1 December 2011

Puffballs, ferns & littler things

The mild, and now damp, weather is extending the fungus season.

Today in Greenden Wood we found a fine clump of the stump puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme) growing, believe it or not, on an old stump.  These fruit bodies are good to eat so long as they are still white inside, but we left them where they were.

20111130 BHW Lycoperdon pyriforme 009

A larger member of the same genus, the common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) was found in several places.  It is also good to eat and one source says it used to be used as a painkiller in dentistry, but I can find no further information on that.

20111130 BHW Lycoperdon perlatum 005

On a rather smaller scale were some tiny black rat's dirt fungal fruiting bodies  (hysterothecia) growing on the wood of a honeysuckle twig.

20111130 BHW Hysterographium mori 012

The twig was lying on the ground and the tiny microfungi were confined to a small area where the bark had exposed the wood underneath.  They turned out to be Hysterobrevium mori, not previously recorded from East Sussex.

Identifying things like this is not easy.  In this case I was able to get close by looking at pictures in a book on microfungi.  However, since there were several rather similar species it was necessary to crush a few of them up to get the ascospores out then examine them under a high powered microscope.

Fiddly though this may be, it is always gratifying when one gets a good fit and a new name.  The specific name 'mori' means 'of the mulberry' as in the scientific name of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, whose caterpillars eat mulberry leaves.  Maybe this fungus was first found on mulberry wood, but I fancy the name is because the ascospores look rather like mulberries.

Greenden Wood retains its wonderful stands of hard fern (Blechnum spicant) where the chestnut coppice is dying back and letting in more light.  Below is a fine display of the spore bearing fronds.

20111130 BhW Blechnum spicant Greenden 010

I have not come across any special uses for this fern in the UK, but among the indigenous people of western Canada it has a reputation for curing internal cancers and giving relief to skin sores.  These people say that deer rub the antler stubs on these plants when their antlers break off.

24 November 2011

Cattle and toadstools

Yesterday I went to see the cows (everyone seems to call them 'cows' regardless of their sex) for the first time.  They are healthy-looking, friendly beasts of the Sussex breed.  These animals are a Wealden variety descended from the draught oxen of the past.  They are hardy, stocky animals with that characteristic dark red colour and were once reckoned to be among the finest cattle in England (and we think they still are).

20111122 BHW cattle in Cpt 4a (4)

In the picture above they are standing at the top of The Hoathes, one of the fields that was used for rough grazing in the past and which was a larch plantation until the end of 2009.

On my way back after an hour's walk they were standing together as though dreaming in the middle of a field half a mile away.  Maybe they were listening to the spirits of their ancestors.

For late November the day was exceptionally warm and there are still many fading leaves on the trees.

20111122 BHW Old lane Cpt 5a (15)

The shallow indentation above with the bank to the left is part of the old lane that led from Austford Farm to Brede High Farm and unused for maybe 200 years.

Here and elsewhere there are many fungi enjoying the dampness and the unseasonal warmth. The butter cap (Collybia butyracea), named for its greasy feel, has popped up everywhere

20111122 Collybia butyracea Cpt 3b (16)

while some of the pine stumps are sporting orange yellow stagshorns (Calocera viscosa) like the hackles worn on some soldiers' hats.

20111122 Calocera viscosa Cpt 5a

Most interesting of all was a fine crop of the redlead roundhead (Leratiomyces ceres - formerly Stropharia aurantiaca) on the remains of the woodchip pile at the old woodyard.

20111122 Leratiomyces ceres (55)

This species was first recorded in Britain in 1957 and has since spread widely on the woodchip habitat, though there are only a few other Sussex records.

It is not alone.  Many other species are turning up on woodchip. several from much warmer parts of the world.  It is thought that the warmth of the woodchip itself as it decomposes gives them a head start and that maybe our increasingly milder climate allows them to increase and spread.

Finally I came across this spooky little familiar on the ground in The Hoathes - a fawn (faun) man rather than a green man.  What could have caused it I wondered, then remembered the old phantoms of which the faraway cows were dreaming.

20111122 Face in ground Cpt 4a (52)

24 September 2011

Pears from the past

Like most fruit trees our Beurre Bedford pear down our  garden in Sedlescombe has fruited well this year.  This is fairly surprising as it is a self-sterile variety, though I expect there are plenty of potential pollinators around.

