All posts from

October 2008

National Red Squirrel Week

red squirrel

Image © James Laing. See it on Flickr.

This week is National Red Squirrel Week (4th – 12th October).
Check out the Wildlife Trusts page here, which contains a list of events running during the Week. The Wildlife Trusts are using National Red Squirrel Week to get the public to record their sightings of red and grey squirrels to identify where the reds are thriving and where the raging hordes of greys are invading previously grey-free areas. Wildlife Extra’s National Red Squirrel Week page provides contact details to report your squirrel sightings to the relevant organisations around the UK. Get involved!

squirrel supporting itself between two tree trunks. “Awesome Ninja Skillz… I has dem”

Image from I Can Has Cheezburger.

Posted in Miscellany

treeblog update (Set A, Day 558): cider gums

Not had a cider gum update for thirty-four days. Sorry. Little bit slack, that. But now here are all fifteen Set A cider gums, photographed today: Set A Day 558.

Cider gums Nos. 1, 2 and 4.

Cider gums Nos. 5, 7 and 8. No. 7 is still the tallest gum.

Cider gums Nos. 9, 10 and 11.

Cider gums Nos. 12, 13 and 14. Lots of nice branching.

Cider gums Nos. 3, 6 and 15: the Runts.

Aaah yes, long time no see. It’s the only surviving (of two) awkwardly-named post-Set A unknown seedling. What this seedling is, I still don’t know. But it hasn’t been looking too healthy as of late. The tip of the leading shoot has died, but there is a new shoot on the twisty lower stem. Is it a tree? Is it a weed? It’s the post-Set A unknown seedling.

Posted in The treeblog trees

Gathering sweet chesntuts for Set C

sweet chestnuts

(The photos in this post can be viewed at a higher resolution – click them to open their Flickr pages, then click the ‘All sizes’ button.)

Sweet chestnuts. I have a desire to see sweet chestnut trees in the treeblog stables, and I know the perfect thoroughbred stallion to sire them. Last year, after jumping the gun a few times, I got hold of a tub of chestnuts from this hoss and planted thirty in March of this year for treeblog’s Set B. Not a single nut germinated. In fact Set B only produced one seedling, and that didn’t live very long. Set B was a massive failure.

sweet chestnuts

2009 will be the year of treeblog’s Set C, and this time there will be sweet chestnuts. I’ve been back to the parent tree twice this week – on Saturday and Thursday – and I have collected a shed-load of nuts. I reckon I must have got about 150. So there is no way treeblog is coming away empty-handed in 2009. Set C is going to be sweet.

pile of sweet chestnuts

The chestnuts I gathered on my forays.

Posted in The treeblog trees

Caterpillars on the alders

two caterpillars in alder leaf den

(The photos in this post can be viewed at a higher resolution – click them to open their Flickr pages, then click the 'All sizes' button.)

caterpillar hiding between alder stipules

silky caterpillar den on alder leaf

two caterpillars hiding between alder stipules

treeblog’s grey alders sure have received a pasting from caterpillars this summer, No. 4 being the worst affected. Back in mid-August I posted a photo of a cluster of small translucent and green caterpillars on alder No. 1. Much bigger caterpillars are still munching away – I’m assuming that these are more mature specimens of the flavour photographed in August and not caterpillars of a different species. The four photos above were taken nearly three weeks ago on the 28th of September (the date of the last grey alder and Scots pine update) and show the big-size caterpillars. If anybody recognizes this species please email me at the address shown at the top of the page.

P.S. Earlier today... a third v. successful nut-collecting trip to that sweet chestnut!

Posted in The treeblog trees

A wander in Millstones Wood (24th October 2008)

I went for a wander in the Millstones Wood this afternoon. We’re well and truly into Autumn now. I know, I’ve seen it… and I have evidence:

(The photos in this post can be viewed at a higher resolution – click them to open their Flickr pages, then click the 'All sizes' button.)

The Sun shines through the soon-to-be-bare branches of beeches yet hung with green and gold leaves.

I reckon this burnt-looking thing is some kind of fungus. I’ve seen them in the same woods but in spring-time, so I don’t know if they can appear like this all year round or whether they have some amazing ability to stick around through the winter. I also wonder if they only look like this dead and shrivelled, or if this is how they actually grow. Can you, dear reader, satisfy my queries? Email’s at top o’ page.

A reclining beech.

Another reclining beech. Judging by how its roots haven’t regrown, I’d say it’s either not been down long or it went over quickly.

This beech branch hung so low that its lowest point was covered by earth. It may have then put down roots and become an independent tree – a process known as ‘layering’.

Picturesque larches in front of an outcropping of millstone grit.

Good old semi-natural mixed woodland. I can see pine, oak and beech in this photo and there is larch just out of shot on the right.

This bark around a hollow in the trunk of a massive old fallen rowan is riddled with pellets from an air rifle. Someone’s been doing a lot of shooting.

Posted in Gone for a walk

Night forests

Forests in the day are friendly places. They remind you of Sunday walks, swooshing leaves, holding a parent's big, warm hand, or providing that hand yourself. At night the woods take the gloves off and remind you why you're nervous in the dark. Night forests say, 'Go find a cave, monkey-boy, this place is not for you.'

From The Lonely Dead by Michael Marshall.

Posted in Quotes

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