Showing posts from April, 2014

WET WOODLAND -featuring Spindle, Alder Buckthorn and Wayfaring, slowly greening 24th April 2014

The woodland slopes westwards towards the River Rea, hence the west of the site is wet for most of the year.
The emerging waters have been pooled to develop shallow open-water scrapes

Just a reminder of the woodland origin; 25 years ago the site was unwanted allotment land, and previous to this, open farmland.

Allan's corded paths are most useful, constructed with coppiced hazel from the woodland.

Many applied and descriptive vernacular names are used such as, prickwood, skewerwood and pincushion shrub, but use of the wood for hand spinning raw wool was not especially favoured in Britain.  (Flora Britannica)

Wayfaring Trees, Spindle and Alder Buckthorn are often associated as trees of Southern Britain, and thrive there due to optimal climatic conditions; but with onset climatic change these species are likely to thrive further north, and perhaps we will notice them more often in the Midlands over the coming decades.



Birds of Centenary Woodland

The Birmingham University nesting box scheme is being monitored by Dan and Jon for the second year, and while few boxes were occupied last year, probably because of late installation, indications so far suggest greater occupancy, although far from 100% take up.

Dan will provide further details as they arise.

Birds seen in and around Centenary Wood since Winter 2013 -

SparrowhawkKestrelMerlinWood pigeonTawny OwlGreen WoodpeckerGreat Spotted WoodpeckerWrenDunnockSong ThrushRedwingBlackbirdBlackcapChiffchaffGoldcrestGreat TitCoal TitBlue TitLong Tailed TitNuthatchTree CreeperMagpieJayC CrowRaven (flying over, between CHP and Holders Woods)ChaffinchGreenfinchGoldfinchSiskinBullfinch

A beautiful morning at Centenary Woodland 16th April 2014


Dunnock and Brimstone 14 April 2014

Brimstone butterfly spotted on 14 April 2014 by Ranger Warden Allan Watkins
Dunnocks too were most active at this location on the 14th and are probably nesting nearby
Chiffchaff are busy staking their territory with distinctive calls at the edge of Centenary Wood, often making excursion to the hinterland as they forage for early grubs and other morsels. This image depicts a light phase generally found in southern breeds and in my experience resident warblers  are not quite as yellow overall. There is variation of course.
This is the best time to locate Chiffchaff as they call from prominent positions blah blah - you can find all this in a book.

Where there's Ravens there's witches

Where there's Ravens there's witches, and one Moor Green Witch informed me today that the Ravens had raided a Crow's nest and were seen murdering and carrying away the chicks, no doubt before devouring them.

One of the Crows, whom the Witch calls Dodger, was behaving with peculiarity today following his loss, but knowing something of Crow resilience, I tried to reassure her that the clever Crow is unlikely to fall victim to the Ravens a second time and will undoubtedly raise young before the season is out. This, she knew.

At least six Ravens have been seen above Centenary Woodland over the past few days and for sure the Crow wars will continue for some weeks ahead, for the Ravens are also clever and they've caused a stir.

This article from the internet sheds some light on a shadowy subject, and whilst there may be some sentimentalising, there is clearly an understanding of Raven behaviour based on observation, reading and learning.

Raven  The Raven is the most sacred bi…

Last work session for the season - Woodpecker, Ravens, Primroses and Shaolin discipline

I'm intrigued by the various users and uses people make of Centenary Woodland, sometimes the evidence is left behind, drinks cans, tissues, used condoms and so on, and the site is categorized by the Police as an area in which anti-social behaviour takes place.

I would suggest however that the ASB is declining based on a decreasing number of items found, such as those listed above.
This is partly due to the increasing usage from people carrying out socially acceptable practices, thereby deterring unsociable behaviour; one such practice being the beating of a tree with forearms as part of a Shaolin discipline. The guy carrying out this practice didn't want a photograph and was horrified at the suggestion, but declined in a gentle manner. I'll no doubt see him again and aim to further my understanding. I was satisfied however that no harm was done to any tree by this practice, it was more of a slow gentle pummeling rather than beating.
Out and About School
Not sure if the abo…