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April in the Forest

By Bewdley Town Council Bewdley Town Council

Sunday, 1 April 2018


Bewdley Town Council Contributor


One of the benefits of foreign travel is that it can open our eyes to the good things we enjoy at home. I got back from a long (and very enjoyable) trip last month and despite the cold weather and pre-springtime appearance of our countryside was delighted to see the familiar patterns of our fields, woods and hedges again. Although we notice the decline in our songbirds, butterflies and other wildlife we can also reflect that we are still richly blessed and should celebrate and enjoy what we have. The obvious activity of the birds around my garden feeders is encouraging to see and tells me that it’s my time to get busy outside too.

The Wyre Community Land Trust have finished the thinning of oaks around Uncllys and the forest is now quiet for the nesting season. A new owl box has appeared at the woodland edge and I’ll be keeping an eye on any activity. The bird boxes in the orchard and garden have been checked over and cleaned out, and we’re trying to keep some vacant for the redstarts and other migrants that arrive this month by blocking the holes to blue and great tits. We should see bats (Common and Soprano Pipistrelles, Brown Long-eared, Whiskered, Brants and Daubenton’s) this month too as they come out of hibernation with a big appetite for flies and moths. There are 40 bat boxes fixed to oak trees on the farm but I don’t know how many are used for hibernation and breeding because I’m not qualified to check them - that’s something I intend to start putting right this year. The photo (from FactZoo) is of a Brown Long-eared Bat.

I have an eye on the shoots of Lily of the Valley, mainly because good sites for this lovely flower in our vicinity were disturbed last year: one by digging to repair a water leak and another by tree thinning work. I’m sure they will recover but it may take a few years for their rhizomes to make replacement growth. In the long term the upheaval may have done them good by spreading them into new areas and the increase in light reaching the forest floor should encourage flowering. The scent of the little flowers, which appear in May, is surprisingly strong and beloved by bees.

Despite the very kind comments of editor Margaret in last month’s Bridge I can only claim to be ‘hugely knowledgeable’ in the realm of trivia, and rely largely on other sources of information for the content of my articles. ‘The Nature of Wyre’ by the Wyre Forest Study Group, ‘The Natural History of an English Forest’ by Norman Hickin, ‘The Wild Flower Key’ by Francis Rose, ‘Flora Britannica’ by Richard Mabey, ‘Fauna Britannica’ by Stefan Buczacki and other volumes pile up around me as I write, and the internet gives me the British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB and other specialist sites. I recommend them all.

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