October’s autumn delight

More track building

More track building

With  the weather being fairly stable we continued to put down the 75mm clean limestone on the track to Eversden, this will help prevent the track turning into a mud bath later. It’s very hard work doing this job manually but very rewarding once the track is finished; the only thing left to do is to  smooth it out by dressing the top with type one limestone but that’ll be November’s job.

An erected barn owl box

An erected barn owl box

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Bird box for blackbirds and the like

Another really nice job to have done was erecting the barn owl box, an awful lot of blackbird type boxes and house sparrow boxes plus a few swift boxes. The barn owl box has been placed near a crab apple tree where the barn owls are currently nesting, so why have we put up the box? Well the tree is falling apart so, just in case it fails, they have a second home if they need it. It has been interesting  lately to see the number of nesting barn owls on the estate. There are at least seven pairs on 2500 acres – very impressive- and five of those pairs are using hollow trees, another pair are using a box and one pair is using a barn.

House sparrow box

House sparrow box

Swift boxes

Swift boxes

As we have been feeding the house sparrows up at Cobbs Wood Farm, their numbers have greatly increased and, now  that we have  Sparrow Street, we are hopeful they will grow even more next year. The blackbird boxes were made for Wimpole more than twenty years ago by a special needs school. We found them languishing in a shed so have put them to good use at last. Lastly I have bought some swift boxes as I have not seen swifts at Wimpole for a long time- it is likely that there aren’t any suitable nesting sites so, with a little help plus a CD to play their voices, we may attract these marvellous creatures.

Ploughing the fields

Ploughing the fields

Albert has been hard at work ploughing the arable land and cultivating it ready for drilling before the winter rains return.

Fruits of the autumn

Fruits of the autumn

It’s also that time of year when we get to see all the autumn hedgerow fruits. It seems to have been a bumper year apart from the sloes which are not so plentiful. The fieldfares, redwings, blackbirds and thrushes will be pleased to feast on these.

 

Clearing the ditch at Cobbs wood farm

Clearing the ditch at Cobbs Wood Farm

Clearing the next section to be laid

Clearing the next section to be laid

Now with autumn in full swing we will set about managing the hedgerows. One job that had to be done was to clear out the hedge by Cobbs Wood Farm; this is the hedge we use for the hedge laying courses (run in October) as it is a young hedge suitable for using axes and billhooks.

Hedge laying course

Hedge laying course

Seven  participants turned up for the day and were taught the traditional method of hedge laying. We used our own willow binders so all the stakes and binders came off the estate. Luckily for us it was a super day with splendid autumn colours.

Ancient Tree Forum visit

Ancient Tree Forum visit

One highlight of the month was the visit to Wimpole by the Ancient Tree Forum and I have to say it was very pleasing to show the work accomplished by the Countryside Team. It was even more pleasing to find that we have been looking after the old trees and woodland and leaving deadwood in situ as recommended by the ATF. To see their report of the visit to Wimpole click this link .

The gallery below contains October’s autumnal views of the trees and woods on the Wimpole Estate, it was an amazing month.

 

A big tree surgery job alongside a major trunk road

A big tree surgery job alongside a major trunk road

Back to work and this time we had to employ the services of Eastern Tree Surgery as there were quite a few very large trees to reduce or fell alongside the very busy A1198 trunk road. Quite a dangerous job as the traffic can pass by at high speed so a traffic management system had to be used.

Topping out.

Topping out.

Pull!

Pull!

The work proceeded with dismantling the canopy safely then section felling the trunk until it was safe to fell the tree. All the timber was picked up with the MF390 tractor and timber trailer and removed to our woodyard.

Last section felled

Last section felled

Chipped up

Chipped up

Tom cheating

Tom cheating

However, some of the trees required a platform because they overhung both lanes of the A1198. It’s an expensive job but one that had to be done so that the road was safe. We will now finish off the tree planting but, as this section of wood is next to the road, we will plant mostly hazel and a few cherries or oak trees.

To many pheasants

Too many pheasants

On another subject we have noticed a huge influx of pheasants this year. It appears that the organic farm suits their needs but in such high numbers they are having a dramatic effect on the wildlife, plus they eat all the tree seeds (especially the acorns) which will mean the natural regeneration of Wimpole’s woodlands could be in jeopardy.

Below is another gallery of the farmland scenes and some magical evening sunsets.

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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