Autumn brings an end to grass snake surveys for another year. All the corrugated tins have been collected and the “nesting” heaps examined for any evidence of egg laying. Still no signs of the elusive grass snakes, perhaps next year…
The Wednesday conservation team is back and raring to go with various autumnal tasks. So far this season most of our work has involved pruning and thinning out several different tree species. We have removed Western hemlock from Snipes Dene, we’ve thinned out birches both in West Woods and in another part of Snipes Dene.
|The team thinning out birches from around hazel trees|
|Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor)|
The first frosty day of the season saw us thinning out birches and conifers to create small glades in an area of Snipes Dene, thus exposing large areas of heather which will look magnificent next year.
|More autumn colour|
This week we were joined by a team of volunteers from the Cragside National Trust Estate. They were really welcome as there was a huge area of rhododendrons to clear, a bit of a busman’s holiday for them. They also brought a chipper so that all the prunings weren’t burnt, some of them were chipped and will be put to good use. The other thing they brought with them was cake, mmm…
|Starting a fire|
|The chipper in action|
|Puff balls billowing spores|
|The trees alongside The Avenue|