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Nature Notes:  February 2008
Compiled by Pat and Charles

See January’s Nature Notes

Hedge Planting

This seems to be yet another winter of crazy weather. Snowdrops are flowering but also primroses, crocuses and even some daffodils. An honesty plant in our garden has flowered all winter.  But we’ve seen no reports of butterflies yet, unlike this time last year.

Recently a great spotted woodpecker was working hard tearing apart a rotten branch on a neighbour’s oak tree.
It was obviously finding nice juicy grubs to eat. Another reminder of how important dead wood is for birds and other wildlife.

During the big working party on 26th January some 500 plants of hazel, dogwood, wild cherry, crab apple and field maple were planted along the southern boundary of Middle Common to create a hedge that should be both interesting and good for wildlife. Also 30 plants of gorse were planted on the bank beside Byslips Road opposite the East Common car park. Ridiculous as it may seem, the gorse plants need guards to protect them from rabbits. Hopefully they will make a colourful display on the roadside without becoming a nuisance to users of the Common. Rabbits have eaten most of the regrowth of gorse cut back on West Common in previous winters so temporary guards may be needed there to allow the gorse to regenerate.  

After the working party we went back with containers of water for the gorse plants. The sun was just setting below a glorious orange and turquoise sky. For the short while that it lasted the Common was a truly magical place to be on.

The Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - website:

January sunset

Great Spotted Woodpecker

January 2008

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