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Bird boxes and ringing projects and other activity updates

The (reasonably) Great Sycamore

The woodland as a whole is developing nicely and the benefits of last year's NIA work should be evident during the next few weeks.

The Primroses are currently in flower and the Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage alongside the Yellow Pimpernel seem to be thriving likewise.

Cow Parsley and Wild Garlic Delight
In parts, especially in the hazel coppice (last cut 2011) Cow Parsley is providing verdant carpets soon to display their carroty flowers; a notable line occurs around the Scots Pine plantation wherein light meets shade and the Cow Parsley patch abruptly ends.

The woodland, particularly at this stage (merely 26 years), changes its character year on year and is a continuing crafting exploit, with coppicing and coppice regrowth together with new planting adding to the overall fabric, whilst new worn paths and other activities add further dimensions beyond the purely physical. More dog walkers are using the site and there is evidence of periodic yet temporary settlement in the form of empty drinks cans, bottles, tissues, discarded blankets etc. Left over from night visitors, but I'm pleased that this seems to impact little on day time users, as long as the litter is regularly cleared.
The Great Poplar on the northern edge of the wood

Bird boxes
Dan provides us with regular updates regarding the 10 installed boxes and the current occupation and development stage of the inhabitants. April 1st nothing to report - April 16th -

Bird ringing was last reported in February and ceases during the breeding period.


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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…