What’s going on with the weather? It’s very rare that we get such horrible weather. This morning started off looking pretty grim, a brief 30 min dry spot quickly became a torrential downpour by 11:30. Added to a rumble of thunder and some lightning, it was decided to end the event early. There might be a mid-week event volunteer event later this month, keep a lookout on here. We had hoped to continue with the butterfly counting event, but in the brief time we were on site this morning, not surprisingly we didn’t see a single butterfly.
No matter that the rain was pouring down, the fruit trees are starting to produce some good size apples and pears, let’s hope we can have an Autumn open day event.
Ripe and ripening blackberries and growing Bramley apples.
Needless to say, the pond needs no topping up with any water. It’s looking very well at the moment. The below picture shows some bulrush plants and flowers on the pond margins.
Our evening’s butterfly count results showed quite a various number of different species present. People recorded large whites, small whites, green-veined whites, commas, jersey tiger moths, red admirals and speckled woods.
Below is a photo of a jersey tiger moth captured by one of the evening’s volunteers.
We will continue the survey once again on the next volunteer morning on Saturday, 7th August, starting at the usual time of 10:00. You can download the app or ID chart and come along and do a survey www.butterfly-conservation.org
It certainly didn’t look pleasant earlier on in the morning, but by 10 o’clock, the sun was coming out and a splash of blue sky had appeared. Around 15 or people turned up throughout the session, very impressive considering the deluge earlier!
As usual, with the warm(ish!), bright and wet days, the brambles were on the march. Weeding and removal took place around the entrance area, as well as in the Oak Glade area.
Another task was to stake an Elm tree that we had planted several years ago in the Glade area, but had drooped quite a bit. Committee member Nigel Duncan can be seen below making a wooden stake for its support. Further down, Paula can be seen next to the tree. Our Dutch-elm-disease-resistant elm trees were planted in 2016, 60 cm high, and is now 7-8 m tall. We hope it will recover well from its mishap.
Some of the children who joined the event found a smooth newt, found by two of our youngest volunteers, aged 6 and 7, near the roots of an apple tree not far from the pond.
Another task on the agenda was to continue work behind the beehives, with the installation of a liner and gentle slope with the ability to collect and store water, and allow for a more diverse range of plants to be grown in the area. The 3 beehives had plenty of activity when the sun came out later in the morning.
Finally, the apples in The Glade area are starting to grow. Last year’s crop was a bit disappointing, and recent heavy rains and winds had knocked a few smaller ones to the ground. But the below photo shows Bramley apples starting to grow nicely. Also, a Geranium has self-seeded right in the middle of The Glade. How it got there is a mystery!
Our latest newsletter should now be with all those Friends of Westcombe Woodlands. We have uploaded this report under the section “Newsletters” for your reference and we hope it provides you with an enjoyable read.
Although in the last few weeks there has still been small amounts volunteer work taking place in the woodland, our usual early October open day was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. However, the bees in their hives have thankfully paid no attention to this and have generously rewarded us with lovely, locally produced honey.
The 2020 honey vintage sold like those proverbial hot cakes, so much so that by midday on Sunday lunchtime, we had sold out! The photo below shows committee member Andrew Slade looking after the honey sales. He is also one of the key “custodians” of our hives.
Also involved in running the weekend’s Pop-Up event was Rich Sylvester, who helped bring in several new members to the the Westcombe Woodland charity, an amazing number!
Other photos show the woodland in deep sleep with yellow leaves, bare trees, and yet amazingly there are one or 2 bees still flying around the hives. The holly berries in the below photos are the most vibrant reds at this time of the year.