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All the cutting for the season is now complete in the RSPB woodland and further work between now and the end of March will involve path access work over the muddy patches.

Cockshutt hill School are currently constructing a small section of Hazel corded pathway near the coppice 2011-12 area and this will continue on the 5th March.

Following this we will monitor and record the re-growth in the coppice area and hopefully witness an increase in the number of invertebrate food plants, it will be interesting to see what appears.

Following the CHP Friends meeting on 4th March, the Rangers and Friends will be recording the flowering species in the wildflower meadow and collecting seeds locally to enhance the meadow throughout the year.

Although not a brilliant profusion of colour last year, the meadow is nevertheless valuable for providing nectar food plants for bees and butterflies. I'll be asking local naturalists and wildlife recorders to keep an eye on the meadow and to report on plant and animal species.

Progress at the Plantation 
Following two further productive days at the plantation with Bournville College and a public work day, the cutting for this year is near completion.

Most of the understory has now been cleared, just a cover of dogwood and blackthorn to go and then a few selected trees to open the canopy and allow for crown development of the remaining standard trees; this to increase longevity of the standards, mainly oak and alder, and also to maximise light levels for ground flora.

Birds noticed this week - 
Great Tit
Blue Tit
GS Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker (heard)
C Crow

Karen, Pasang and Naima taking a well earned rest and, of course, a pose for camera. "watch the birdie". Now where did that saying come from?

No birds up that tree boys


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Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

Join Highbury Park Friends to get up to date information about this wonderful park - follow the link above for the latest newsletter.

There's so much going on already and this is set to increase as the Chamberlain Highbury Trust look to bring many new and exciting ideas to the Highbury estate and adjoining park land. Check out their website on the links below

Weekly and monthly activities incuding 'Woodland Wednesdays' with the Rangers and B&BCWT, supported by NIA (Nature Improvement Area) funding.

Woodland Play after school club, every Wednesday at the Orchard - Highbury Orchard Community Interest Company oversee this -

A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Q1 What do you think are the biggest benefits of teaching and using traditional woodland management techniques in city parks?
A1. The essence of a Ranger’s role is to engage the community at large with the aim of encouraging more people to use parks and green spaces. Therefore a range of themes, topics and activities are employed to meet the broad interests and diverse nature of the public, involving people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities etc. 
The ‘woodland’ theme seems to have universal appeal and is steeped in history, ecology, science, spirituality, mythology and culturally, much more.
So generally we can assume people want to learn something new, make something using natural resources and have an involvement in their local green space, so that a few basic skills, some knowledge and a morsel of understanding related to ecological principles allows people to feel good about themselves and enables them to share these good feelings, acquired skills and gained knowledge with…

Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

The term 'ecotone' cropped up this week as a Tree Officer colleague and I looked at Holders Woods in an exercise to describe the woodland structure, composition and current management.
The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (Wiki)

Ecotones are generally recognised for ecological richness and a good place to observe the 'tensions' and interactions between certain animals and plants.

A woodland edge for example is often regarded as the richest part of a woodland, especially if the edge is bordered by grassland meadow or water.

The Rea Valley in this regard is a wonderful mix of urban ecosystems and ecotones, and one of my favourite locations is the developing oak woodland at the edge of Holders Woods. Undoubtedly the result of acorn planting Jays, we find oaks ranging from year 1 to year 50, but with a majority of young trees around 10-20 years, sugge…