20110907 SV Beurre Bedford pears 004

The tree is a graft I made from one of the old pear trees that used to grow in the orchard at Austford Farm in Brede High Woods.  The fruit above are a bit battered because they grow too far up for me to reach, so we have to gather windfalls.

The variety was first recorded in 1902 and was identified by the fruit naming service of the Royal Horticultural Society.  It was raised by Laxton's of Bedford.

I often reflect on how the people who used to live at this long demolished farm might have selected and grown these pears and other fruit and I think of our tree as a bit of living archaeology.

In 1927 the celebrated Irish-born gardener and writer William Robinson said "Beurre Bedford is superior in quality to many October pears and, being a strong grower and free cropper, it should soon become widely grown."

6 September 2011

Fences and stinkhorns

On one of the wettest and windiest of September days we walked round the recently cleared areas of the old Austford farm looking at the new fences built to contain the cattle that will be arriving soon.

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The bottom strand of the three wires is not barbed, so people's dogs will be able to go to and fro the fences without injury.

Near the north west corner of Holman Wood Field we found a fine stinkhorn fungus, Phallus impudicus, at the woodland edge.  It was in almost perfect condition (rare for this species) and attended by ants, one of which can be seen descending the stem (below), as well as by the usual carrion-loving flies.

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In the Mushroom Book by Nina Marshall (1923) there is a wonderfully Scott Fitzgerald style description of the stinkhorn's unmistakable smell: "An overpowering fetid odour suddenly evident upon the premises has many times filled with consternation the guests at summer resorts, causing among them much speculation, with suggestions of bad sewerage, and carelessness on the part of their host, together with other comments equally disastrous to the reputation of the place."

W. C. Radley, a doctor from South Devon, wrote enthusiastically in The Lancet in 1841 about the medicinal powers of dried and powdered stinkhorn which, he claimed, cured dropsy.  He also said it had a power of "allaying pain equal to morphine".  Although he was clearly convinced, no one else appears to have followed his lead.

26 July 2011

Xysticus & Agroeca spiders

The growing number of insects in the newly cleared area around the former Austford Farm is providing plenty of food for spiders and other insectivorous creatures.

Xysticus cristatus (below) is one of the crab spiders that conceals itself in flower heads waiting for an insect to alight before grabbing it.

20110704 BHW Xysticus cristatus 040

It is rather like going to the pub and having a giant cannibal spring up from behind the bar and start sucking your blood just as you settle down for your pint.

The unprepossessing blob of mud on a rush stem below is a completed egg case of one of the fairy-lamp-spiders, Agroeca proxima or A. brunnea.20110710 BHW Agroeca brunnea egg  case 080

I wrote about this in the Easter eggs entry for 12 April 2009 and posted a photo that shows the spider's egg case before she covers it with mud.  This outer coating is, of course, a good camouflage, or rather deception, as it looks just like a blob of mud thrown up by a passing cart or galloping animal.

The casing is resistant to rain as the mud is strengthened by the spider's silk like fibre reinforced concrete or the addition of straw to mud bricks in medieval times.

Naturalist Edward Connold wrote in his Gleanings from the Fields of Nature (1909) that he first noticed these mud-plastered cocoons in 1893 when he found them in large numbers "in an open wood near Hastings."  I wonder if this was Brede High Wood.

He also wondered about the considerable effort it must take the spider to first weave the egg cocoon and then transport wet mud up a rush or grass stalk.  Other spiders do not go to such great lengths to protect their egg cocoons, yet Agroeca's efforts do not seem to result in a significantly larger number of members of the two species.  Maybe there was a situation in the dim and distant past when a mud-covered egg case did give it some slight advantage over their competitors and the ability to create these in their present form was naturally selected.

24 July 2011

A note on dodder, Cuscuta epithymum

Common dodder, Cuscuta epithymum, is a low-growing parasitic plant with red, thread-like stems and pink flowers in summer. It was first recorded in Brede High Woods in 1994 in a small open area (TQ790202) that is part of what was known in pre-reservoir days, i.e. before 1930, as The Hothes (now part of Compartment 4b), indicating a rough grazing area of gorse and heath. It is currently normally referred to as ‘Sedlescombe Heath’. Dodder was parasitic on heather, Calluna vulgaris, here, but will also use a wide range of other plants as host, such as wood sage, bracken, bramble and various grasses.  It has even been found on lousewort, Pedicularis sylvestris, which is itself partially parasitic.

