Please see the photo gallery above for some of our April/May highlights.
In order of display:
Bee Fly on Lesser Celandine
Green-veined White on moss
Woodruff on tree stump
Scarce Prominent moth (photography by Jonathan Wallace)
Roe buck down Lime Ride (photography by Jonathan Wallace)
Main Ride in the spring sunshine
Jonathan, our moth man, spotted a red squirrel on our bird feeder early one morning about a month ago, whilst in the wood checking his moth trap. Being very shy, it quickly ran off. However, following a bit of detective work, we've found out that Little Red visits on most days. It would be great to learn whether it is a girl or boy – but at the moment we can't tell. However, one thing we do know for sure, is that Little Red is an absolute cutie. We have fallen in love!
There was an immediate problem though. The bird feeder is not designed for squirrels and what a struggle Little Red was having every day! First, a tight squeeze through the cage; second an almost impossible task of nibbling the peanuts held within the mesh. Hard work for not much reward.
To help out, we fastened up a dedicated squirrel feeder right next to the bird feeder. After just a day, Little Red switched from one to the other. It quickly learnt how to lift the lid to reach the goodies – although there were one or two initial hiccups when it fell off the platform! By the end of the first morning though, it had perfected its technique and now tucks into its breakfast of sunflower seeds and peanuts without hesitation - although hazelnuts and apple are left untouched!
On one occasion, Little Red was seen carting some spare nuts down to the ground and burying them in the leaf litter. On another, Little Red went exploring underneath the pole barn. The best sighting yet though, was whilst Little Red was busy scoffing yet more sunflower seeds, another red squirrel was glimpsed in the background, boinging from tree to tree. Little Red seemed oblivious to its nearby companion but we were delighted!
Whilst the squirrel feeder has proved a hit with Little Red, it has caused some confusion. Jays, magpies and woodpeckers sometimes land on the platform but are unable to reach the food. After some moments of looking perplexed, they fly away empty beaked!
Roe bucks are wandering in the wood. Whilst they are present all year round, they are particularly prominent right now. A pair of roe twins born last year, both boys, are so used to us knocking around that we often get to within 20m to 30m without them bouncing away. They simply pause, look up at us and then carry on browsing (mainly bramble). It's only just in the last few weeks that they have lost their fear. The brothers are best buddies and always side by side.
There is also an adult buck which we regularly see. He is more wary of us and keeps his distance – although we were close enough to spot him nipping the heads off our newly planted hawthorn hedge (which we've now protected). The fresh green shoots proved irresistible to him at a cost to us! He wanders the wood by himself and we've not yet seen him come into close contact with the twins.
All the males have a full set of clean antlers this May, having shed their velvet last month. As the rutting season approaches (which for roe deer is July and August), the group dynamics will no doubt change between the boys. In-house fighting and disputes are expected to kick off at some point.
As for the female does – they are keeping a low profile as they are due to give birth this month.
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