Winter, odd things noticed and wildlife in the forest.

We’ve had some mild but fresh winter days recently, and it’s been a pleasure to be out in the forest recording trees. Some people think of winter as a fairly black and white season, but there have been some amazing colours, what with the bracken, the birch and the skies.

I often notice odd and unusual things, so here are a few from this week….

First, a fairly regular tree I walk past. It has a large fallen branch which reveals the brown rot inside, and a noticeable holly air tree, but this week I saw something else, something I’ve seen a bit of recently – a squirrel, just sitting, mid morning, on the sunny side of the tree, maybe warming up in the sun’s rays. I know squirrels have a mixed review, but they’re part of the forest here. I’ve watched other squirrels do this over the past weeks, and it’s only when something noisy happens nearby that they seem to break out of their resting and move along.

Some days are very much ‘wildlife’ days, though not so much seeing the birds and animals, but rather seeing where they’ve been. I’ve often noticed in this past few weeks that there are little tufts of moss scattered around the bases of trees, and wondered what might be doing this. A nuthatch? various birds?

I’m still not sure, but I did see a bluetit working its way along a branch investigating all of the moss on top. Not so much pecking it off and scattering it, but definitely on a mission and looking.

Around the base of that same tree I saw a raptor pellet – definitely from someone with a sharp beak and big talons… and elsewhere, a big tuft of deer fur.

Oddly, I saw a pigeon egg, or perhaps it was from a stock dove, as there are a lot of these in the forest. An odd thing to see – maybe the following day it will have gone, eaten by the badgers or foxes. Odd to see it on the forest floor though, and also odd to see it this time of year.

I’ve seen some interesting moss and lichen recently as well – some of the moss is in sort of tufty forests. Also some of the fungi around the forest are doing things. I’m still seeing earthballs, and saw this ochre coloured fungus last week, moving from being a patch on the side of a dead branch to being a frilly bracket – I’ll have to find out what it is!

The next blog will be about trees, and what happens when they fall over…..