Saturday, 5 September 2015

Who is watching ??

I'm not a doctor of course but here's a free prescription for anyone who needs a bit of a lift...  and who doesn't from time to time? Come down to the woods for a stroll... As simple as that? Well, I know it's not quite that easy for everyone to get down there but for those of us who can, then do !! It really is a tonic. Now for those who have difficulty with access or mobility then please don't be afraid to ask someone to help.... and I don't need to say anything to those who are able to help.
These two photos were taken on bright days in July, but even on a dull day there is a calm and serenity about the surroundings. The lady in red is just leaving the Triangle and might head upstream along the Trym or turn left and go up to the Meadow or Playing Field. I seem to remember she has a pushchair. What a beautiful view for a young child looking out on all that greenery, and mum chatting away about the stream, the trees and probably the squirrels too..... and then to doze.......
On the right is the path along the Trym. As you wander along you might see some nesting boxes on the trees. There's one on the large tree to the right of the photo. It's worth looking at the trees. Some of the mature ones are magnificent and surely have been there for a very long time.
All the crevices in the bark are great for insects and you'll see birds crawling around the trunks hunting them out. I saw a treecreeper several weeks ago and it was a real treat. Unfortunately it was camera shy. More often I see the nuthatches chipping away at bark looking for insects or at nuts and acorns with their strong chisel beaks. I don't have any good photos of nuthatches from the woods but I do have some I took elsewhere in August so will put one in.
The bird on the left is the nuthatch that I saw in Shropshire recently. In fact there was a family of them and one adult was giving food to another bird. It's easy to think it must have been a young bird receiving the food but the males will also give food to the females in a similar fashion.You can see the bird is pointing down the tree whereas treecreepers are almost invariably creeping up.

The next bird is a treecreeper from the same area and time. If you can enlarge the photo just look at the beak. It's like a surgical instrument for picking tiny objects from small holes and crevices. It wouldn't be any good for cracking nuts or eating seed like a nuthatch, finch or sparrow. To find a treecreeper in the wood look for a small bird that repeatedly flies from high in a tree to low on the trunk and then slowly but busily climbs up the trunk searching the minute crevices in the bark for tasty insects and bugs.

I mentioned nest boxes. This bluetit was nesting in the box that you can see from the bridge in the Triangle. It was early this summer and it was busy going to and fro fetching grubs for its young. No wonder the birds start to look a bit worn and bedraggled as the summer progresses. The boxes are mainly used by bluetits but it depends on the size of the entrance hole. Birds can be very fussy and its 25mm for bluetits but great tits are a bit larger and prefer 28mm, nuthatches 32mm.
Enough of birds for the moment.... though I never tire of them.
Let's pause a moment, perhaps by the stream...and think about this poem by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 As you walk around have a look for the Green Man, another of Andy O'Neills sculptures. I'm sure you'll find him without me saying where he is. There was a story-telling gathering in the wood during the summer and some of us like to think of him as the 'Story Teller'. But have a look at him and see if you can tell who he is and what he's thinking.... or is he just watching? There's a carved seat close by and it's a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the sounds of the stream and birds while absorbing the marvellous atmosphere.
  Of course, as we walk and watch, we are also being watched closely. Not only by hundreds of small birds and plenty of squirrels but sometimes by slightly larger animals.
This fox was wondering why I was out so early one morning in July. He was by the Lakewood Road gate and after sizing me up for a few moments he decided I wasn't really worth worrying about and slowly went on his way.

Here's a map of the wood, courtesy of Ordnance Survey and I have added a few details. Unfortunately it's a bit pale but if you are able to enlarge it the details will be clearer. To find the wood's position within Bristol go to Google maps and enter postcode: BS10 5HW. Google Earth will show the green outline of the wood more clearly.

I did say I would  put in a bit of the wood's history but I'll save that for next time.

As an afterthought, I have to show you this butterfly. It was in the meadow in August and it's absolutely beautiful. It's a Common Blue but common or not it's a wonderful sight.
Yes, it is real and alive !!

Postscript: Funnily enough I went to the wood to de-stress this evening (3rd Sept) and during my wander I saw a treecreeper. I was amazed after what I'd already written only this afternoon. It's only the second one I've seen in Badock's Wood this year. I'm so pleased that I'm going to put in the photo I took even though it's not one to be proud of....  but it is one of our own Badock birds and that means a lot. Just look at that beak !

Till next time...

Here is some information from the Friends of Badock's Wood (FOBW) leaflet:
Badock's Wood Celebration: Sunday Sept 20th 2-5pm. See: for more details.

Bat Walk: Friday 18th Sept 7.00-9.00pm Meet in The Greenway Centre. A short talk about bats followed by a walk through the wood at dusk and after dark with bat detectors. Sounds exciting !!

 Comments can be sent to:

mike townsend

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