Sunday, 6 March 2016

Spot The Difference

I was surprised recently to find that the dog poo bin had been removed from the Triangle. It was probably the most used bin in the wood. I was mainly surprised because it seemed there were discussions still going on which might have stopped this happening.  It was clearly a shock to many dog walkers because for a short period they continued to leave poo bags on the small square left by the removal. A sign has since gone up asking dog walkers to carry their bags to the bins close to the entrances.
It is frustrating for those who try to maintain the wood for the benefit of walkers and wildlife to have decisions made like this without being able to have any input into the discussion.

 On a more positive note we were able to make a good contribution towards clearing litter from Trymside open space on the other side of Doncaster Road from Badock's Wood. This was a joint venture between Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) and the Friends of Badock's Wood (FOBW) to publicise the need for caution in what we put into the storm drains by our roads. All this goes directly into the small River Trym that runs through Trymside and Badock's Wood towards Westbury on Trym. Harriet Alvis from BART painted yellow fish by the drains to raise awareness. Although only four of us turned up to clear the litter from Trymside we worked hard and did manage to collect 21 bags of rubbish. However, we weren't able to move the wheelie bin full of rubbish that someone had tipped over in the stream. It was too heavy. Hopefully the council will be able to clear it away. You can see Harriet's delight at the anticipated success of the Yellow Fish project. Thank you Harriet for all the work you do towards keeping our waterways clean and clear for us and for wildlife. Have a look at BART's website here. 
Another welcome sight last week was this Sparrowhawk sitting in a tree near the steps from the Trym up to the meadow area. Then on Saturday (27th), during our regular bird survey, we saw it sitting in a tree close to last year's nesting site, which unfortunately fell in the winter storms. Hopefully it will nest in the wood again this year, although the smaller birds might wish it would nest elsewhere !!
This jumble of twigs amid branches on the right is in fact a work in progress. I saw it in Stoke Park last week and I first noticed a magpie fiddling a stick into exactly the right place to strengthen his roof. This is a magpie nest and in the photo the bird is actually inside the nest. There is still a lot of work to be done but it is taking shape. Since I saw this I have seen several magpies in Badock's Wood working on their nests. Look out for them carrying sticks and watch to see where they go. You might be lucky and be able to watch their nest building skills.

Last time we saw the small red flower of the Hazel Tree beside its catkins. here is the flower of the Alder. When pollinated by pollen from the catkins it will turn into the green fruits that you see on the tree and then the small brown cones that distinguish it from the Hazel. It's worth walking over to the tree to take a closer look. I've just learned that Alder has several interesting uses. For example: the wood of some species is used to smoke various foods such as coffee, salmon and other sea food. Also, most of the pilings that form the foundations of Venice are formed from Alder trees. If you'd like more information, such as the use of Alder in guitar making, click here. 

There's a lot of bird activity at the moment. Many birds are in their breeding plumage and the males particularly are looking very smart. This nuthatch had been hunting for insects in the rotten wood but was taking time off to call from this high vantage point. If you stand and listen for a while, you might be surprised at the number of different calls you hear. You might not be able to identify them all but there's still pleasure in hearing them. Listen to the distinctive sound of a nuthatch  here. Then listen in the wood.
This is a poor photo of a goldfinch but it does demonstrate its beautiful colours. They are often seen eating small seeds such as thistle or teazle although they will take the niger seeds from garden feeders. This one was with a small flock in the lane going down from the ceramics to the stream and seemed to be nibbling at the fresh, tender leaf buds.
The FOBW Work Party worked hard on Saturday 5th March to clear Wilson's Honeysuckle from the steep slopes around the Triangle. You might see mounds of the plants on the slopes, which are left as habitat for some of the smaller birds and possibly also small mammals. We then moved amongst the trees around the sports field and removed more, as well as half of an overgrown lilac shrub before the five of us ran out of time and energy; perhaps the younger members of the group still had energy !! Thank you Siân for organising this activity and to the volunteers for giving their time and effort.
Keeping the wood in the condition that we all like to see it takes time and commitment. If you would like to join one of the small teams of volunteers to help with managing the plants or with picking up litter, both vital activities, then contact the relevant email address at the bottom of the page.                                                 Removal of some of the dog and litter bins in the wood is an indication of the council's reducing investment in the wood. It is left to volunteers more and more to cope with a lot of bureaucracy to get funds for replacing the steps for instance or for printing leaflets and programmes. None of this is guaranteed. 
Spring is definitely on it's way. Despite the occasional frost and also snow in some parts of the country we have snowdrops, crocus, celandine and the first bluebell flowers are beginning to open.
I was walking with my wife this morning, Mothering Sunday, and we saw a bluetit enter one of the boxes we put up last year. A foretaste of an exciting year to come in Badock's Wood  !! 

mike townsend

  • The Friend's of Badock's Wood have been short listed for a Green Volunteer Award..... Thank you to all who nominated the group... See here.
  • The FOBW Annual General meeting will be held at the Greenway Centre in Doncaster Road on Tuesday March 15th at 7.30pm. If you have any views on the way Badock's Wood is managed or how it could be improved then this is the place to put forward your thoughts. You will also learn what plans there are for the Wood. See here.

  • Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
  • To learn more about the History of Badock's Wood or FOBW click here.
  • To receive regular emails from the Friends of Badock's Wood contact
  • To help with Work Parties, occasionally or monthly, contact Siân at
  • To help with the Litter Picks contact me at
  • The next Litter Pick will be on March 19th.
  • If you wish to receive notice of new editions of this blog put your email address in the box at the top of this page.
  • To leave  a comment about the blog you can contact me at

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