Sunday, January 18, 2009

It has been a busy week at Scrag this week. The warmer temperatures have meant that I have been able to get on with some nagging jobs before the start of teaching in February. I started a bit of thinning along the south side of the stream. It is a potentially lovely strip of woodland with areas of good ground flora, but it is being shaded somewhat by young hawthorns and blackthorn. They are only a few centimetres in diameter so I brought them down with a bow-saw and worked up the brash with billhook. Its very satisfying work and I've been using the resulting brash to create a brash hedge along the edge of the public footpath which is better than burning it.
Last year a large hornbeam came down in a storm and it created a gap in the canopy and a nice light glade which had a resident speckled wood butterfly guarding the area territorially. However, there is still a huge pile of branches and dead vegetation shading it out still so I have been gradually clearing that up and again using it in the hedge. Creating a lighter glade will result in more ground flora and maybe some grasses which will be beneficial for butterflies.
I have now treated all the bird boxes I previously made from recycled floorboards so there are about 25 boxes now to go up as soon as possible.
On a negative side the bridge that floated downstream after a flood into the neighbouring land has sadly disappeared!! I was waiting for the ice to melt and water level to drop so I could float it back upstream but annoyingly someone got there first.
During an afternoons work, I heard a loud commotion from a couple of dogs that went on for some time. Later, I also found the freshly severed leg of a roe deer. Not very pleasant but I was s
urprised at the damage to the bone and considering that we don't have any wolves around here I assumed it was caused by the dogs. These are another pair of dogs that are annoyingly being allowed to run wild throughout the local area. On Friday, I saw them again at around the same time of day chasing another 2 roe deer. The deer seemed to be staying well ahead but the dogs seem relentless. I think I know where these ones come from, so if there are any more problems I will have to pay a visit.
A little more positively, the jay that now feeds at the
baiting area gave me some nice opportunities the other day. This will be good for the upcoming woodland birds workshops.

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