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Moseley Bog Friends' Blog 24/2/2016

Posted: Monday 29th February 2016 by Joe.P

Carving at Moseley BogMoseley Bog & Joy's Wood

These blog posts are sent in by Mary Girvan of the Friends of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood to give a personal perspective of a day in the life of a volunteer. She also does the twitter feed for @mosbogfriends.

A chain reaction started the day; paper boy wakes dogs, dogs howl and wake us. There's a hard frost outside but the rising sun is warm and powerful, and the car has self-defrosted by the time I have to leave for the bog.

The birds are singing (even shouting) "It's spring, it's spring !" As we wander along the boardwalk, checking on our remedial work, a birch tree limb trimmed away from the boardwalk a fortnight ago is weeping sap - a signal that our winter clearing phase is almost over. Not before time according to some people. Most people engage and try to understand why we're clearing so much, but today we had a guy who just hurled abuse. It wasn't nice, so thank you to all the others who stop and say hello, and who thankfully are in the majority. He didn't give us the chance to explain, so maybe this will help, and we're going to put up some temporary information boards at the main coppice site.

It seems counter intuitive, but coppicing and clearing creates better habitat for wildlife and flora. Dense thickets have poor ground vegetation and therefore fewer insect species. Some butterflies like woodland fritillary require the open conditions of newly cleared woodland. The diverse structure provided by active coppicing alongside standard trees, with different areas at different stages of growth attract a greater variety of birds, and scalloped areas along the paths give them meandering corridors to fly through. We're going to plant wild primroses and woodland plants, that we've grown from seed at the Ecopark, in the coppiced areas and new glades, allowing them to establish and spread while the hazel and willow regrowth takes place. We're trying to set off our own chain reaction of species colonising the new open areas while the canopy grows back, as it will for many more years than it would otherwise. Coppicing prolongs the life of the tree many times over. 

This week we spent the morning clearing an overgrown glade by the Pensby Close steps, discovering the carved head of a Tolkien character and some log seats. So this is now open for our largest species of visitor to use. The sunlight floods into the area, and it'll be a lovely place to sit, look at the wild flowers and watch the natural world go by. We basked in the sun at lunchtime and saw our first bumblebee. Then in the afternoon, one volunteer continued cleaning the boardwalk, while the rest of us cleared small trees and vegetation from the fence line of the school. A large tree had blown down and bent the fence in recent high winds, so it seemed prudent to avoid future damage and high bills. 

One last thing to say about angry man, who walks his dog in Moseley Bog and Joys Wood at least once a day. He loves the bog with a passion. He just needs to remember we do too.

Mary Girvan

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