Please see the photo gallery above for some of our August/September highlights.
In order of display:
Hawthorn berries ripening up
Sunshowers along Main Ride
Common Darter dragonfly
Speckled Wood on Ragwort (photography by Jonathan Wallace)
Female Roe Deer and kid
Wych Elm leaves changing colour
Sexton Beetle (photography by Jonathan Wallace)
Alder Moth caterpillar
After a summer of dry weather, a recent heavy downpour at the end of a working day saw us rushing for cover underneath one of the pole barns. Once the rain had subsided, the evening sun burnt through the humid atmosphere with light sun showers continuing to fall along a steaming Main Ride. It was an incredibly beautiful experience.
We delayed packing up for the day in order to enjoy the moment. A wander along the woodland ride was unplanned but a joy to do. Raindrops, sunbeams and a magical mist rising from the trees and ferns gave a prehistoric feel to the wood.
Did it really matter that we were half an hour late home in order to do the chores? For a long lasting memory, absolutely not!
Now that autumn is almost here, we are planning our work activity for the coming months. October to March is a busy time for woodland workers as it's the main season for tree work. Our chainsaws have been in for a service so they are ready to go and we are preparing our list of small trees and shrubs to order for planting along Main Ride.
We've already planted a selection of species (holly, wych elm, rowan, bird cherry) along one section of Main Ride and these are mostly doing well. However, not all have survived and these need to be replaced as well as adding to the mix with crab apple, hazel and wild cherry. We carefully plan what species to plant and where. For example, the hazel will mostly be planted near the front of the ride with the intention of coppicing them in the future. In the case of the wild cherries, we hope to plant the majority of them in groups at the back of the ride where they can grow to full height. By planting cherries in groups cross pollination is far more likely to occur, providing the best opportunity for future generations of this tree to grow.
Our aim is to be ready for action come next month. Let's hope we don't get side-tracked too much this month with other matters!
Our moth expert Jonathan has had a busy time of late making the most of the mild nights to see what's out and about after dark. He's been rather successful with around a dozen new moth species to add to his ever growing list for Woodruff Wood. A few of the micro moths in particular have been quite a find, with only a handful of previous records for Northumberland existing.
However, for sheer volume, the lesser swallow prominent moth beat all others, with large numbers throughout all of August including a whopping 57 individuals on one night alone!
It's not just moths that Jonathan finds out and about during the night. The light from the moth trap draws in other insects including caddis flies, slugs, crane flies and sexton beetles.
Sexton beetles spend their lives burying dead animals such as mice and birds in order to feed and breed on them – it may sound a bit gruesome but it is an essential part of the natural world.
We couldn't not show you this crazy looking caterpillar! It certainly stands out, with its bright yellow on black stripes and long black hairs sticking out along its body. This cool dude is an alder moth caterpillar (although we found it on a birch tree – we actually don't have any alder trees in the wood)!
Woodruff Wood,Longhirst, Morpeth, Northumberland
'Passionate about wildlife & firewood'
T: 07525 841361 (9am - 6pm)
Please feel free to contact us today for further information!
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European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
'Increasing Productivity of Woodruff Wood Woodfuel (Firewood)'
Woodruff Wood is grateful to have received funding for equipment and infrastructure to support us in the production of firewood