Sunday, 11 October 2015

A Walk on The Dark Side

 Badock's Wood can be very atmospheric in the evening. Dramatic cloud formations and the sun shining through and reflecting off the clouds; the warm colours changing by the minute. There is also a clamour of calls from the crows and jackdaws returning to their roosting sites high in the trees and perhaps squabbling over the most comfortable perches before settling down for the night. It certainly sounds as though there's a quarrel going on. There is also a certain eeriness about being in the woods in the evening as night time gradually closes in.
It might seem odd to say that the Owl Prowl was a great success, when in fact we didn't hear any owls. But this was more than compensated for by the interesting mini-talks given to us by our guides from the South Glos Group of the Hawk and Owl Trust as we walked through the woods by torchlight. There were plenty of other woodland night time noises to hear and wonder at. I was interested to learn that owls can 'lock' their talons so that they can grip their prey without tiring or expending much energy.

At the end of the evening we were treated to an appearance by a tawny owl and a barn owl brought by our guides. They are beautiful creatures and even attracted the attention of several passers-by who hadn't been on the walk. Watch the FOBW website for the next Owl Prowl, perhaps in the Spring, it's a marvellous experience. Thank you to Dave Knowles and Paul Golledge of the Hawk & Owl Trust for leading us and for bringing the owls. To find out more about the Hawk and Owl Trust click here.

On Tuesday 6th Oct I walked around Badock Wood with Sian, also of FOBW and Matt Collis of The Avon Wildlife Trust. He was giving us advice on the siting of bird nesting boxes. For the moment we are mainly interested in placing boxes suitable for  bluetits and great tits and also nuthatches. Of course other birds might use the boxes but robins and wrens usually prefer open fronted boxes and also to be nearer the ground. The placing of boxes needs care because the birds require safety from predators, including sparrow hawks, and also from the elements. For this reason we will try to place them 3-4 metres from the ground and facing between North & East. We will also be getting advice from the Hawk & Owl Trust about placing new owl boxes because the present ones are much too high.
Matt Collis is leading a project aimed at helping groups across the city improve their local areas for wildlife. This includes wild flowers, birds, insects and many other species. Having these areas of natural beauty and interest is vital to our own physical and mental well being. It is well worth looking at The Avon Wildlife Trust site to see what is happening around Bristol. click here to read more.
While we were walking around with Matt we were surprised at how quickly the fungi had grown on the Chestnut bench in the wood. Nothing to see on Sunday but by Tuesday morning I was able to take these photos. Thank you Matt.

Entrances to Badock's Wood

I usually go in and out of the wood via the entrance opposite the Willowbank Residential Home  in Lakewood Road. It occurred to me that most of us would use just one or two entrances and perhaps never see the others. This entrance is at the far end of Lakewood Road and leads to a path on the south side of the Trym. The path along that side of the stream can be very muddy and there are some steps which can be slippery to come down if you wish to walk right along to the triangle. However the first part of the track from the Doncaster Road end is not muddy and worth a wander.

Badock's Wood Celebration 2015

These are some of the photos from the Badock's Wood celebration on 20th September. Down the left side there is: Friends of Badock's Wood, Festival of Nature, Specialised Nestboxes and A Bristol Murmuration.

Down the right side we have Bristol & Avon Rivers Trust (BART), Mutty Professor and Avon Wildlife Trust.
Links to the various organisations can be found below. It was a very successful day and more than two hundred people came to find out more about the all aspects of the wood .

 Friends of Badock's Wood
Festival of Nature
Specialised Nestboxes
Bristol Murmuration
Bristol Avon Rivers Trust
Mutty Professor
Avon Wildlife Trust

 One for sorrow, two for joy

A group of magpies is sometimes called a 'tiding' but what tidings can we deduce from this number of birds? They can be seen on most evenings gathering on the short grass of the meadow and presumably feeding on some small creatures.

Even on damp days it can be very pleasant just to wander through the woods, perhaps looking at nothing in particular but absorbing the calm and peaceful atmosphere.

You can click on the photos to enlarge.
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mike townsend

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