Out and About at Gorse Hill

Autumn.  Autumn is a time for fungi and these photos by Mark show a small selection of what we have seen

Autumn Fungi
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bracket Fungi
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Fungi
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn colours
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawthorn Berries
Photo by Mark Walters

 

Fungi are not the only fruits of Autumn

 

 

 

 

Autumn is also a good time to start clearing any of our ponds that are getting choked with New Zealand Pygmy Weed – an invasive non-native weed that, despite our best efforts every year, still plagues Seldom Pond.  We also have to clear out any ponds where they are getting overgrown by Reed Mace, a tall elegant plant with sword-like leaves and heads of ‘velvet’ but unfortunately will completely take over a pond if left unchecked.

Clearing Seldom Pond
Photo by Su Haselton

 

Any excuse for some people to put on waders!  Jonathan and Marcus working hard to clear space in Seldom Pond.

 

 

Allowing pond life to return to the water
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

You do of course have to allow all the pond creatures to return to the water so all the debris had to be piled onto the boardwalk and around the edges of the pond for a few days.

 

 

 

Work also took place on the Cabin.

Fitting a new window
Photo by Jonathan Atkins

 

 

 

One of the double-glazed window units had ‘blown’ and so we took the opportunity to replace 2 windows.  We now have a nice clear view to watch the bird feeders whilst we have our lunch!

 

 

 

It was important to have some good weather when clearing ponds and replacing windows and we did have some lovely autumn days during October as these photographs by Mark show:

Bluebell Wood in Autumn Sunshine
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

Triangle Meadow in October Sunshine
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheila’s Knoll
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Log Store
Photo by Mark Walters

 

 

 

In addition Mark took an artistic monochrome photograph of the log store.

 

 

 

 

One of our volunteers, Lelia, is a wonderful artist and visitors will have seen her painted silhouettes of frogs and newts on paving slabs around Cabin Wood illustrating the frog and newt shelters we provide.  In October she brought some of her artist friends (members and former members of the Liver Sketching Group) to the Reserve and here are photographs of some of the work they produced

Old Oak Tree by Lelia Howarth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sketch by Robert Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artwork by Roger Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View across to Clieves Hill by Robert Joy

 

 

 

 

 

Artwork by Lelia Howarth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artwork by Roger Jenkins

 

Autumn is also a good time to stop and look, as demonstrated by Mark’s photos above.  One of our small oak trees in Margaret’s Meadow has at least 7 varieties of galls, here are 3 of the interesting shapes we found:

Artichoke Gall on Oak
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ram’s Horn Gall on Oak
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silk Button Galls on Oak
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the summer (June) on the same oak tree we found a moth larvae which we identified as a Mottled Umber.  We had not found this species of moth in our traps before.  It is an Autumn flying moth so we were delighted to find an adult moth in our trap at the end of October.  The only moth we did get that night!

Mottled Umber larvae
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mottled Umber Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(15.12.17)

 

Apple Weekend 7th & 8th October – shame about the weather!

 

Apple Sign
Photo by Su Haselton

 

Every year we have enjoyed glorious weather for our October Apple Festival so our luck was bound to break at some point, unfortunately it was this year.

Wet Saturday
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday was extremely wet.  We are grateful to the hardy souls that ventured forth to support us.

 

 

 

Some Apples to Buy
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

Many of our apples had been harvested and were ready for sale.  Some apples had been juiced, bottled and pasteurised.

 

 

 

Apples to Taste
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Taste before you buy is a regular feature over our weekend.

 

 

 

Try Before You Buy
Photo by Su Haselton

 

As always it was very popular.

 

 

 

 

Apple Tasting
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Some of our heritage apple varieties can double as a culinary or dessert apple depending on your taste.  Yorkshire Aromatic, a culinary variety proved very popular as ‘an eater’ with lots of the children but too sour for their parents!

 

 

 

Sunday Orchard Tour
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

Sunday saw the weather improve and so did our visitor numbers.  Whist we did not get sunshine, it was dry and not too chilly.

The orchard tours were popular again this year, including the quiz for the younger generation to find apples to match the clues.

 

 

Orchard Tour
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

Jonathan was on hand to tell visitors about the trees, the history of the orchard and the varieties, giving pruning and planting tips.

 

 

 

The Northern Fruit Group, who visited in February to advise and help with pruning, were on hand in the barn to advise visitors and help with any issues they had regarding planting, diseases and maintenance of their trees as well as helping to identify apple varieties. Their help was greatly appreciated.

 

 

Apple Juice Sales
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Our bottles of apple juice sold well and this year we have used screw top caps.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Juicing Demonstration
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

There were regular apple juicing demonstrations throughout both days with samples of freshly squeezed apple juice to taste.

