Sunday, 31 May 2020

Nettleton Wood

Discovering a New Wood on a Beautiful Afternoon.

At the beginning of Lockdown we joined the Woodland Trust, something I had been meaning to do for some while and it seemed an appropriate moment.  From all of the reading I have done, it seems that one of the best ways to help the climate emergency is to plant more trees and look after the 'wood wide web'.  Both the trees themselves and their associated mycorrhyzal fungi are one vast carbon sink and we need to look after them.  This wood wide web comprises millions of fungi and bacteria in a network surrounding the roots of trees, forming a vast interconnected web of organisms throughout woods.  They swap nutrients between soil and the roots of trees and transmit chemical messages from one tree to another, from one end of a wood to the other.  Scientists have mapped this web on a global scale, using a database of more than 28,000 tree species living in more than 70 countries.

Looking for a new location to walk I looked at local woods in the Woodland Trust information and came across Nettleton Wood.  This is somewhere I had always known, but always thought was private so on Sunday afternoon we launched out to explore. The woodland trust section was purchased in 1981 at which time it consisted of half, open grassy heath and secondary oak and birch woodland.  The open grassland is now a mixture of young birchwood and open space.  The remainder is a natural secondary woodland of silver birch and oak, including a small remnant of the original oak planting from the 19th century interspersed with small woodland glades.  Adjoining the Woodland Trust section is a Forestry Commission scots pine woodland with quite open stands of trees.

We followed the main path through the wood which went in a long curve from the scots pine section through the oak and birch woodland to the A46 at the far end. Walking through the open pine section was reminiscent of a cathedral while moving into the broad-leaved section we wandered into a sea of green: bight bracken green and the fresh acid-green of new birch and oak leaves.  The sun shone through the wood making the colours sparkle; it was beautiful.  It's a pity that I hadn't discovered this wood earlier when I was producing my body of work on walking in woods for my photography degree.  As we wandered through I was already filing away ideas for future photography session: early misty mornings with perhaps deer peering through the bracken, rich autumn colours, close detail images and micro landscapes.  It seemed an ideal wood on sandy, heathy terrain, for nightjars, I wonder......

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Speckled Wood


May Weather Report

May Weather Report

Again slightly warmer than normal but much, drier than we would expect with only 20mm of rain rather than the 45mm we would expect.  The daily average maximum during May was 18.5 C rather than the norm of 15.2 C and the average daily minimum was 8 C instead of 7.3.


A Wonderful Day at Bonby and Watts Wood.

A Wonderful Day at Bonby and Watts Wood.

Wanting to make the most of the weather, I was up and away early with plans for Bonby Carrs and then Watts Wood for the dragonflies, hopefully broad bodied chasers.

Bonby Carrs

As I hoped I had Bonby Carrs to myself.  Carr Lane is a super location for early migrants, especially wheatears and yellow wagtails.  It is also a favourite spot to photograph birds in song at this time of the year.  A good place for raptors, the fortunate observer can find short-eared owl hunting here in the winter.  Once the vegetation grows too high it becomes impossible to photograph birds on the fence so it will most likely be my final visit until next winter.  Unfortunately Covid 19 has kept me away during spring migration tome.  Although I saw nothing spectacular there were plenty of birds around and I get just as much of a buzz out common every day wildlife as a mega rarity.  Small songbirds were busy all the way down the lane singing to advertise territories and to warn off rival males and feeding chicks in ditch bank nests.  An idyllic couple of hours.

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Brown Hare
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Lapwing
Lapwing and Lincoln Reds
Linnet
Linnet
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Shelduck
Young Starling
Yellowhammer
Yellowhammer
Yellowhammer
Yellowhammer

Watts Wood

After a very pleasant couple of hours, I moved on to Watts Wood nature reserve at Dunholme close to Lincoln.  This is somewhere that in the past I have visite a lot but not for several years.  I couldn't believe how much things had changed.  Waist high saplings are now rapidly becoming trees.  I was initially totally disorientated but eventually got myself sorted out.  I headed first for the large Co-op pond. Although very attractive here with large numbers of dragonflies, it was very breezy and nothing was settling.  I did see emperor dragon fly, although it didn't settle at all.  There were plenty of four spotted chasers but no broad bodied.  I also photographed a few damselflies and was amazed when I processed the images to find that one was a red-eyed damsel, one that I had neither seen nor photographed before.

There being no broad bodied I decided to return to a small pond I had passed earlier where there were three males vying for supremacy.  These perched nicely and allowed me to fill my boots with these beautiful insects; I love the yellow-spotted powder blue abdomens of the males and the glistening gold females.  From here I made my way to the original pond, the Beatles pond.  Here there were more broad bodied, this time mating with the female on the wing.  The females then oviposited straight away while the male kept guard.  I was also pleased to find a female hairy dragonfly here also ovipositing.

An excellent day out.
Azure Damselflies mating
Azure Damselfly male
Broad Bodied Chaser, Male
Broad Bodied Chaser, Male
Broad Bodied Chaser, Male
Broad Bodied Chaser, Male
Broad Bodied Chaser, Female
Dog Rose
Four Spotted Chaser
Four Spotted Chaser
Female Hairy Dragonfly Ovi-Positing
Oxeye Daisy
Red-eyed Damselfly
Water Lily