Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A Glorious April

The 1st Friday in April was our first night camping in the wood. It was a lovely sunny day – meaning it was going to be a cold night. The evening was great; sitting by the fire listening to the sounds of the wood as the smoke seemed always attracted to us. Within the heat of the fire, potatoes baked and beans simmered in the pan on top; we added some cheese and washed it all down with cider for inner warmth (later to re-emerge as heartburn). We then wonder through the wood to meet the moth spotters who had set up their light traps nearby. The moths they attracted, and the knowledge of the moth spotters, was fascinating (see below for list of moths trapped). Back to the tent and we fall asleep to the sound of owls, only to be awoken by heartburn and the growing cold; the morning greets us with a dawn chorus and then sleepy people emerge. A quick wander is followed by a retreat to the Little Chef for some hot chocolate (yes, not at all in the spirit of camping, but hot chocolate…).

The next visit is more practical - constructing the composting loo. A proper loo seat (well, we need a little bit of comfort) on a strong box, placed over a hole then housed in a tarpaulin enclosure for privacy; basic but functional. Also add a bit more to the tree camp in preparation for constructing a higher platform. See a comma and a sulphur yellow butterfly. There is some ‘fluff’ at the entrance to one of the nest boxes so maybe there’s residents, we’ll keep a better look out for them.

A few days later and we are clearing a space by the track for parking; within site from the clearing, and out of site from the road and Little Chef car park. Slow progress trying to remove stumps, what looked weak was strong and trying to cut low down soon resulted in a blunt chainsaw. Plan B; just tidy up the stumps so there’s no sharp bits and build up the level with hardcore so that the stumps aren’t a problem. There’s a lot more bluebells out now and wood anemones, plus quite a few violets and bugle on the wayleave.

Friday 27th April; a quick visit checking things out before we have visitors camping over for Beltane weekend. Although the clearing is not vast, there should be enough room for tents, including a few between the trees if necessary. The moth spotters have left a list of those they trapped a few weeks ago. As I’m walking down the wayleave a deer bolts in the wood, the 1st one we’ve seen in Ewar Woowar. The path through the wayleave is overgrown already and I cut it wider, giving more light to encourage the bugle flowers that are struggling in the shade of the birch saplings. The bluebells are in full flower now and the wood is more beautiful than I’ve ever seen it before. I finish off by starting to clear a path around the south west edge of the wood, as this is a part we rarely walk through (this is where there are some rhododendron, and the ground flora is a bit different with more moss that elsewhere in the wood).

Moths trapped 6/4/7;

with many thanks to Peter and David of

Brindled Pug
Clouded Drab
Common Quaker
Diurea Fagella
Early Grey
Early Thorn
Early Toothed-striped
Eriocrania subpurpurella
Esperia Sulphurella
Frosted Green (very rare in Kent)
Hebrew Character
March Moth
Mottled Grey
Nut Tree Tussock
Oak Beauty
Shoulder Stripe
Small Quaker
Twin Spot Quaker
Yellow Horned