All posts by Sarah Roberts

Secretary, Friends of Bourne Wood. Local enthusiast who has lived in Bourne all her life and uses the woods daily. Sarah has a strong interest in wildlife in general, especially birds.

Flowers and Minibeasts Walk

The walk started well, as the leaders, Keith Porter and Richard Jefferson had been on a pre-amble and returned with a Purple Hairstreak – which although found in the wood is not something many of us had seen as they spend their lives right at the top of oak trees – so are difficult to spot!

Setting off; looking for flowers and minibeast!
Setting off; looking for flowers and minibeast!

We set off furnished with butterfly nets and sweep nets, which not only did the children enjoy – but the adults had great fun trying to catch butterflies and even more fun transferring them to the identification pots.

Identifying the latest catch!
Identifying the latest catch!

The star of the last years show returned this year – the Silver Washed Fritillary – a beautiful orange and brown butterfly, quite large and displaying perfectly for us to see.  Someone then caught a White Letter Hairstreak, which is not particularly common, and the young feed on Elm.  In addition we saw Brimstones (this year’s brood), Ringlets, Peacocks, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns from the butterfly world – and then to top the afternoon off we caught a Brown Argus butterfly – recorded previously in the wood – but not seen before by those attending.

On closer inspection....
On closer inspection….

The bugs caught in the sweep nets included Shield Bugs, Lacewings, Soldier Beetles, 14 spot Ladybird, and a Bush Cricket, not to mention the large Spider!

Can you identify the butterfly?
Can you identify the butterfly?

With regard to flowers, we enjoyed the creeping Thistles which were full of butterflies, and this became obvious why when we smelt the flowers – just like honey!  The Angelica flowers were full of Hoverflies as they are easy for insects to get nectar from due to their open flowers.  We saw Ragwort – which although disliked by many is good for insects and home to the Cinnabar moth.  There was also St John’s Wort – used as a medicinal plant, Meadowsweet and Spear Thistle.

Our thanks go Keith and Richard for a lovely afternoon, the weather was exceptionally good, and the walk was very much enjoyed by the 20 or so people attending.

Photographs by Roland Smith.

Tree Identification Walk

The Friends of Bourne Wood held a Tree Identification Walk on a warm summer’s evening with the aim of helping people identify some of the common species found in the wood, along with some interesting facts and some of the more unusual trees.

The walk started by looking at the grand Beech trees at the five crossroads – with smooth bark these lovely trees have bright green leaves in the Spring and beautiful colours in the autumn.  After that we covered the common species of Wild Cherry, Ash, Aspen, Oak, Hazel, Blackthorn and Hawthorn amongst others.

We were told Ash had separate male and female trees, with only females having keys, how to recognise aspen with its rustling leaves, and the two different types of native Oak – English & Sessile.

Our less common species include the Wild Service tree, which is a good indicator of ancient woodland and was often used as a boundary tree, and has fruit which can be used for jams.  Also in the wood are a few small leaved lime, with distinctive flowers, the wood of which can be used for piano keys.

Around 20 people enjoyed this interesting walk, our thanks go to Mick Curtis and Richard Jefferson for leading the evening and answering all the questions.

Easter Egg Trail

Around 240 children took part in our Easter Trail on Monday, accompanied by their parents or grandparents.  They all searched for hidden eggs along a trail in the wood, answering a quiz as they went.  The eggs were of different colours, and some had letters or names to look for in order to answer the questions on the quiz.

easter egg trail
Searching for Easter eggs in Bourne Wood.

There was also a wildlife quiz where they had to identify the animal or bird and then use a letter from each to find another animal.  Each child could then choose a small prize, whether or not they had all the correct answers!

stalls
There were tombola and bric-a-brac stalls; and there was also a craft stall and a plant stall.

Three Counties Dog Rescue had a tombola and bric-a-brac stall, and there was also a craft stall and a plant stall along with a chance to have refreshments after looking for all the clues.

The weather was very kind, leading to a very good turn out and the Friends of Bourne Wood are very pleased with the day.

Many thanks to all those that helped make the day possible.

Scavenging Day March

Our last scavenging day of the season was unfortunately hit with illness with several people cancelling on the day, however those that came were pleased with one lady saying ‘the trouble with collecting wood is that you do not know when to stop!’

The format remained the same with people bringing their own wheelbarrows and borrowing saws to collect the wood from the previously felled trees – which was mostly ash.  Collection was from the same place as earlier in the year as there remained plenty of wood.

wheelbarrow with wood in it
A barrow load of wood!

Most people had more than one barrowful.  It was a very successful day, which those taking part thoroughly enjoyed.

It is a good way to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise while finding some reasonably priced wood.  The days are always popular with a regular clientele.

