What a difference a few days make at this time of the year … here is the entrance to the Orange Trail just west of the Conservation Centre on 3 May and again today (17 May). The pictures below are of the same stretch of the trail at the same time of day.
Last week we took a detailed walk around the Orange Trail specifically focussed on the ephemeral flowers that briefly show themselves in the couple of weeks between the start of warmer weather and the opening of the leaf canopy which plunges them into shade – a few are still there to be enjoyed but most are coming to the end of their too brief flowering period … if you missed the photographs we shared and didn’t get out into the forest to look for yourself you can catch up by looking through the post on here from last week … click here.
Still lots to see at the moment though … and no mosquitoes. For example, on a two hour (well, we walked slowly and stopped a lot to poke at things) we saw some interesting stuff in addition to flowers:
Have you been down to the field between the larches and Pullin’s Pasture recently? Volunteers from the Friends of the Arboretum are busily clearing out an old trail through the birch collection and the branches are being piled up in the filed to create not a rockery, not a stumpery (the Victorians loved those), but a “Branchery”. This will create a wonderful feature for wildlife who will find shelter and food in there behind the boundary fence.
Down amongst the woody tangle are garter snakes and toads and up on the taller parts the birds are already finding singing stations to proclaim their territory to rivals.
Soon the field will be full of grasses and lots of birds that like grassland habitat will have moved in and be staking claims to their corner of the site.
On the edge of the filed one of the nesting boxes has been claimed by a Tree Swallow – here he is bringing nesting materials to his box
Other things to look out for …
Click on any of these thumbnails to enlarge them – hover over each one to read the captions
As you leave the arboretum – pause at the radar dome and enjoy the Cliff Swallows nesting under the top gallery.
There are three heads looking at you …