I do not know where time goes to nowadays! By the time you read this the shortest day will have passed and the daylength is getting longer- hooray! In the woods too the sunlight is becoming brighter and stronger especially when we have a break in the clouds. Most of the leaves have fallen so the canopy is less dense, allowing the sunbeams to shine on the lower levels. When the rays hit the tree trunks at an oblique angle one can wonder at the patterns of nature demonstrated by the ridges of the tree bark. The furrows of the ash and oak are deeper than those of the beech trees, helping us to distinguish between the species. Despite the loss of chlorophyll from the leaves, the colours of the wood remain vibrant with brilliant greens complimenting the remains of the autumnal browns, browns and coppers. The most verdant colour may be the mosses cloaking the bases of the tree trunks, often thicker on the northern side. Look closely and we can see the small spore forming growths which can look like golf clubs. The mosses appear to have a golden halo when backlit by the low winter sun, the soft thick blanket suitable for a bed for the fairies of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Elsewhere the ferns too are still looking very much alive. In the late spring I occasionally have difficulty differentiating bracken from fern but it is easier at this time of year. Although some of the bracken is still green it looks faded compared with the strong growth of the ferns which looks like suitable fodder for dinosaurs- as it probably was!
The birdsong is also becoming more apparent- nuthatches calling loudly as they go about their business whilst the ravens call from overhead as they prepare to nest- one of the earliest species to do so. The early bird may catch the worm whilst those looking for nesting sites may be best placed to choose the premium spots. My dog too is good at selecting places to rest in, her favourite being a spot in front of a fire spread out on a luxury carpet!
Nature Notes wishes all readers a happy and prosperous New Year, perhaps celebrated by a rewarding walk or trip to enjoy the wonderful natural sights to be enjoyed in our local woods!
The Friends were pleased to announce the winners of the photography competition at the Apple Day on October 6th.
The winner was Steve Goddard, with a photo of the patterns of wood in a harvested tree, second prize went to Martin Barnatt, for a view from the woods over a stile, and third prize to Jason Richardson, for his photo of dog roses.
We had around 40 entries which provided a good display on the day, with photos ranging from flowers of the wood, to fauna of the wood, and views of trees, the ponds and frosty scenes.
Thank you to all those who entered and to Sarah Lambert, a local botanist and photographer for judging the competition.
Bourne Wood: A portrayal of a wood in Kesteven. This A5 full colour booklet provides an insight into the history, natural history and forestry management of Bourne Wood, an ancient woodland in south Lincolnshire. Its contribution to nature conservation and local amenity are also outlined. Dr Keith Porter, Deputy Chief Scientist at Natural England, reviews the booklet:
Bourne Wood: A Portrayal Of A Wood In Kesteven
This attractively produced booklet is a must for anyone visiting Bourne Wood in Lincolnshire. It packs in everything you need to understand its history from 1086 to the present day and the wildlife and facilities that the Wood offers to visitors. The colourful guide to the plants and animals of Bourne Wood offers a taster of what you can see throughout the year and provides a fully detailed list of recorded species at the end of the booklet.
For visitors, it gives clear detail on parking, footpaths and facilities and includes everything you need to know for an exciting day out in the wild! This is an excellent guide to a place that is easily accessible to people from nearby Bourne and further afield – highly recommended and great value.