20110721 BHW dodder on bracken 1

It was described as common in Sussex by Arnold in 1887, but had become relatively scarce by the time Hall’s Sussex Plant Atlas was published in 1980. Currently its main East Sussex locations apart from Brede High Woods are Ashdown Forest, Chailey Common and Hastings Country Park and it was also widespread on the Downs in the past, but it continues to be a generally declining plant. The Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora says “The loss of lowland heath, ploughing of chalk downlands, and an increase in scrub have caused a decline in this species since 1930.”  Whilst it is still locally abundant in southern England, distribution maps suggest a continuing substantial decline.

In the early years of the 21st century it disappeared from its only known location in Brede High Woods, but another patch was discovered in 2009 some 200 metres north of the original site. Following clearance of conifers and broadleaves from formerly open areas in late 2009 it appeared in some abundance in 2011, particularly in the southern part of 4b that had been an oak plantation and it was also found in Compartment 5a where there had been dense conifer cover for many years.

It is well known that seed can retain viability under unfavourable conditions for many years (Meulebrouck, 2009) and it will often, though not always, colonise fire sites in the heathlands where it grows (Rich et al., 1996).

Dodder only flourishes in the early successional stages of heathland and other habitats and management is important in ensuring its long-term survival. Meulebrouck (2009) recommends for Belgian heathlands   “a combination of cyclical management by mowing, burning and shallow turf cutting” with seven- or ten-year management cycles on patches containing dodder, a technique that can be successful even at small scales.

Meulebrouck further points out that livestock grazing is an important management measure for lowland heaths. The positive effect of extensive grazing on both the presence of dodder populations and the long-term metapopulation viability, indicates that grazing is a beneficial and valuable conservation tool for dry heathlands. A mosaic of pioneer phase patches of heathland regeneration are not only important for dodder, but for other plants and their associated faunas that flourish in bare, or thinly vegetated, open habitats.

20110721 BHW dodder on foxglove 1


Arnold, F. H. (1887) Sussex Flora. Hamilton, Adams & Co, London

BSBI et al. (2011) Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. http://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/index.php?q=plant/cuscuta-epithymum

Meulebrouck, Klaar (2009) Distribution, demography and metapopulation dynamics of Cuscuta epithymum in managed heathland. Doctoral thesis for the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. http://dfwm.ugent.be/lavobo/docs/Doctoraten/Klaar_Meulebrouck_doctoraat.pdf

Rich, T., Donovan, P., Harmes, P., Knapp, A., Marrable, C., McFarlane, M., Muggeridge, M., Nicholson, R., Reader, M., Reader, P., Rich, E. & White, P. (1996) Flora of Ashdown Forest. Sussex Botanical Recording Society.

21 July 2011

Cricket and leaf mine

I was photographing the mine of the agromyzid fly Agromyza flaviceps in a leaf of hop by the footpath east of the old Austford Farm when a speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) must have made a runner beneath the lens.

20110721 BHW cricket & hop leaf mine

I have to confess I did not even notice it until I got home and downloaded the picture.

20 July 2011

Summer butterflies 2011

If the sun shines, this is one of the best times of the year for butterflies.  The browns are among the commonest with small heath, gatekeeper and meadow brown all on the wing.  It also seems to be a good year for ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), often a difficult species to photograph because they never seem to stop fluttering about among the brambles and long grass.  Unless, of course, they are preoccupied:

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The plantation clearances of 2009 have given long stretches of edge habitat where woodland meets more open ground where nectar-bearing flowers can flourish.  This year the silver-washed fritillary seems to have spread westwards and it is good to see this dramatic butterfly still doing well.

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Sadly, though perhaps it is important for the butterfly, this fritillary tends to move suddenly  to fresh fields and pastures new perhaps, like many other invertebrates, to evade the predators, parasites and pathogens that always have an eye to the main chance themselves.

16 July 2011

Three heathers

We have discovered a quite extensive colony of cr0ss-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) towards the north of Compartment 5a (Map ref. TQ792204).

