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CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 11th March 2015
Rushall Farm, Bradfield ~ Coppicing

The buds of the primroses were just showing yellow for what would probably be one of our last coppicing tasks of the winter.

We had arrived at our meeting point by the Black Barn to the sound of all three native woodpeckers, Green, Greater Spotted and Lesser Spotted, drumming from various locations and some were lucky enough to see the Lesser Spotted at the top of an oak tree near the pond before it flew off. (The Lesser Spotted woodpecker is the smallest of our native species being about the size of a house sparrow; it is on the UK Red List having suffered a rapid decline in population in recent years with only 1,000 to 2,000 breeding pairs thought to remain.)

After a morning's hard work a relaxing lunch.

Amongst the hazel there was a considerable amount of birch which where possible was felled to allow more light into the plot. (Some larger trees were ring barked to create standing dead wood.)

We intend to return to the site later in the spring to protect the coppiced stools as despite the area having been fenced, deer are still causing a considerable amount of damage. We may also do some layering in the hope of propagating new stools.

Created: Sunday, 15th March 2015
Photographs: Alan Stevens