Please see the photo gallery above for some of our January/February highlights.
In order of display:
A smattering of snow along Main Ride
Sunlight through the trees
Willow catkins opening
Ice crystals on moss
Spring Usher moth (photography by Jonathan Wallace)
A sunny, frosty day in the wood
Logging up a Willow tree
It's been a busy few weeks with tree planting topping our work agenda. In total, 300 hawthorn saplings were dug in along a section of boundary to form a hedgerow; 100 hazel were planted as individual specimens along the ride edges with the future aim of coppicing them and 30 new oak saplings (currently just 40cm high) will hopefully long outlive us to form tall standards valued for their wildlife and timber. The hazel and oak have all been individually protected from roe deer with 1.2m tall tree guards as these species are considered to be tasty treats. However, hawthorn are supposedly not meant to be as palatable (according to some literature we have), so for the time being, we are leaving them unprotected – but ready to spring into action if they do begin to get munched!
Whilst planting, we happened upon some ladybirds resting up for winter in the leaf litter. Ladybirds tend to group together when dormant and tuck themselves away in cool, sheltered places. It’s a classic example of wildlife hidden around us which we just aren't aware of. In this instance, after a bit of minor inconvenience caused by us, they quickly tucked themselves away again in some curled up, browned leaves.
We still have a few more trees to get in before spring, but first we have to clear a patch of wind damaged trees (a result of Storm Ali last autumn) prior to replanting it with wild cherries and others.
It's Chock-a-Block With Birds!
Now is just the best time of year to watch woodland birds. The bare trees make viewing (relatively!) easy as they cannot tuck themselves away in the leaves, whilst numbers are at their peak with many migrant winter visitors (including blackbirds and robins) joining up with their year round counterparts.
A wander through Woodruff Wood seems to take far longer than it should do for the heart of winter, as we can't help but stop-start, as we continually get distracted by the birdlife. Everywhere is filled with sound, movement and action as everyday life takes place for our feathered friends.
The blackbirds rustle in the undergrowth and feast on the withering hawthorn berries lining the rides; mixed parties of tits bounce amongst the birch as even their tiny bodies weigh down the fine branches whilst flitting through the treetops; bird calls and songs ring out through the wood on a sunny day in anticipation of spring, and to top things off – a barn owl ghosted along Main Ride unexpectedly one evening in January – the first we’ve ever seen inside the wood!
A Heap of Moths
To round things off this month, we must mention that Jonathan Wallace, our moth expert, has been very busy of late reviewing records and summarising his findings in an excellent report.
He’s come up with some cracking stuff:
• Moths are out and about in every month of the year (in fact an amazing 67 individuals were identified on 25th January)
• A massive 483 moths comprising 195 species were recorded in 2018!
• The grand combined total to date since light trapping began in the wood four years ago stands at a whopping 307 species!
• The top three species (so far) are green carpet, large yellow underwing and lesser swallow prominent.
• Two micro moths (different species) were rare findings - only the fifth and sixth ever recorded in Northumberland.
Without Jonathan, we would be none the wiser as to the fantastic variety and sheer numbers of moths which live within the wood. It really is eye opening. It goes without saying that we would like to say a big thank you to him for all his hard work, time, dedication and above all enthusiasm. What fab work!
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