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This area was cleared of conifers less than 18 months ago and these plants must have survived in the gloom for many years before the light returned.  Cross-leaved heath tends to prefer wetter spots than the other two Sussex heathers and, although the habitat here seems pretty dry, the plants grow in a fairly narrow west to east band where there may be a spring line or damper conditions.

The first of the heathers to flower is bell heather (Erica cinerea) with bright purple flowers and a preference for dry banks.  It is not all that common in Brede High Woods but, hopefully, it is increasing.

20090810 BHW Erica cinerea

The latest heather is ling (Calluna vulgaris) which is a rather pale mauve and has only just started.  This is the commonest of the three species in the woods and is doing well in many places where there is acid soil.

20110605 BHW 066

9 July 2011

Grassland wildlife

Yesterday I talked about some of the new grasslands in Brede High Woods that have developed since conifer plantations were cleared in 2009.

As well as grasses and other plants, they are also attracting a wide range of invertebrates.  One of the most dramatic is Roesel's bush cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) which sings like a Savi's warbler (if you know what that sounds like) and takes to the wing very readily.

20110706 Rye Harbour SV BHW 021

Mainly recorded from Rye Harbour in our area, this species now seems to be spreading, maybe in response to climate change.  I saw several in Compartment 4c which was a dense Christmas tree plantation less than two years ago and it is encouraging that creatures such as this can colonise new areas so quickly.

Grassland butterflies like meadow browns, small heaths and the summer skippers have all increased in numbers since last year, and I found both small and Essex skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris & T. lineola)  to be present in some numbers.

Essex skippers have black patches on the underside of the tips of the antennae:

20110704 BHW Essex skipper 005

Whereas small skippers are dusky orange at the tips of the antennae:

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Small skippers tend to prefer Yorkshire fog grass in their early stages, and there is plenty of that in the 'new' fields, but Essex skippers usually go for cock's foot which is not nearly so common in the area.  Perhaps here the larvae are feeding on another species of grass.

8 July 2011

Seas of grass

The compartments from which the conifers were cleared in late 2009 have produced a wealth of fresh, new vegetation and many areas are now waving seas of grass.

20110704 BHV SV 010

Generally they consist of two dominant species, Yorkshire fog (Holcus lanatus) and common bent (Agrostis capillaris).  The Holcus is pale fawn, almost white and the Agrostis a shimmering brown.  Both tend to occur in wide patches several metres across giving a variegated appearance to the sward that constantly changes as it is combed by the wind.

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I often wonder how grasslands like this can appear so quickly after woodland clearance, but the seeds of the Holcus, and I suppose of the Agrostis too, are known to be able to remain viable for many years producing "a large, persistent seed bank" (Cope & Gray, 2009, Grasses of the British Isles).  So, these billowing fields have arisen as children of the pre-conifer grasslands of the early or middle part of the last century.

As well as being a joy in their own right, the grasslands are attracting other species and there were many butterflies such as skippers, small heaths and meadow browns, as well as a chorus of grasshoppers and happy bumble bees.  Nectar for the flying adult insects is largely supplied by brambles at the woodland edges and biodiversity should increase dramatically as more flowers appear.

This in turn will benefit small animals and seed-eating birds with further benefits up the food chain.

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I like the flying insect top right in this picture of Yorkshire fog at anthesis.

7 July 2011

The blue and the scarlet

I was very pleased to have refound the blue pimpernel by the track to the south of the old wood yard not far from the site where I first saw it maybe 20 years ago.

20110704 BHV SV 003

There are two 'blue pimpernels' in the British Isles, but they are very difficult to tell apart.  Our common scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis subsp. arvensis) with, surprise, surprise, scarlet flowers has a blue form (wait for it) Anagallis arvensis subsp. arvensis forma azurea.  The other one is Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina.  The defining difference is found in the small hairs along the outer edges of the petals.  In A. a. a. azurea these hairs have three cells and the end one is globular.  In A. a. foemina they have four cells and the end one is oval.

pimpernel petals

The cells do not, of course, have numbers engraved on them.

I looked, under a high power microscope, at a flower from Brede High Woods and another blue one from a colony that has been flourishing in our garden for ages and the one from the woods is the true blue pimpernel (A. a. subsp. foemina).

