This isn’t a species list blog, I just took a walk. Well, I tried to escape ponking but…
I approached the wood with caution as the last few times I have tried to visit something has thwarted the plan. As I did ride up the hill I nearly nailed a grey squirrel which was trying to cross the road, I had no chance of avoiding the imminent thud but thankfully it decided better against the idea and double backed on itself. Parked up, kit out and car locked, finally after what must be nearly 3 years, I set foot into Callans Lane wood.
I knew two routes around the wood that would give me a good walk covering quite a chunk of it, heading down the west side and through the scrub I couldn’t help myself and paid a bit of attention to a fallen oak, I lifted the bark up a touch whilst holding the tray underneath and gave it a few taps. I’m restraining, really restraining from turning this into a blog about species… I’ll carry on.
Other contents of the tray examined and replaced, I continued tripping and scrambling through the brambles trying to follow what I thought was an old ride. I gave up and traced my way to what I presume is a freshly chopped out path, helpful and also really horrid looking. I hope I haven’t turned into a hippy with all this ponking, it just looked a mess having been ripped through tree and stump. I came across a bit of standing wood missing all of its crown, right on the edge of the ride. I really couldn’t help myself this time, tray ready and walking stick held at arm’s length I gave the bark a couple of taps. I’d had the unreliable size of my beating tray pointed out before but the way the tree stood and how the bark had peeled, I caught everything that fell onto it. Megatoma undata, I did it, I went all species. It’s not a new one for me or for the wood I don’t think but it is a notable b, a species of dermestidae that isn’t associated with humans. A large click beetle dropped out too.
I pootled through the beech part of the wood and took the time to sit down and have a cup of tea nearly loosing my flask in one of the rot holes developed in an ash tree. Disaster avoided and cutting across the wood onto the field on the eastern side, the number of blackbirds feeding on the hawthorn was quite note worthy. At first I though they must have been one of the migrants like a fieldfare or redwing due to the large numbers, granted… they could migratory blackbirds, but nope. Somewhere in all the dense scrub, call after call, movement and scattered all along the hedgerow. I heard a vehicle driving up the track and saw the Forestry Commission logo through the trees, the ranger maybe. I took another break on the bench at the fork in the main track and then… RAVEN.
Cronk, cronk – one of the better descriptive words for this magnificent corvid – sounded above, a usually site maybe for the local’s but not for me in Notts CC. I looked up and saw its huge shape fly over head and then witnessed something I thought was quite interesting. As it flew, it pulled its wings in and twisted making it drop out the sky briefly, then after falling maybe 3ft it opened out its wings and released that distinctive call. Once, twice and then a third loud cronk as it headed off south calling all the way. Happy me. Very happy.
I wanted to see the earthworks in the top corner of the wood and put into practice some of what I had been taught last year. Whilst heading that way I came across the ranger and recognised him. It was Willie, a Scottish chap who I have only ever seen with a gun hunting deer.I flashed the metal side of my beating tray making sure he’d seen me, I don’t think he would have thought I was a deer but I felt better knowing he knew about my presence. A bit of a chat and some final directions to the earthworks as well as the directions to some smaller ones, he headed off back through the scrub.
The earthworks were cracking, John had shown me them before maybe 3 years ago so it was interesting to head back over. A moat maybe 4 or 5 meters wide and 1m deep surround a platform which is about 20 x 20 (roughly, proper measurements are in the notebook). Some nice field maples surround it in the hedgerow and a big hawthorn exists that looks like it was laid at some point in distant modern past. I walked the moat and took some pictures from the bottom of it looking each way from each corner, just for shits and giggles but it might be a nice photographic record.
Bags back on, I moved north along the far west boundary noting the bank and ditch which ran parallel. The hedgerow had some beautiful maples and thorns along with very old and dead stumps, the ones that look like wood-starfish (not a species, a combination of wood and, a starfish). I stumbled across some more earthworks, the other earth works and te ones I’d forgotten about, right adjacent to where a massive herd of fallow deer were gathering. I could see the a white deer in the mix, something I saw often when I frequented the woods a few years ago. I tried to get a pic but they were miles away, back pack down, I jotted down some notes about these earthworks… or would have done but the light was starting to fade and I needed to be back at mums for a certain time. I walked the outside of the woods towards the main area stopping every now and again to check out the elder which considering it’s growing habitat and general appearance, was quite large. Also in the hedgerow again was some very nice bits and bobs of field maple.
Back at the car, I’d already began thinking about coming back to the area at the weekend,