It can’t be often that Hall Road is the busiest place in West Bergholt. But at 03.40 on Sunday 7 May I would be fairly confident that this was the case, as seemingly floods of cars arrived for this year’s Dawn Chorus walk. That is certainly what it felt like!
And so 24 of us assembled in the pitch dark, with most of us wondering quite what they had let themselves in for, and me wondering why on earth I volunteered to get up at such an appalling time each year. Continue reading →
On Saturday 22 April I led this year’s spring flower nature walk to Hillhouse wood. The forecast was for OK weather, so we hoped that a decent number of people would come along. As 2 pm approached, numbers swelled, and by the time it was time to start it was clear that Chris Stephenson’s publicity machine had been on overdrive. Forty seven people were present, which was the largest group I can remember. I was going to be doing a lot of shouting (no change there, some would say). Continue reading →
I my last post I explained how I decided to chart the data I’ve been collecting for the TrackaTree phenology project, so see if it has any interesting stories to tell. I wanted to look at the variation within the same species between the years, and also to see there was any variation in the relative timing of the different species between years. Continue reading →
The thought recently struck me that the data I’ve been collecting in Hillhouse Wood for the TrackaTree phenology project might enable me to look for any noteworthy differences between years. (Phenology is the study of how the timings of the seasons are affected by variations in weather. Continue reading →
Fieldwork for the Track a tree phenology project is now providing me with plenty of excuses to pay frequent visits to Hillhouse wood. The warm weather over the last few days will drive bud burst, so I need to ensure that I don’t miss it. On 10 March bud burst was visible on parts of my Hazel coppice, so I knew that this would progress rapidly. Sure enough, my visit on 13 March revealed that buds were now bursting on all parts of the stool. Continue reading →
On my first Trackatree visit of 2017 to Hillhouse wood last week I reported that the leaf buds on my Hazel were already showing green through the leaf scales. So, having had a couple of warmer days this week, I thought that there was a good chance that bud burst would have started by now. Continue reading →
As keen readers of this blog, and my Mum, will know, for the last two years I have done field work for this project. This involves visiting some specific trees (four in my case) more or less weekly throughout the spring to record data about what is happening. ‘Happening’ stuff involves the stage of bud burst and leaf break, and the numbers of specific species of flower that are showing underneath the tree. By capturing this data at different sites in the UK, the project enables differences in the timing of ‘Spring’ to be rigorously identified across the country and between years. It ran for two years to support a PhD project at the University of Edinburgh, and I’ve been glad to hear that it is continuing for a third year, at least, even though Christine has gained her qualification. Continue reading →
Over the years this particular walk has been one of the more variable in terms of the numbers who turn up – spending a few hours watching birds in a biting wind on a cold winter’s day is not always the most inviting prospect. So I was glad to see that the forecast for this year’s walk was for relatively balmy spring-like weather. My optimistic view was reinforced by the amount of noisily busy bird behaviour we had observed on the previous day’s work party.
On 16 October I ran the fourth (I think) Autumn Fruits nature walk around and through Hillhouse Wood, near West Bergholt. The fact that I am able to make this statement is a slight surprise, because the previous evening’s weather forecast had heavy rain bang on the time of the walk, and light rain for an hour either side. On which basis I had anticipated being on my own. Continue reading →
Each Spring the Friends of Hillhouse Wood organise two guided walks – one to look at the Bluebells, and a Dawn Chorus one. These are normally 2-3 weeks apart, to match each one to when its subjects are at their best. However this year things were different, and for the first time ever we ran both walks on the same weekend. Continue reading →