 

 

 

 

Honey for Sale
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

In one of our woodlands (Willowbank Wood) Brian, a local beekeeper, has put some of his bee hives.  Some visitors will have seen them if they have been on any of our guided walks in that part of the Reserve.  On Sunday, Brian brought some of the honey he had harvested for us to sell in the cafe, it was snapped up in no time!

Busy Sunday Afternoon
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

We thank all our visitors  for making our Apple Festival a success despite the weather.  We also thank our volunteers for all their hard work in the preparation for the event and for their assistance over the weekend.

 

(11.10.17)

 

 

 

 

 

An overdue catch up!  Time has flown by and as always we have been busy.

Roe deer in Rough Hey Meadow
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

We hear rumours of Roe deer in the area but have never actually seen one ourselves until May this year.  A complete surprise and very long distance images

 

Roe Deer
Photo by Su Haselton

 

but the white chin and white rump identify the species as Roe deer.

 

It has been seen in other areas of the Reserve since these images were taken.

 

 

 

Swift Nest Box Tower up and running May 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

In March we posted an image of the swift nest box built by Jim and Louise Bentley from Bolton & Bury Swifts.  Finally in May it was attached to a telegraph pole, trundled across the Reserve and erected in one of our far meadows, the solar panels wired up and swift calls are intermittently played.

 

Volucella pellucens
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

Abundant on bramble flowers were Volucella pellucens, one of the largest flies in Britain

 

 

 

 

Bramble Flower
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

they had plenty of bramble flowers to choose from across the Reserve.

 

 

Dog Rose
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

They could also have a change and visit the pale pink or white Dog roses

 

 

 

 

 

Wildflower Walk by Seldom Pond
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

In June we held our annual Wildflower and Butterfly Walk, led as always by Hilary Bedford.  We walked through Cabin Wood to Seldom Pond

 

 

Male Broad-bodied Chaser
Photo by Alan Bedford

 

 

and then down into the 5 Acre wildflower meadow.  Stopping at the pond there were Broad-bodied Chaser dragonflies and a male Emperor dragonfly

 

 

 

Female Broad-bodied Chaser
Photo by Alan Bedford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goatsbeard
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

There were plenty of wildflowers to see, especially in the 5 Acre meadow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildflower walk on Outcrop
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

The walk moved up to the Outcrop

 

 

 

Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnett moths
Photo by Jonathan Atkins

 

 

These Burnett moths left the safety of the long grass for a close up photo!

 

 

 

 

Ladybird Larvae
Photo by Alan Bedford

 

 

 

and we found ladybird larvae along the public footpath.

 

 

 

 

 

Meadows Day 2 July 2017 5 Acre Meadow
Photo by Su Haselton

 

On 2 July we held our Meadows Day for the second year running.  It was a free event with a chance for visitors to wander around the 5 Acre wildflower meadow.  Our cafe did a good trade in teas, coffee and homemade cakes

 

 

 

Children’s activity tent Meadows Day
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

and the children enjoyed making buzzy bees and visiting the teddy bears picnic maze.

We were so lucky with the weather – it rained the day before!

You can see more images on our twitter feed – see link on the Home Page

 

 

 

 

Our moth survey continues more or less all year, weather permitting, but the trap has been moved into the 5 Acre wildflower meadow to make the most of the abundance of wildflowers attracting moths before it gets cut for hay.  We regularly attract over 300 moths to the trap in this location!  Here is a very small selection:

Drinker Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

The Drinker and Ghost moths are ancient species and do not have mouth parts to enable them to feed

 

 

Female Ghost Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male Ghost Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectacle Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

This Spectacle moth has to be viewed head on to see why it lives up to its name

 

 

Spectacle Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(19.7.17)

 

 

 

Spring has well and truly sprung and some surprise finds!

Snowdrop
Photo by Su Haselton

 

Mid March some of our snowdrops were still in flower and putting on a show.  We have taken the opportunity to plant more snowdrops ‘in the green’ in Cabin Wood in preparation for our Snowdrop Sunday next year!

 

 

 

Hawthorn is now in full leaf and in some parts of the Reserve flower buds are forming.

 

Blackthorn in Flower March 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Needless to say Blackthorn is in flower across the Reserve and

 

 

 

 

Goat Willow
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

so are Goat Willow catkins.

Goat Willow is commonly known as pussy willow after the silky grey male flowers that look like cat paws.

 

Bees beginning to be out and about March 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Bees are buzzing around the bee hives in Willowbank Wood now there are some flowers around

 

 

 

Frog Spawn in Seldom Pond March 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

and frog spawn has been seen in Seldom Pond in Cabin Wood.  Usually the frogs spawn close to the boardwalk but this year chose a different part of the pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Lean-to nearly finished
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

At the back of the barn we are building a lean-to so that we can store the ‘outdoor’ educational equipment and materials that need to be kept dry.

