This was a new date and place for our normal Easter Trail – in our Community Orchard. This meant that those who had never visited the orchard got a chance to enjoy it and hopefully return at weekends when it is open.
We had quite a large crowd for our litter pick – around six McDonalds employees, and 16 members of the Friends of Bourne Woods or members of the public, plus children and dogs! The weather was much improved from earlier in the week with plenty of sunshine. March is a really good month to do a deep clean in the wood as the undergrowth has died back leaving litter which was previously hidden, suddenly visible.
I like Bluebells! Indeed, I should think that nearly everybody likes Bluebells! Of course, not to eat (this domain is reserved for the deer, badgers and squirrels of the wood) but to view – we can feast on the visual beauty of those spectacular blue swathes which epitomise a British deciduous woodland.
At the recent AGM of the Friends two long-standing members of the committee stood down.
This now leaves some gaps on the committee, not for officers or for a particular role – but general committee members who provide support and ideas for the group.
The Friends of Bourne Wood, in conjunction with Bourne Borderers Morris, held their third Wassail in the community orchard in Bourne on Saturday.
A large group gathered in the autumn sunshine at Bourne Wood for a fungal foray led by Dr Vin Fleming.
The long, dry summer seemed to have reduced the number and variety of mushrooms and toadstools in the wood. Despite this, an enthusiastic group of around 35 adults and children still managed to gather a reasonable number of different species.
Vin pointed out that in Great Britain, there are some 12,000 fungi species, which means that even experts are unable to identify every species that might be encountered on a foray.
What was striking was the range of sizes, shapes and colours of the fungi collected. Vin also showed us the very strange striate earth stars growing around the base of a conifer.
Several bracket fungi growing on tree trunks, stumps and fallen branches included the birch polypore, the blushing bracket, the latter so-called as it blushes wine red when the surface is rubbed or damaged and the very common turkey tail fungus.
Probably the largest toadstool collected was the pale-coloured trooping funnel while much smaller in stature was the yellow stagshorn fungus with its golden yellow finger-like branches.
A number of specimens of the attractive lilac bonnet fungus were also found. This widespread species of deciduous woodland is mildly toxic and is one of several fungi that are phosphorescent – that is it glows in the dark! Another attractive mushroom with a pale-yellow cap turned out to be a false death cap (Amanita citrina). Unlike its close relative, the deadly poisonous death cap (Amanita phalloiides), this species is not seriously toxic!
A delightful find was the rather uncommon magpie inkcap so-called because as the gills of the cap age, they deliquesce forming a black inky liquid.
Arguably one of the more bizarre fungi encountered were the coal-like Kind Alfred’s cakes (Daldinia concentrica) living on dead wood and which is inedible. The story behind the name of this species is recounted in the article here.
All in all an interesting, informative and enjoyable few hours. Thanks are due to Vin for his time and expertise.
Photographs Steve Goddard and Richard Jefferson.
The Community Orchard Open Day, organised by the Friends of Bourne Wood, was thoroughly enjoyed by those who came, and despite the weather forecast we had a sunny time! There was live music from Dean Hardy and Friends who play regularly at the Masons, Bourne and the Hare & Hounds at Haconby. They played two sets of lively music – a mix of Irish, Folk, Country and traditional tunes. People could either sit and listen, or wander and enjoy the ambiance of the orchard – and the children managed a little dance!
There were plenty of delicious cakes from the homemade cake stall, with teas and coffees to wash them down.
Children had craft activities to try, and a guess the fruit competition as well as traditional games, which adults also enjoyed, and became quite competitive. These were supplemented by a craft stall, second hand book-stall, and a plant stall. The Bourne Wood booklet was also available.
The Friends had picked some fruit from the orchard, both to show people the different types of apples and pears, but also so people could take some away with them for a small donation. There will be more punnets available for the next few weeks during opening hours in the orchard, on a Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm.
A huge ‘Thank You’ goes to Dean Hardy and the other musicians for their entertainment and to all our other volunteers who helped set up and look after the stalls on the day. The event was supported by PPL PRS Charity and Community Discount Scheme. PPL PRS licences the use of copyright music across the UK, giving businesses and organisations the permission they need to play the music they want.
Photographs by Steve Goddard
We had a lovely sunny and warm day for the Friends of Bourne Woods first children’s activity event in the Bourne Community Orchard on Saturday.
There were plenty of activities for children to try their hands at – painting butterflies which could fly in the wind, making caterpillars, building their own bug hotel to take home, and a treasure hunt around the orchard. Taking part in the treasure hunt gave the children a chance to win a copy of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ book by Eric Carle.
There was also the chance to relax in the orchard with some homemade cake and a hot or cold drink.
The children had great fun – making lots of noise, running around looking for clues and making a sticky mess! The event also helped raise awareness of the existence of the orchard, the need for volunteers to help tend it and funds to maintain it.
Thank you to all that helped on the day both setting up and during the afternoon.
Photographs Roland Smith
A large group of around 25 adults and children joined bug expert Dr Keith Porter to hunt for and identify insects in Bourne Wood.
We were blessed with fine weather as we have come to expect in this extraordinary 2018 British summer!
Before setting off, Keith demonstrated the various equipment we were going to use to seek out bugs and beasties. This included two types of nets plus beating trays. The latter is a framed square flat piece of fabric which is held underneath a bush to catch insects dislodged by striking a branch or bush with a stick.
We had a successful afternoon and found a wide range of insects and spiders on the margins of the main ride through the wood.
Ten species of butterflies were seen including several silver-washed fritillaries, which is Britain’s largest resident butterfly and particularly striking with its orange coloration and streaks of silver found on the underside of the wings.
At one stage, two brown hawker dragonflies observed us from above. This species is a large fast-flying dragonfly with distinctive golden-brown wings and which probably breeds in the ponds in the wood.
Other insects we encountered included several types of hoverflies, 7-spot ladybirds, shield and squash bugs and grasshoppers.
A Silver Y moth was captured and Keith explained that this day-flying moth was an annual immigrant from continental Europe. And finally, a very strange looking pale yellow-green spider was found. This turned out to be a crab spider. These spiders don’t spin webs instead relying on camouflage and ambush. They hide in flowers, where they prey on flies and bees. Some species can even change colour to match the flower they are on.
All in all, it was an interesting and enjoyable outing for the participants, and we are very grateful to Keith for sharing his expertise and enthusiasm with us.
Photographs Steve Goddard