Marsh Tit in the Wood

May, the month when the dawn chorus will be starting to build up as resident species stake out their territories. These early weeks of Spring are actually the best time to appreciate some of our resident species contributions to the dawn chorus, as they will soon be quieting down to concentrate on nest building and raising young. Among these early singers are our four resident species of tit – Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit and Marsh Tit. This monthRead more

Step into Spring

“Come with me into the woods, where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what….” Mary Oliver, Poet With the lengthening days and Easter upon us spring is definitely in the air and accelerating in pace. The start of spring though is open to interpretation depending on how you measure it and for what purpose. The meteorological spring, for instance, is based on 4 three-month periods using annual temperature cycles providing consistent markers between the seasons to enable comparativeRead more

Wood Ants – the world beneath your feet

The distinctive thatched domes of wood ant nests are a ubiquitous part of the National Nature Reserve (NNR) landscape, frequently ignored or the cause of mild distress if you unknowingly stand within a foraging route on a woodland track. They may be one of life’s ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ as despite being locally common across England and Wales there are real concerns about contraction of red wood ant populations. So a timely look at theRead more

Nature’s Grand Recycling Plan

Spring is just around the corner and it is our last chance to appreciate the bare trees and the amount of dead wood left in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Here we understand the value of these carbon stores and the wildlife value they hold: a dead tree creates a gap in the canopy for the next generation of trees to grow; the leaf litter created in autumn by fallen leaves is a valuable food source and habitat, and ifRead more

Nature’s Architectural Branches

Without the leaves on the trees, a different set of views is being revealed across East Dartmoor and our local greenspaces. From smooth barks, to ones covered in lichen; from interlocking dense hedgerows to solitary trees; from picture perfect shapes to the craggy hollows in mature trees, the beautiful architecture of branches is reaching for the sky. Abundant acorns If you’ve watched Autumnwatch, or been monitoring your local oaks, you’ll be aware of the huge number of acorns this year.Read more

Lighting up the Darkness

Following pre and post-management surveying along Bovey Valley wood’s ancient banks and boundaries in August 2020 (Back in the Bovey blog), professional habitat-management contractors working for the Woodland Trust and Natural England have been selectively clearing holly, beech and sycamore to bring back the light to the woodland understorey, as part of Plantlife’s ‘Building Resilience in South West Woodlands’ project. Without management, many of these ancient boundaries have become over-grown with shading tree species which can become invasive if notRead more