Southrey Wood in 2017

Southrey Wood Blog

SW 0312173rd December: The weather was kind to us again and 12 volunteers turned out for the last workparty of 2017. With 3 chainsaws and a large fire, good progress was made and a large area cleared.
Please come and join us in the New Year - Merry Christmas. 

19th November: Wow! Our first work party of the winter saw 15 people- yes, 15!- enjoying a beautiful autumnal day out in the woods.SW191117
Well done to everyone, especially the four new faces who helped to swell the numbers.
Our task this winter is to extend area 5, so felling some relatively big trees. In preparation for this we spent the day clearing all the smaller material from around them, clearing the way for next time. Two good fires got rid of all the brash, with a few bits left for habitat piles out of the way. There were no wildlife sightings to report. Can we manage 15 again? Time will tell, but numbers like that would certainly ease the pressure on everyone to get the area finished on schedule.

SW 27091727th September: Peter & Colin cut the remaining sections of the rides. Not a great deal about but did find a nice dot Moth larva and several Sawfly larvae of Caliroa annulipes grazing on the underside of an Oak leaf.

20th September: Pleasant morning with still a few things about. Butterflies included Small & Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood. A Green Woodpecker flew past and Common & Ruddy Darters were everywhere. Quite a few Hazel Leaf-rollers on the leaves but the highlight was a Willow Sawfly larva - Cimbex luteus.

13th September: Five volunteers turned out for the workparty and just about managed to finish the work on the middle ride. They also cleared the fenced area where, hopefully, the Early Purple Orchids will reap the benefits next year.
The Forestry Commission, in their infinite wisdom, managed to plan the ride cutting exactly when the Devil's-bit Scabeous was at its best. If they were to look at all the butterflies on the Scabeous left in our patch it would probably not make a blind bit of difference. Be that as it may, it meant that we had lots of Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood and all the Whites to show for it. There were also lots of dragonflies about including Migrant & Southern Hawker and Common & Ruddy Darter. Not often you see a Hare darting through the wood either.

16th August: Peter and Tehani made a start brushcutting the eastern boundary whilst the rest of the workparty, 7 in all, continued on the SWP 160817central ride. Again this was brushcut, raked & piled.
Lots of butterflies out today, the Brimstones & Red Admirals in great profusion. Others seen were Large, Small & Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell.
The Dragonflies were all over the ride as we were brushcutting and included Common Darter, Brown, Southern & Migrant Hawker. A Muntjac was observed in one of the other rides and Green Woodpecker was  heared calling as it flew. We found a few Herald Moth larvae,Red-legged Shieldbug and a Ram's-horn Gall on the Oak.

12th July: Lovely day and a decent turnout of 6 for the workparty, 3 with brushcutters. Managed to get a fair chunk of the middle rideSouthrey 120717 cut, raked and heaped. Thanks to all involved.
Odd White Admiral still about but plenty of Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Red Admiral. Skippers are mostly Small but all 3 Whites are on the go.
Highlight was 5 young Stoats playing on the tower ride. Brown Hawker and Black-tailed Skimmers were present and found a Dingy Footman in the foliage.

GVW - 0307173rd July: Peter Cawdell reports........."Masses of butterflies especially along the main ride in from the gate. Never seen so many Red Admirals in one place. Almost tropical scene as a group of 6 Green-veined White males 'mud-puddled'. Plenty of Commas, Small Tortoiseshell and White Admirals too! In our Reserve the first Gatekeeper was flying {male}. Large numbers of Ringlet but far fewer Meadow Brown. Several Large Skippers and more Small Skippers."

14th June: The work party went well with 4 people attending. Work involved the final clearing up of Square 5 ,coppiced in the winter,Peter 140617 as well as moving the posts to their correct position. Butterflies seen included a fresh 'Hutchinsonii' Comma, 2 Ringlet and 2 Meadow Brown. Also a fresh Small Tortoiseshell on the woodland corner. Severa Brimstone were still about including a female, still egg-laying on a large buckthorn near the seat, whereas there are nearly full grown larvae on 2 small buckthorns along the New Ride in our area.

