Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A woodcutter's wander

From Waterworks Lane I lumbered uphill past the disused Nant y Mailor Reservoir into a mature beech woodland where the smooth bark of this western edge of distribution tree were carved with the initials of walkers from generations past. A tawny owl was flushed from small limestone slump shortly followed by a woodcock from the herb layer. The copse showed signs of the ravages of recent winds with a number of trees uprooted and others with limbs lost. The woodland edge, exposed by felling, supported a pleasing population of in flower wood sorrel and dog violet

Into the clear fell where the drystone walls of previous marginal field patterns where once again exposed to the sunlight of an early Spring afternoon. The larch I remember planted when a teenager in this corner of Lasgarn Wood has now been felled leaving a landscape akin to First World War trench warfare. Walking off the haul road was testing. Panting and stumbling over brash, stumps and other wood felling detritus I found easier terrain along the edge of a lodgepole pine stand. Here two crossbill disappeared and meadow pipit and skylark could be to heard from the open moorland beyond. Taking a southerly path past a field with several Welsh black cattle a small valley with more mature beech came into view. Woodpeckers of the great spotted and green varieties were heard but not seen, so too were the chucking of several fieldfare. Up ending a sliver of discarded cut larch revealed three small black weevils. The examination of a voucher specimen whilst keeping an eye on Carry on Camping identified the species as the spider weevil (Barypeithes araneiformis).

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