Please see the photo gallery above for some of our October/November highlights.
In order of display:
Birch tree tops against the sky
Lime Ride in October
Fungus on moss
Fern in Scots Pine Coupe
Red Admiral on Ragwort
Roe Deer munching on fallen leaves
Standing in an empty ditch to clear branches
Autumn so far...
Taking Advantage of the Weather
Whereas September was all about the damage Storm Ali had done in the wood, last month was all about taking advantage of the dry weather. There has been very little rainfall to date this autumn (and indeed all summer), which means that the wood has been at its best for walking and pushing laden wheelbarrows around on what is often wet, muddy and bumpy ground.
Earlier on in the year we began to thin out some of the trees in one of our scots pine coupes but work was suspended when it became too wet underfoot. It became difficult to extract the felled timber and we were worried about damaging the springtime ground flora which was bursting into life.
We’ve now recommenced our work here as the flowers have long since died back and our route in and out of the coupe is firm and passable. We've even been able to stand in the ditch which has been completely empty of water to clear branches which had fallen across it! As and when the weather dictates, we intend to be in and out of here over the course of the next couple of seasons removing overcrowded trees to allow in more light and enable young tree saplings to grow up through the canopy.
Nature this Autumn
As ever, autumn is proving to be full of colour, delights and animal activities as well as being influenced by the weather. Here's our pick of what's been happening:
You may remember back in our July News we reported seeing a female roe deer with triplets (which we think is fairly unusual). The three kids have all done incredibly well and we regularly glimpse them going about their daily activities. The young are now almost the same size as the female which in part is due to them feasting on the newly fallen leaves lying along the woodland rides. With their heads down and white fluffy bottoms sticking up, we’ve been able to get some really quite good views of them taking advantage of this autumnal harvest.
Woodpigeons can nest all year round in the UK. Whilst the breeding season is well and truly over for the majority of our woodland birds, young woodpigeons are still fledging. Don’t be surprised if you spot any in your neck of the woods. We think the one in this photo had just left the nest for the first time as Mam was close by giving plenty of encouragement.
Moths and Shield Bugs
The relatively mild nights of October saw good numbers of moths out on the wing, as our expert Jonathan discovered. Warm, southerly winds mid month brought in migrant species, including one called a dark sword-grass which is new for us. Shield bugs were also popping up here, there and everywhere including inside the moth trap, in our wheelbarrow and rustling through the fallen leaves.
Last year, as a result of the wetter weather, fungi were all over the wood. This year, thanks to the dry weather, hardly any have fruited. A good example of this is the fly agaric – this distinctive red and white toadstool appeared in early October in 2017 yet none have done so this far to date. Perhaps they will suddenly pop up if and when rainfall does arrive?
The sun shining on the tree tops at this time of year is always a seasonal highlight. The changing colour of the leaves sparkling their golds, yellows and oranges has been a delight as ever. In addition, the backdrop of bright blue skies and white clouds against the tree tops has added an extra special feel to autumn this time around.
Woodruff Wood,Longhirst, Morpeth, Northumberland
'Passionate about wildlife & firewood'
T: 07525 841361 (9am - 6pm)
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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