Saturday, 25 March 2017

Storm Doris and More Dead Wood

A huge amount of fallen and lying timber currently adorns the ground in gardens, parks and woodlands around Britain,  following Storm Doris's fly-by a few weeks ago.

A Met Office image of Storm Doris
The clean up operation began immediately -  but many fallen trees will remain undisturbed where they lie, and will gradually decay naturally. In some cases taking 50 years or more, the rate of decay depending on a multitude of invading decomposers, including fungi and invertebrates in all shapes and sizes and further aided by wind, rain and extremes of temperature.

other trees will be cleared away immediately
The transition from 'plantation' to 'woodland' is a gradual one, elevated somewhat by the presence of deadwood and the decaying process.

For details on deadwood management in woodland and forest follow the link below

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/PDF/FCPG020.pdf/$FILE/FCPG020.pdf

Monday, 20 March 2017

Eyes On The Ground - EOTG

A Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust initiative to encourage the observation of wild flowers -

March hedgerow, bank and ditch at the Grove, Kings Heath. The oldest oak tree is around 150 years but the feature could date back to the Enclosure Act of 1772. A 'hidden history' of Kings Heath.
The term 'eyes on the ground' often has military connotations and has been conceptualised thus since the Iraqi war.

other definitions =
"The term "eyes on the ground" is occasionally used to describe those
individuals (frequently soldiers) who are close to an event and can
give first-hand information to decision makers." Google

or

""witnesses."  The Americanism "eyes on the ground" appears
to be military (or espionage) jargon for information obtained directly
("what they saw with their own eyes") as distinguished from
deductions, documentary information etc.   But the meaning is
simply witnesses." Google


Here's a link to a blog, exploring the concept further =

https://thebettereditor.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/if-your-eyes-are-on-the-ground-where-did-you-put-your-boots/


Our approach focuses on less sinister motives and encourages a 'walking pace' approach to life - a slow, very slow, walking pace at that. No dashing from here to there required - simple gentle grazing only.

Daffodils at Highbury
The season for EOTG began, for many, a couple of weeks ago, or perhaps earlier, when the snowdrops first poked an appearance. it's a bit like searching for a pinhole of light in a darkened place, such as a sweat lodge, odd analogy but never mind. The first sign that winter is subsiding and/or that Spring, warmth and light and food, is near.

This means a 'chance of survival' for many creatures, no time to lose in the search for an essential morsal - creatures with an adeptness for spotting the first bud or bug, behaviour becomes slightly frantic - feeding - establishing territory - attracting a mate. The song of Blackbirds and Thrushes have been my wake up call for the past 3 weeks.


Thursday, 16 March 2017

A mixed bag of Springy goings-on

This is, at least for me, always an exciting time of year. I'm not desperate to be rid of Winter 2016-17, for it has been relatively comfortable, 'unseasonal', some might say, followed by 'we need a good freeze to get rid of pests'. I'm not convinced with this argument, although I do enjoy wintery seasonal conditions, you know - threatening, moody skies followed by heavy snow, resulting in standstill on the roads, or bright clear night skies followed by hard, hoary frost. I do sympathise however with those poor unsteady-on-feet souls during such conditions, and falls can be fatal for elderly people; indeed it seems that most years an inevitable 'fatal fall' happens somewhere in my extended family, as it did this year to a 99 year old. The 100th celebration will continue later this year however.

The 'pest wipe-out' argument' also results in many small bird species declining, and in some cases, quite devastatingly, although often recovering in numbers the following breeding season.

This Winter I have both witnessed and received reports of Goldcrests galore, together with positive sightings of Wrens, Dunnocks and Goldfinches locally.


For now it is Spring with loads of changes taking place as we read/speak; and rapid plans are afoot for the coming seasons. I'm somewhat perturbed by the frantic nature of human behaviour at this time of year. For some, it's as if they've been cooped up for the past 16 weeks, and have now burst in to action with overgrown excitement. 

Aah but hang on, that's perfectly natural, look at the Blackbirds dancing on the lawn, listen to the early morning song of Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Robin and Blackbird, see the aerial cavorting of Crows and Buzzards, hark the drumming GS Woodpecker or the yaffling Green, smile at the antics of Blue Tits. 

All animal behaviour changes in Britain during early Spring.

Which brings us to the 'Spring Clean', there are plenty of site clean-ups around, so let's spend some of that built up and stored energy  out and about tidying up a littered green space.

For there is much litter.......
Rea Valley footbridge at Ten Acres















Kings Heath Park pond

The rear of Kings Heath Park House

Ground art at Kings Heath Park by Colmore School
Hidden History walk at Highbury with Mary-Ann Ochota (12th March 2017)