Saturday, 25 March 2017


No, we don't want masses of intrusive footpath management that goes as far  as using helicopters to drop in scores of flagstones. But it's clear that the Wildlife Trust employees have time on their hands and not much idea what to do with it, witness the unnecessary chain-saw activity and the installation of interpretation boards. So why not use the materail that's available to improve things here?

There is a lot of dry bracken in parts of Blacka.

There is also lots of felled rhododendron that could be utilised. Though I hesitate to suggest anything that brings in more machinery, e.g. shredders. And I guess of the two options anything that involves noisy machines will always be preferred.

Looking On


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Early Start


The first flower to show here. Coltsfoot each year braves the unpredictable conditions of March leaving its leaves behind somewhat better protected. They later become some of the largest leaves of any wayside wild flower.

Elvish Cuisine

Not many edible fungi around in March. One that does appear around now is the Scarlet Elf Cap.

Recipes available online. Look out for it on dead wood.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Fastest off the mark in Birch buds are those on the scrub low down and thus more sheltered.

Doubtless Wood Sorrel is more advanced down near Shorts Lane. Up here the leaves are just showing alongside some purposeful grass blades.

At the Wall Caff we now are seeing a pair of Long-Tailed Tits joining the BlueTits, Coal Tits and Great Tits present throughout the winter. The newcomers are particularly fond of the nut feeder.

But their tails can cause a bit of a tangle when both are feeding.

Buzzing Away

If we ever wondered who is responsible for setting the rules allowing conservation organisations to be bribed to work against nature via farm subsidies....... Unnatural England looks pretty pleased with itself. Perhaps they are congratulating themselves on, for example, the number of native trees felled, the grants for more fences and walls, the failures to monitor compliance with environmental regulations on farms, etc.

Labels and Descriptions


Roe Deer are sometimes seen in these trees in the early hours and they were there this morning their presence given away by their white patches bobbing and dancing. Later on we find  footprints.

Small prints usually mean Roe rather than Red but you have to consider that there's not much difference between a full sized doe and a small hind. Catkins are nearby fallen to the ground as a seasonal reminder ....

.. and in the Alders alongside the stream.

The land in the top picture is all part of Blacka and called persistently by SWT its 'nature reserve'; a symptom of their nervousness is the regularity with which the word 'reserve' gets used in relation to Blacka. This is stretching the truth to the point that the Trades Description regulations might be invoked. The strip where the trees are and where the Roe Deer were seen is closest to being 'natural' and nature is even there under threat with trees gradually being felled to provide employment to SWT's chain saws. Obviously the treeless field at the top is rigidly under management control being kept simply as farmland where recreational activity and nature itself get precious little look-in. In the foreground leggy heather is protected from natural succession by managerial 'scrub bashing' laughably organised as a recreational leisure activity for a small posse of volunteers; and of course paths are trashed by cows outside the winter months. Nature Reserve? Current vogue phrases might be invoked, but no word or phrase these days is proof against redefinition.