
Flocks of Goldfinch can be seen feeding on the dried flowerheads in the Much Wenlock National Trust car park.
Other birds seen this week include; Marsh tit, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Chaffinch, Treecreeper, Nuthatch.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

We've got the power ! (switched off)

Last wednesday the power lines that run through Easthope Wood were switched off for the day, this was to allow trees that were close to them to be pruned and in some cases felled completely.

As the trees to be felled were on the large side and consisted of Larch and Douglas Fir which provide useful timber, we wanted to fell them ourselves. This was to ensure that the trees were left in suitable lengths for future conversion into usable timber.
Having been given permission to carry out the felling it was all hands to the pump with Alistair and myself being assisted by Seamus and Lee from Broadacre Tree Services.
We used the tractor and winch to ensure that there was no risk of the trees hitting the power lines.

Tasks were shared between the four of us, whilst two people de-limbed each felled tree the other two were setting up the winch and preparing the next tree to be felled. Once one tree was finished the next tree crashed to the ground, all was finished by 3pm and a late lunch was enjoyed. A quick log delivery soon sorted out the last few hours of the day!

Just the small task of winching the timber up the hill and cutting it into usable planks or gateposts.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Jackdaw roost

A noisy flock of Jackdaws is forming over the Presthope/Lea Quarry area each evening between 6pm and 7pm, its a pretty impressive sight as there must be between 200 and 300 birds. Small groups continue to join the flock, seeming to come from all directions until eventually they all decide on a suitable area to spend the night. Other birds seen lately include, Perigrine Falcon, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Green Woodpecker.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Autumn watch

The first signs of Autumn are beginning , leaves are slowly beginning to turn lovely shades of yellow and brown, some are even falling in the strong seasonal winds. Whether its a cool clear morning walk or an afternoon stroll between blustery showers its a great time to get out into the woods and see the changes taking place. Children will enjoy kicking through the leaves whilst for adults what could be better than an energetic walk followed by a cozy tea room or rural pub!
Currently the best Autumn colours can be seen on the Sycamore, Elm and Hazel trees, with the stunning Beech leaves just beginning to turn.

Views from Wenlock Edge will improve once the leaves do fall. Although we have created many viewpoints that offer year round views it is always better in the Winter looking through the bare trees towards Shrewsbury and the Welsh Mountains.

Whilst out in the woods you may see some of the Fallow deer that move about along the edge, they will be getting ready for the annual rut and may become more visible, as their minds are on other things.
Other animals that may be seen include, Foxes, Stoats, Polecats, Voles and Shrews. Its well worth keeping your eyes peeled and having a quiet sit down, its often at these times that mammals show themselves.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Against the elements!

Tough fire lighting conditions.

Today we were fortunate to have the company of Wolverhampton National Trust Conservation Volunteers continuing to clear scrub in Lea Quarry. It wasn't the best start to the day weather wise here in Shropshire and it was a relief for me when they arrived, the fact that they didn't look out of the window and go straight back to bed shows just how enthusiastic the group is. It took no time for the Hawthorn, Ash and Hazel to start arriving at the bottom of the hill ready to be thrown on the fire. However due to conditions remaining damp the fire was taking a little more time to get going!

Smoke meets cloud, creates an interesting image.

Spirits remained high whatever the weather threw at us and by lunch time a large area of scrub had been cleared, the fire had got going properly, allowing us to clear the backlog of cut scrub and offering some welcome heat.

The afternoon saw much more work done and the weather improved as well. Waterproofs were shed in favour of t-shirts as we cleared the last of the brash. An incredible amount of work was carried out and we are really grateful, as ever for the efforts of the group.