Saturday January 7th 2012
It’s been quite a busy week. We managed to locate some wood chippings recently left over by the foresters. We used this in Sparky and Toby’s aviaries. They were beginning to look like ‘The Somme’. Things are a lot nicer in there now.
As chance would have it, a tree came down in ‘the Old Wood’. I have managed to borrow the Polaris truck from Muncaster. This is a small four wheel drive, ideal on the more accessible parts of the estate. We used this to ferry branches back to the Owl Centre. We can now replace a lot of the older perches round the centre.
It’s been a long time since I was in ‘The Old Wood’. It lives up to its name. It is a place where there are a lot of hoary old pollards. By pollarding trees, you can not only radically alter the stature of them, but also extend their lifespan considerably. This is at the western end of the estate which is open to visitors. There used to be a pine forest here as well. We lost that during the great storm of 2004/5. We lost over 104 large trees at Muncaster. Even Tom fool’s tree was affected; losing two big branches. I remember coming in on the 1st of January 2005. The storm hadn’t yet abated. I nearly drove into a fallen tree across the road on the way in to work. While I was here, I could hear all these trees falling. It was quite scary. The sound they made was like nothing I had ever heard before. The snapping of the massive trunks sounded like what I imagine round shot would have sounded like as it hit a fortress wall, after being fired from a massive siege gun like they used in the early 19th century. The Old Wood was never the same after that. The pine forest disappeared overnight. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before the old pollards follow suit.
On the bright side, where the pine forest used to be is now a mass of Foxgloves.
Oh, I forgot; on the way back to pick up the next batch of branches, we witnessed a male Sparrow Hawk killing a Wood Pigeon. These birds of prey are awesome! At low level, nothing can out fly them!
See you next week.
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