 

 

 

 

Interior of our new Swift Nest Box
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Jim and Louise Bentley from Bolton & Bury Swifts have kindly constructed a swift nest box so that we can, hopefully, provide a nesting site for swifts.

Once it is attached to a pole, the swift tower will need to be erected.  It will be quite a challenge!  We will keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

Slime Mold ? Tubifera ferruginosa
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

The first strange sighting on Saturday 11 March was this slime mold .  Spotted in North Wood on the stump of a Scots Pine.  It looked like someone had squirted foam on the top of the stump and it had a spongy texture. A possible ID is Tubifera ferruginosa.

 

The following Saturday it had turned to ‘brown dust’ – presumably spores.

Great Diving Beetle
Photo by Su Haselton

 

The second strange sighting on the same day was this Great Diving Beetle in the moth trap!

To give a sense of scale the diameter of the container in 4.5 cms.

It was quite a shock to find this hiding under the egg boxes at the bottom of the trap.  The trap was only a few yards away from Seldom Pond – a more suitable habitat for this beetle!

 

 

March Moth
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

The more usual finds in our moth trap:

 

 

 

 

Pine Beauty
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Beauty moths usually rest with their wings close to their bodies but this one posed nicely to let us see the beautiful colours!

 

Satellite
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Grey
Photo by Su Haselton

 

We started moth trapping on 2/3 March so these are new species for our records.

 

 

 

 

(31.3.17)

 

January and February 2017 catch up.  The new all-weather paths in Cabin Wood had their first taste of winter weather and, apart from one or two small puddles, have

New path in Cabin Wood looks good
Photo by Su Haselton

 

stood up well and look good.

 

 

 

 

new path leading to exit from Cabin Wood
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

The path leading down from the stone frog sculpture towards the exit in Cabin Wood looks inviting in the dappled sunlight.  The path leading from the car park to access the 5 Acre Meadow has had a new gate fitted, as have the other access points from Cabin Wood into the meadow. (Please keep the gates shut, especially when sheep are in the meadow!)

Woodchip path in Cabin Wood
Photo by Su Haselton

 

Some internal paths in Cabin Wood are still being covered in wood chip to add a natural look in contrast to the all-weather paths and are quieter to walk on when trying to catch a glimpse of an elusive bird!

 

 

 

New Boardwalk Path in Progress
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

In front of Seldom Pond, where the ground can get very wet and muddy, we decided to construct a boardwalk path made of railway sleepers, raised on concrete blocks and covered in wire to prevent slipping.  Unfortunately the very cold and then wet weather halted the work and an alternate safe route has been made from wood chip.

A February Morning Reflection
Photo by Su Haselton

 

Seldom Pond on a sunny February morning looks tranquil and the lack of leaves on the trees allows for lovely reflections.

 

 

Two Cheeky Robins
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

At this time of year when birds are looking for food we can usually count 3 or 4 Robins around Seldom Pond at feeding time.  These 2 Robins are particularly cheeky.

 

Over-wintering friendly sheep in Rough Hey
Photo by Su Haselton

 

Other cheeky and friendly creatures on the Reserve at the moment are the grazing sheep.  We manage our wildflower hay meadows over the autumn and winter with sheep and the bird feed round volunteers can always be assured of a warm welcome from them, especially when struggling to open and close gates!

 

 

 

Bracket Fungi in Willowbank Wood
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

A variety of fungi can be seen on standing dead wood as well as on the ground.  New life and colour are emerging across the Reserve:

 

 

 

 

February Daffodils
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

These daffodils are in ‘Daffodil Walk’ leading down to the Heritage Orchard.

 

 

New Pine Cone January 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

This new pine cone looks like it has been made of plastic!

 

 

Gorse in Flower February 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

Gorse is flowering across the Reserve.

 

 

 

Hazel Catkins February 2017
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

Hazel catkins are opening on many of the Hazel trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 4th February we held our ‘Pruning Day’ where people were invited to come and help us prune our Heritage Orchard, experienced ‘pruners’ to add their expertise and ‘novice pruners’ wishing to learn.

Jonathan explaining the art of pruning
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

A small group arrived for each session and Jonathan ensured all novices had sufficient knowledge before being let loose with the secateurs!

 

 

Ladder needed
Photo by Su Haselton

 

We could not have wished for better weather; the sun shone for most of the day, although there was still a cold nip in the air.

 

 

 

Pruning Underway
Photo by Su Haselton

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were especially grateful to Joan from the Northern Fruit Group 

she travelled all the way from York to help us with the pruning and instruction.  Her knowledge and hard work were invaluable.

(12.2.17)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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