All this made me wonder what these microscopic hairs on the petals are for.  The end cell in both species is reddish and glandular so I assume it contains some special chemical.  What for?  Perhaps if the plant is lightly crushed underfoot, the chemical is released and attracts potential pollinators, but this seems a rather complicated way to evolve to achieve an end much more easily achieved by other plants without such devices. 

An ancient introduction, A. a. foemina, is now quite rare and  according to the New Atlas of British and Irish Flora may be declining, probably due to more intensive weed control in arable fields, though some records may be from bird-seed.

28 May 2011

A lonely bird's-nest orchid

On a walk I was leading in Brede High Woods today, we came across one spike of the strange bird's-nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), a plant I have never seen in this part of East Sussex before.  It was in an area of shady chestnut coppice in a place where there is large number of twayblade orchids (Neottia ovata).

20110528 BHW Neottia nidus-avis 001

The twayblade has recently been moved to the genus Neottia, so both plants may like similar conditions.  I suspect they prefer places in Brede High Woods where there is a particularly high lime content in the soil, perhaps due to some earlier human activity.

The bird's-nest orchid is myco-heterotrophic, meaning the roots of the orchid draw nourishment from subterranean fungal mycorrhiza and not from decaying wood and other vegetable material as was once thought.  None of the plant contains any chlorophyll.

20110528 BHW Neottia nidus-avis 004

Since the turn of the century this species has vanished from many of its East Sussex locations and is now most often found in beech woods on the Downs, especially in West Sussex.  It also is said to prefer wet springs, so it seems that we were lucky to find it in this exceptionally dry season.

22 May 2011

Balfour's bramble & small black ants

The earliest of the blackberries  to flower, Balfour's bramble (Rubus nemorosus) is now showing well under the transmission lines across the eastern part of the woods and elsewhere.

BHW SV 046

This used to be known as Rubus balfourianus, hence the title above and is one of the innumerable microspecies of bramble.  It has very distinctive large, flat flowers attractive to a wide range of late spring insects.  In his book on British Rubi, W. C. R. Watson (1958) says this species prefers damp, often clayey, places and that the fruit have a mulberry flavour.

Also close to the transmission line on the sandy top of the root plate of a fallen tree, I found a few small black ants (Lasius niger)patrolling rather slowly and seemingly aimlessly about. 

Roughly half of them were carrying something

20110517 BHW Lasius niger carrying live worker

which turned out to be another small black ant worker with tightly curled, legs and antennae tucked in and positionedon its back.  At first I thought this was some sort of predator and prey episode, or that the carried ant might be a corpse.  But when I nudged a pair into a tube, they separated and both seemed in perfectly good health.

The literature says that this species and other ants often do this, but I have read no very convincing explanation as to why.  The most popular theory seems to be that the ants are moving from one nest to another and, for some reason, some of the workers need to be carried.  Perhaps they have a special role that makes them weak and lazy.

18 May 2011

More records of rare insects

In recent weeks friends like Dave Monk and Colin Boyd have taken some stunning photos of hitherto unrecorded, and often very scarce, insects in Brede High Wood.

In bluebell time Dave Monk photographed a little moth called the bluebell conch (Hysterophora maculosana).

H. maculosana DSCN65~3a

The caterpillars of this species feed on seeds of bluebell and, whilst it may be widespread where bluebells are abundant, it has rarely been recorded in Sussex.  It is, I think, a good example of the balance of nature.  Although there may be apparently inexhaustible supplies of its food plant (from the moth's perspective), it does not appear to have any significant impact on bluebell populations: it simply takes a modest helping of the available bounty.  Pity Homo sapiens doesn't do the same.

The picture above, by the way, is the only one I can find with the moth on a bluebell.

Colin Boyd has been making many hoverfly discoveries.  The picture below is one of his of the hive bee mimic Criorhina asilica.

P1080982 Criorhina asilica BHW

The larvae of this species develop in rotten wood with a preference for ancient woodland sites and this highlights the importance, enshrined in Woodland Trust policy, of conserving dead wood as well as living trees.

The photo below, by Dave Monk, is of an ant beetle or checkered beetle (Thanasimus formicarius)


This is a predatory species also associated with dead and dying trees, both coniferous and broadleaved.  The adults prey on the adults of bark beetles (Scolytidae) while the larvae eat the larvae of the bark beetles.

