In the Willows

Tuesday, November 5th 2013

The summer of 2013 provided perfect conditions for the growth of trees. The willow in particular has grown much faster this year than in previous years. If the height of the vegetation alongside the bird ringing net rides is too much then the birds fly over the mist nets and opportunities to catch and ring some species are missed. The photograph below shows how high some of the willow had become next to one of the rides.

Before

Team Tuesday set to task to solve this problem by cutting back willow, birch and Hawthorn.

Jungle

In the morning mist, volunteers soon created piles of brash. As the saying goes 'You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'!

breaking eggs

The area was soon tidied with additional help from pupils from the Dales School.

Helping hand

In forestry terms 2013 has been a 'mast year'. These years are a natural phenomenon where some tree species produce very large crops of seeds in some years, compared to almost none in others. It’s not known exactly why mast years occur, but they have been linked to various causes over the years, including weather and climatic conditions. The result at Foxglove has been an abundance of Hawthorn berries. The trees with berries have been left for now as a valuable food source for the wildlife.

Bonfire Night

The larger willows were cut with a pole saw to speed up the process.

Pollarding

Brian preferred a more traditional way of tackling the high branches!

monkey puzzle

By late afternoon, not only had the habitat improved but so had the weather and the tools were packed away in bright sunshine.

After

As you can see in the 'after' photo, a good start has been made on what will be a major job for the coming winter months. Thank you to everyone for all your hard work and enthusiasm and special thanks to Ann for the delicious treacle and syrup traybakes that kept energy levels high!


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