The woods and fields seem to be coping just fine without us for the time being. In particular, the Banstead Wood coppiced area is bursting with new growth including patches of bluebells. Remember how muddy the path was to the dead hedge? Ideal for the Wild Garlic now on show. The Lagoon edges are greening up nicely despite the recent dry spell. This should suit the new froglets that will develop from the tadpoles now growing in the shallow end.
The Lagoon surrounds and sides are showing a fair bit of growth, including a white form of Borage. Cut-leaved Germander is still doing well and a large patch of Barren Brome (Anisantha sterilis) grass should help to secure one of the steep slopes against erosion.
There's more good news: Graham H discovered that our one and only Butterfly Orchid (see pic) has once again sprouted after being destroyed last year. Let's hope the vandals won't find its location and it will last long enough to set seed.
Thanks to Peter Wakeham for assistance with plant ID.
I haven't been down to the Lagoon lately but Graham H tells me there are tadpoles, flowers and plants making an appearance, plus Andy's recent discoveries. Based on last year's experience, it's likely there are other creatures lurking in the Lagoon's murky depths, such as the ones below that dwell in my garden pond. As well as some egg-laying action, now's your chance to compare two top underwater predators: the tail-driven Common Newt and the jet-propelled Dragonfly Nymph. Click here for local newts bulletin.
I hope everyone is keeping safe and well. Yesterday I used my daily exercise allowance to visit the Lagoon and Banstead Wood pond. There were no amphibians visible in the Lagoon, although there was frogspawn a little while ago. At the moment, the most visible signs of life are diving beetles. The plant life is waking up, especially on the sloping banks, after benefiting from all the rain we've had. And I nearly trod on a Peacock that was sunning itself near the drain pipe.
As you can see from the photo, much of the Banstead Wood pond has been taken over by vegetation but there was one clump of frogspawn visible. Some toads were still quietly chirruping, although there was no sign of spawn, and two were seen leaving the overgrown side of the pond.
Lastly, I must report a dangerously overhanging tree on the main path to the pond (pic below). Let's hope it won't require the Beast before our return.
Many thanks to Andy for organising a pleasant last task for the WoodChips before lock down. Today the volunteers were out in the sunshine identifying and measuring some of the veteran oaks, beeches and chestnuts in Banstead Woods. These included an impressive old pedunculate oak that had managed to escape our attention before. Tree height, diameter and OS grid references were surveyed and recorded for RBBC.
Above, the team demonstrate one way to calculate the size of a tree. This one is eight vols (and one dog) long.
Besides Ordnance Survey grid refs, we experimented with the location app what3words and have included a couple which show the location of the trees in the pics below. You can find these trees for yourself using the free what3words phone app, which plots their positions on a map and guides you to their location.
Ideal fun while you're isolating!
The task for Tuesday 17 March will go ahead, but it will be the final task for the immediate future due to the Corona Virus outbreak and Government restrictions. Please keep in touch, and we'll look forward to a resumption of our activities... whenever that might be.
On Tuesday we will commence the Veteran Tree Survey at Banstead Wood. Meet at the Park Farm car park at 10:00hrs.
The tasks for Thursday are to complete the Laurel removal; to remove some windblown trees and to complete the coppicing for this spring. Meet at the Park Farm car park at 10:00hrs.