PCFoxgloves13th June: Peter Cawdell notes........."Even after 30 years there is always something new to see. I don't recall ever finding Foxglove flowers on our Reserve but recently a group of 9 have sprung up near to the 'orchid enclosure'. 4 pink and 5 white flower spikes." 

12th June: Peter Cawdell notes........" I was surprised to find a fresh male White Admiral nectaring on bramble flowers along Southrey Wood main ride. I think this is the earliest I have ever seen one .. usually looking out for them last week in June."

2nd June: Grass Snake seen by Peter Cawdell on Section 1, New Ride.

31st May: The main track from the road produced both male and female Orange-tip, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Common Blue,BBC 310517 Small White, Peacock and Brimstone. There were a few Silver Y moths, Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth, Beetle Rhagium mordax and Green Tortoise Beetles. Highlights were a nice pair of Broad-bodied Chasers. Similar species within the wood with the addition of lots of damselflies, mainly Azure & Large Red.

May 24th: The start of the summer workparties, delayed from the wet weather last week, were probably a bit too hot. Nevertheless, a small band of volunteers managed to brushcut the start of the middle ride, rake and stack the cuttings as well as cut back some of the encoaching branches. Red Admiral, Brimstone and Orange-tip were on the wing.

May 18th update: Perfectionist Peter has the last word on orchids............."Transect in pm. A couple of Red Admiral on main ride. Also Brimstone eggs on 2 of 3 bushes searched .. 20 plus on one and 30 plus on other. Didn't see the Small Copper. I counted 96 heads of EP orchid in fenced area".

May 18th:  Pleasant day for a change. A few male & female Orange-tips whist walking up the main track from the road as well as Brimstone and Green-veined White. Not as many butterflies as expected considering the conditions. Tortoise beetle Cassida vibex at 

EPO 180517side of the track. Mottled Umber larva on the way to the tower as well as quite a few Hazel Leaf-roller Weevils. Down from the tower the Early Purple Orchids are going over but they have had a good year with over 75 spikes. Definitely benefitted from the maintenance last summer. A Speckled Wood was perched at the side of the seat and a Common Lizard basking on a log just beyond. Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Brimstone were to be seen on the ride together with a solitary Small Copper. There were numerous Red-and black Froghoppers, a Horned Treehopper and both Green and Hairy Shieldbugs. A woodpecker sounded in the distance together with the barking of Muntjac as a Crow chased off a Buzzard above. Just at that moment a Roe Deer ran across the track behind.

April 9th: Mark & Su Colman visited.."the anemones were fabulous and carpeted the areas we coppiced!" (See Gallery)
Try out Mark's photosphere at 

March 29th: Cloudy day but stayed dry. Chiffchaff singing away and Buzzard overhead. Spring flowers now going strong. Lots ofWA 290317 Primrose, Colt's-foot, Wood Anemone and Violet. Common Lizard basking on a dead log, all signs the year is starting to come alive.

Workparty 120317March 12th: Weather not too kind again with rain forecast for the morning. As it happens, the rain was light and didn't last all that long. Having said that, it did not make starting a fire any easier. 10 hardy souls turned out and they completed the task of clearing the square on this, the last winter workparty of the season.

A Chiffchaff was heard greeting us on arrival and a Hawthorn Shieldbug was disturbed during the day. Primrose and Wood Anemone are starting to flower now.

February 26th: Hive of activity today as 10 volunteers, 3 with chainsaws, got stuck in. The weather was kind for a change and a greatSW 260217 deal was accomplished. Hopefully this bodes well to finish the square next session.

February 14th: Brushcut dykeside across from this years work area and raked off the cuttings.

February 12th: Workday fell fowl of the weather.

January 29th: Turned out to be a surprisingly good day despite the dire weather predictions. 13 volunteers turned up and made aSW290117 significant dent in this seasons work.






Visit the archive to view the 2016 Southrey Wood Blog