In Sussex the species has been recorded mainly from ancient parks and woods in the west but also from Eridge Old Park in East Sussex.

The adult beetles have a marked resemblance to the large velvet ant (Mutilla europaea) - Google it and you will see what I mean - a species with a formidable sting and therefore one might hypothesise that the colour and pattern is a protective device in the beetle.  However, the velvet ant seems to be so rare, nowadays at least, that any would be predator is unlikely to be familiar with its appearance  (Mutilla has never been recorded from our part of East Sussex so far as I know).  Perhaps the pattern on the beetle activates some atavistic repulsion mechanism in the brain of the insectivore.

21 April 2011

Crabs and commas

With the warm and sunny weather the woods continue to burgeon, though it is getting very dry.

Today, following the transmission lines from the east we enjoyed a crab apple tree in full bloom (all fruit trees seem to be full of blossom this year).

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There was a good showing of butterflies including brimstones and orange-tips, but no sign of pearl-bordered fritillaries in the places where they used to fly.  The picture below is of an unusually small, and rather worn, comma, well disguised on some freshly sprung hornbeam leaves.

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Many of these new leaves have a brief moment when they are nicer than flowers and un-nibbled by caterpillars.  These are aspen:

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10 April 2011

A spring guided walk

Today I led a guided walk on a 3 mile route through Brede High Woods, which are just coming up to their best.  The bluebells are starting now and this male brimstone butterfly was enjoying their nectar on the bank below the main car park.

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We first walked east on the long ride through broad leaved plantations on the old fields once called Sheeplands, Sheep Pound Field and Pear Tree Field.  I had hoped there might be a pear tree in the latter, but we did not see one, though we did see a crab apple about to come into flower.

At the end of the ride we turned south towards Twist Wood where the orpine (Sedum telephium) (see picture below), moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina) and pignut (Conopodium majus) grow among the many other plants that are ancient woodland indicator species.

20110319 Maisie Endophyllum 016

We continued south to the transmission lines and on to Pond Wood where there were several large patches of soil rooted by wild boar.

There were plenty of butterflies about and in some of the newly cleared areas around the transmission lines we saw many orange-tips, brimstones and peacocks.  We even managed to find an orange-tip egg on a plant of lady's smock.

After this we kept quite close to the northern edge of the reservoir before heading up towards Bonsall's Bridge (TQ799201).  In the scrub in this area we heard several nightingales  in full voice and it is good to know they are back in the woods for the summer nesting season.

Walking through Brede High Wood itself we saw one or two common lizards, then we had a quick look at Holman Wood Field where one of the children found a toad crossing the path.

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From here we returned via Brede High Heath to the car park.

The woods were inspirational and will improve as the month goes on and the bluebells reach their full glory while more wildflowers join those already giving a good show.  The songs of the wild birds will also rise to a crescendo. 

What better time to visit these wonderful woods?  Look at the Woodland Trust events list for guided walks:


20110410 Violets & primoses 002

5 April 2011

Burrs on a birch trunk

To the south of the Old Wood Yard, not far from the Austford coach house is this fine example of a twin-trunked birch covered in burrs (or burls as they call them in North America).

20110319 Maisie Endophyllum 014

The causes are explained (sic) in this abstract from CABI:

"The numerous buds that cover the surface of the burr develop from meristematic foci formed in the phloem. The burr phloem is also characterized by the irregularity (waviness) of the elements of its conducting zone and the irregular thickness and distribution of the mechanical tissue. The wood of burrs is distinguished by its curly grain and numerous included bud traces. The rapid growth of burrs and their numerous surface buds are probably caused by local disturbance in the balance of growth substances."

So now you know!

27 February 2011

Snowdrops at last

Often in the early months of the year I have looked around the High Woods for snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis).

They are not a native species, but bulbs often get washed down streams, or occur on the sites of old gardens.

Today, however, I found a fine colony in subcompartment 6c on the eastern border of the woods where the long west/east ride reaches Reservoir Lane (formerly Powdermill Lane).  OS map reference TQ 81011 20283.

20110227 various 008

This isolated group contains many flowers indicating that it has been in situ for some time and is increasing having started, no doubt, as one or more bulbs in garden rubbish thrown over the fence.  It is on the heavy clay soil it likes so, maybe, the colony will spread as one of the alien species that normally attracts no hostility.