As yet we do have plans for a further event as it is dependant on the felling which takes place and the agreement with the Forestry Commission as to what deadwood can be removed.

Photograph by Chris Neal

Winter Bird Walk

The Friends held their first winter bird walk in the snow on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year, led by Vaughan Roberts.  As always a walk in the snow in the woods is quite magical.

We started in the car park looking at one of the bird tables with the feeders which are filled regularly by a team of volunteers from the Friends. A brightly coloured Jay was enjoying the nuts, as were Marsh Tits and Great Tits, and a Blackbird kept nipping in for some seed. While in the car park a Treecreeper disappeared behind a tree before flying off. We saw our Christmas Robin all fluffed up in a bush just before setting off.

While walking around some of the less used rides we came across a charm of Goldfinches in the top of a tree and whilst watching those, a herd of deer galloped past, including one of the white ones. We passed a second bird table on our way back which had a Nuthatch feeding from it and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker in a nearby tree. Of course we also saw regulars such as Woodpigeon, Crows, Magpies and Blue Tits.

Photographs by Jennifer Roberts

Bugs, Beetles and Butterflies Talk By Dr Keith Porter

Those attending the talk organised by the Friends of Bourne Wood, on some of the butterflies, bugs and beetles found in woodland, enjoyed a very informative evening.

Dr Keith Porter very cleverly took us on a tour of the different areas of the woodland and described which species may be found there. Starting with the grassy paths and their Speckled Wood butterflies which are known to most of us and, finishing with the life in the tall trees and the Purple Hairstreak butterfly which are difficult to see, as they spend their time around the tops of oak trees!

purple hairstreak upperwing female
Purple Hairstreak (Favonius Quercus) female upper wing.

He described the lifestyle of some of the butterflies and bugs, including the ways they lay their eggs and how they hibernate through the winter, often as tiny caterpillars. In finishing he left us with the challenge of finding species that are known to be in the area, but have not yet been recorded in the wood, suggesting that they could well be found there.

Our thanks go to Keith for his very interesting talk, and for stepping in at short notice.

Photo courtesy of the Butterfly Conservation.

Den Building Competition Take Two

The Friends of Bourne Wood had a warm, sunny day for their second den building competition of the year on Sunday.

The families used leftover materials from the thinning to create dens deep within the wood, which were then covered with bracken. John Wilcockson, the leader of the event explained how to make the dens, suggested extras that could be added and that there would be a rainstorm to test the waterproofness of the dens at the end!

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Taking shelter! Bourne Wood Den Building Competition.

Four families, plus John’s family entered the competition in the morning, with the winners being the Whitney family from South Witham. The afternoon session had three groups with the winners being an all ladies team of Adams and Carlton, who won with lots of added extras such as a washing line and toilet!

Everyone had great fun, although they all got wet when water was thrown over the dens!

Photographer John Wilcockson©

Den Building Competition In Bourne Wood

We had a warm day with sunny intervals for our den building competition on Sunday.

Five families used leftover materials from the wood thinning to create dens deep within the wood. Most were made lean-to style, with the exception of one wigwam style. The dens were then covered with Bracken to help make them waterproof.

wigwam den built in bourne wood
The wigwam den made by the Copestake family for five people.

The wigwam style den was big enough for two families, with a dog kennel at the end for the family’s springer spaniel, accommodating five people very comfortably, a very impressive but ambitious design in the time allotted. Other dens had outside seating, carpeted floors, and open fires.

Once made, the dens were tested to see if they were waterproof with the families sitting inside, and the others listening for the screams as they got wet – which everyone did!

lean-to design den in bourne wood
The winning lean-to design made by the Knudson family.

As always, it was difficult to choose a winner as all dens were really good, but the winner was made by the Knudson family, a lean-to design with carpet, a rocking chair, and a camp fire!

There will be another chance to try your hand at den building at the end of August, so look out for the posters for this.

Photographer Sarah Roberts©

Grasses Walk With Dr Richard Jefferson

We had a very pleasant summer evening stroll with the weather being dry and sunny.  There were about a dozen people who came to learn about grasses, and Dr Richard Jefferson very kindly agreed to also cover the trees and wildflowers we saw too!

During the evening we identified about 11 species of tree, 37 varieties of wildflower, and 12 grasses and sedges.  This is course is only a small selection of what is the wood, as we only covered a short distance due to stopping to inspect plants!

Richard not only helped us to identify grasses by explaining the features of some of the them, and for instance the difference between rushes and sedges, but he also told us interesting facts such as that Rye Grass is often used for football pitches as it is hard-wearing, and that one of the tallest grasses (which was taller than Richard) is Reed Canary Grass which likes damp areas.

We tend to alternate our wildflower walks between the Spring and Summer so we can enjoy and learn about different species each time, and thanks go to Richard for leading an enjoyable evening.