Please see our photo gallery above for some of our June/July highlights
In order of display:
Red Admiral feeding on Bramble
Rhododendron bashing - an endless task!
Bird's Nest Orchid - a highly unusual plant which is a gem of a find!
Dead hedging with Rhododendron cuttings
Main Ride in the evening sunshine
Common Swift moth underneath a fern
Brock's Ride which was cleared last year of Rhododendron
Woodruff Wood News
Our rhododendron bashing is back in full swing - we are removing vast amounts of this invasive shrub bit by bit in order to allow the area underneath it, which is devoid of life, to regenerate. This is vital for the future health and long term survival of the wood.
However, wherever possible, the rhododendron cuttings are not being wasted. We are creating a dead hedge from the branches which serves to provide a good habitat for wildlife to shelter and nest in. The twisting nature of the rhododendron branches provides lots of nooks and crannies for animals to tuck themselves away. The fantastic news is that we were rewarded with an instant seal of approval from a female blackbird that, within 14 days of us having made a section of dead hedge, had built her own nest and laid a full clutch of eggs. We were rather chuffed to say the least!
Bird's Nest Orchid
Do you notice anything peculiar about this rather sickly looking plant? Well, if you look closely you will see that it does not have any leaves or green pigmentation. This is because it is a semi-parasitic plant which feeds off the roots of a nearby host and therefore does not require chlorophyll.
This highly unusual plant is a bird's nest orchid and a single specimen appeared unexpectedly last month alongside Middle Ditch. Its name is derived from its tangle of roots which resembles a bird's nest. It is said to take an incredible ten years to flower. The honey coloured flowers are the typical hooded shape of most orchids when viewed close up.
We've absolutely no idea whether any more of these flower spikes will appear elsewhere in Woodruff Wood over the coming years, but we feel very lucky to have witnessed this one.
Have you ever spent time watching a bumblebee nesting hole? We have done just that recently as an underground nest is close to where we've been rhododendron bashing. The activities of the worker bees are mesmerising as they come and go from the nest collecting nectar and pollen. The single entry hole reminds us of an airport as the bumblebees depart one after the other with arrivals circling in the air waiting to land and enter the nest when all is clear. It really is a hive of activity!
If you look closely, you can see the returning workers with bulging yellow pollen baskets which are located on their hind legs. It is said that the pollen baskets can each hold up to a million pollen grains when full and can increase the bodyweight of the Bumble bee by up to 50% - which is really quite staggering! The pollen is carried back to the nest to provide food for the next batch of offspring.
The Marvel of Moths
Our moth expert Jonathan continues to identify moths present in the wood with great enthusiasm, resulting in some catches of note. One moth called a cloaked pug is in fact only the third record of its presence in Northumberland since 2000 - a truly rare find!
Other good finds include a number of first records for Woodruff Wood such as poplar grey and purple clay along with other now familiar species including July Highflyer and one of our favourites, peach blossom.
Take a look at them below:
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