Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday 16th March. Terrible weather today but jobs have to be done so with the adage that 'there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes' I spent the afternoon at Scrag completing a nice list of tasks. With the invaluable help of Claire Harries, we planted 40 willow whips to the rear of the bird hide and along the edge of the public foot path. This will have the effect of not only 'scrubbing up' the edges of New Meadow but will also eventually create a barrier to unwanted trespassing. This is a very cheap way of planting new trees; just using secateurs to cut off the thin vertical 'whips' of the willow that sprout out of the main trunks. We then just pushed them about 12 inches into the ground. I have never done this before but apparently, these 'whips' readily root and eventually become trees. The Willow is especially beneficial because it will root in very wet soil which occurs in this area of the meadow. It's the sort of pleasing job to forget about and then notice in 6 months time that we have a whole new load of rooting trees providing both a barrier and a great habitat for birds and insects.

The two goldfinches that started feeding on the niger seed feeder, have now been joined by a redpol! This is fantastic news as it enhances my project of getting these delightful birds onto natural perches. Yesterday, I took delivery of a nice bundle of teasel heads from Keith Dunning who came on the woodland birds course last week. I have now sunk all of these teasel heads into the ground around the feeder and laced each head with a sprinkle of niger seed. This will transfer their feeding from the unnatural looking feeder onto the attractive perches and thereby provide a great photographic opportunity for me and all my lovely students! This is classic bait-and-perch technique.

We also fixed a new blue tit nest box supplied by Gen Spraggett on to one of the birches at the edge of New Meadow. Thanks Gen, I hope it is occupied this season!

A small note of irritation is that the same three dogs that are repeatedly terrorising the deer across the whole wood complex, were back again this afternoon running amok through the wood. The problem is, there is never an owner with them, so I will have to visit all the farms locally to try to remedy fix this problem.

No comments: