Monday, 27 October 2014

Bird ringing at Centenary Woods 22nd October 2014

Dan's report

Evening all, Many thanks for your help this week. I did fear the Jay was going to be our only catch at Burbury Brickworks but fortunately some late arrivals bumped the totals up. Then after a drop in temperature on Tuesday we had a fantastic session at RSPB Cannon Hill Park which included good numbers of Goldcrest and Coal Tit. Please see session summaries below:

 RSPB Cannon Hill 22/10/2014

 Blue Tit    13        4            17
 Great Tit   10        4            14
 Long-ta Tit 7        1              8
 Coal Tit      2         6             8
 Goldcrest    8         -              8
 Nuthatch     2        3              5
 Bullfinch     2        1              3
 Magpie       1         -              1
 Chaffinch    1         -              1
 Robin          1         -              1
 Treecreeper 1          -             1
 TOTAL     48       19            67

 Two of this years Blue Tit pulli were caught at Cannon Hill Park - one from Cannon Hill Park itself and the other from Holders Wood (approx. 1km South).

All other recaptures originate from the previous ringing meets of Autumn/Winter 2013, Spring 2014. Thanks again for all your help and hopefully see some of you next week,

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

2014 Bird Box results

CENTENARY WOODLAND Cannon Hill Park Species Box Outcome ------------------------ Box 131 - BLUE TIT - 7 eggs laid, 5 hatched, 5 fledged:------------------ Box 133 - BLUE TIT - 9 eggs laid, 6 hatched, 6 fledged:------------------- Box 135 - BLUE TIT - 8 eggs laid, 6 hatched, 5 fledged:---------------------- Box 137 - BLUE TIT - 11 eggs laid, 9 hatched, 9 fledged:------------------ Occupancy: 40% TOTAL = 35 eggs, 26 hatchlings, 25 fledglings -------------------------------- 40% occupancy may be considered disappointing compared to other sites within our region, namely Cowley Road Recreation Ground = 60%, Holders Lane = 100%, and Selly Oak Recreation Ground = 50%. But look at BOX 137, 9 fledglings! There are other boxes within Centenary Woods but we have no record of occupancy. Combined with the above data we also have details of the first ringing day at Centenary Woodland on 7th September -------------- GREAT TIT - X21 CAUGHT WITH X15 NEW BIRDS AND X6 RE-TRAP-------------------------BLUE TIT - X16 CAUGHT WITH X11 NEW BIRDS AND X5 RE-TRAP---------------------COAL TIT - X5 NEW BIRDS CAUGHT----------------------CHAFFINCH - X3 NEW BIRDS CAUGHT---------------------BULLFINCH - X2 NEW BIRDS CAUGHT-----------------------ROBIN - X2 RE-TRAP---------------------WREN - X1 NEW BIRD-----------LONG TAILED TIT - X1 NEW BIRD-------------------NUTHATCH - X1 NEW BIRD..............

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Forest School Trainees visit CW

 Forest Schoolers at Centenary Woods

Sam travelled from Halifax, arising at 4.30 am, the others came from Brum and gathered at Centenary Woods to talk and practice Forest School. 6th September 2014.

It's always interesting to meet new Forest School practitioners, the enthusiasm is infectious and satisfying to us 'old boys' and girls, as they absorb the finest detail regarding their newly acquired skills, keen to position the billhook the correct way or carry the loppers the FS way.

One tends to get a bit blasÄ— after a while, slightly tired of the minute details involved in describing a bowsaw - "this is a bowsaw, this is the blade, this is the handle.........blah blah". But how arrogant of me, this tried and tested method ensures that children as young as 5, or less, can be taught to use tools, such as lopper and bowsaw, correctly, safely and methodically thus enabling them to approach the world at an early age with acquired skills, knowledge and confidence - enough on Forest Schools, check it out

Monday, 25 August 2014

UPDATE Late Summer 2014

Summer 2014
A mixed bag of Summer weather this year but good for plants, both wild and cultivated I suspect, although the mean temperature might be slightly lower than previous years, we'll see.

Bird Box scheme
Still awaiting the bird box scheme report for Centenary Woods, but a little bird told me the uptake was slightly better than last year, once again, we'll see. By comparison, yon little bird also said the Holders Woods, (more mature woodland), box uptake was 80-100%, TBC.

Bird ringing
This year's ringing sessions are due to begin again in September/October, looking forward to those.

Trees and plants from Nature Improvement Area (NIA) project
Many of the NIA trees planted last Winter are in leaf with no signs of failures, likewise, all the Woodland Trust 'nursery' trees seem to have flourished and will be planted out during Autumn/Winter, the wildflower planting successes will not be determined until next Spring.

Centenary Woodland origins
The 1914 Walk from Brandwood Cemetery to Cannon Hill Park took place on August 9th 2014 and one of the walkers, local historian, Doug Smith, remembered planting the woodland in 1989. This event, Doug informed us, was presided by Magnus Magnusson and Wikipeadia informs us - "Magnusson was awarded an honorary knighthood (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1989. He was elected President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, for a five-year period, at their 94th AGM in October 1995, succeeding Max Nicholson. He also became the founder chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage upon its inception in 1992." Good old Magnus, sadly he died in 2007.

Follow this link fro more information on Cannon Hill Park and OPAL

Thursday, 24 April 2014

WET WOODLAND -featuring Spindle, Alder Buckthorn and Wayfaring, slowly greening 24th April 2014

waters from the woodland, bunded and pooled
The woodland slopes westwards towards the River Rea, hence the west of the site is wet for most of the year.
Developing new habitats
The emerging waters have been pooled to develop shallow open-water scrapes
gathering waters from woodland springs

Just a reminder of the woodland origin; 25 years ago the site was unwanted allotment land, and previous to this, open farmland.
Alder Buckthorn

The lower west side retains the spring waters to form wet woodland and, at times, impassible boggy paths. These conditions suit plants such as Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus). The wood of Alder Buckthorn is used for making gunpowder - is this still made? Not sure if the berries have the same purgative properties as those of Buckthorn (Rhamnus cartharticus), the specific name referring to this.

Allan's corded paths are most useful, constructed with coppiced hazel from the woodland.

Spindle (Euonymus europaeus), several trees are doing well on the lower, wetter levels

Spindle tree
Many applied and descriptive vernacular names are used such as, prickwood, skewerwood and pincushion shrub, but use of the wood for hand spinning raw wool was not especially favoured in Britain.  (Flora Britannica)
Wayfaring Tree

Flower of Viburnum lantana (Wayfaring Tree)
Wayfaring Trees, Spindle and Alder Buckthorn are often associated as trees of Southern Britain, and thrive there due to optimal climatic conditions; but with onset climatic change these species are likely to thrive further north, and perhaps we will notice them more often in the Midlands over the coming decades.
leaves of wayfaring Tree

Introduced from North America in 1817. A 'happy', thriving plant with some ecological value - Thrushes and Blackbirds will eat the berries during harsh winter conditions


Apple blossom

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


possibly a cat skull; not to scale with magazine image backdrop,  for that would be  a frightening prospect for sure

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Birds of Centenary Woodland

Dan checking boxes at Centenary Woods

The Birmingham University nesting box scheme is being monitored by Dan and Jon for the second year, and while few boxes were occupied last year, probably because of late installation, indications so far suggest greater occupancy, although far from 100% take up.

Dan will provide further details as they arise.

Birds seen in and around Centenary Wood since Winter 2013 -

  • Sparrowhawk
  • Kestrel
  • Merlin
  • Wood pigeon
  • Tawny Owl
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Song Thrush
  • Redwing
  • Blackbird
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Goldcrest
  • Great Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Long Tailed Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Tree Creeper
  • Magpie
  • Jay
  • C Crow
  • Raven (flying over, between CHP and Holders Woods)
  • Chaffinch
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Bullfinch


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A beautiful morning at Centenary Woodland 16th April 2014

The hedgerow leading to Centenary Woods, laid in 2010 and flourishing with Alder Buckthorn, providing a food plant for the Brimstone Butterfly

Guelder Rose (Viburnam opulus) planted in the woods 2011

Guelder Rose flowers just developing


The old oak (around 250 years old)

A wet flush, of which there are many.

Herb Bennet or Wood Avens

Japanese knotweed (uprooted)

Cow parsley

Wild garlic

The southern edge of the woods bordering Moor Green Allotments

South of the woods

A tree nursery, planted winter 2013-14 with trees from the Woodland Trust
including, Rowan, Elder, Dog Rose and Hazel

One of the veteran Apple trees

A dead Apple tree; many of the Apple trees require pruning

Woodland thinned during December 2013

Dead hedges resulting from the brash arisings from tree felling

Bluebells in the woods, although they are Spanish and will be eradicated as part of the management .
English Bluebells will then be planted


Spencer's Hedge

A seasonal image