The rain and thunder thankfully held off for our duck dash on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who turned up, bought a ticket, played the tombola and joined us for some quacking good fun. We raised over £300 for the Friends, every single penny of which goes back into our work within the forest. Lovely pictures courtesy of Colin Dadswell.
Based on a report for FoDF AGM by Lindsay Wardell
It has been a good year for the birds of Staindale Lake feeding station. Not only has the area been given a spruce up and up-grade, there has been a very obvious increase in the number of birds using the area. The Friends have improved the area and there are numerous Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits, in numbers so high they seem to be all around the feeders get filled! There are lots of Chaffinches, which more than once, have been joined by Bramblings. Greenfinches, Robins and Blackbirds. Siskin numbers are also up on the year before too, and Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpeckers are frequent visitors.
In the summer months, you are almost sure to see Warblers, including Lesser Whitethroats and Willow Warblers and the iconic Chiffchaff. On the lake, a Kingfisher has been hunting , and there are lots of Bullfinches and Jays. The Winter saw visits by Yellowhammers and a Goldcrest.
The amount of visitors who have approached Lindsay whilst filling the feeders, are aften asking about the birdlife and complimenting the area.
During the 2018/9 winter, accessing the area was an issue. Troublesome snow and ice persisted for quite a while, making it impossible for us to get to the birds when they would have desperately needed the help most! However, despite the cold conditions, when we finally managed to get up to the lake safely, there were plenty of birds all around, and so most managed to make it.
We now have two new bird tables now and a feeding arch full of different feeders. This year we added Nyger feeders to possibly attract Redpoll and they certainly are attracting Siskins. We have yet to record Redpoll, but always keep a look out!
We are considering adding a low barrier across the area where currently cars pull right in and are hoping to put a seat there instead to allow visitors to stop, sit and watch the birds.
Thank you to everyone who turned out today.
Some muscles, the drills and the chainsaw came in handy at the Enchanted Wood today.
We had two working parties out in the forest but we still achieved a lot in both the Forest Garden but also the Enchanted Wood (see pics). There, we carried out more boundary work and started to re-erect the original EW metal sign that is being relocated. Those fence panels were heavy — feeling achy now…!
Our worktask this morning was at the maze. It was colder than we were expecting and we even had some hailstones and rain showers every so often. We mended pallets, shifted stones and weeded the inner circle, and even found a little lizard – who did not move very much having been fooled into thinking that the earlier sun meant it was warm!
Thanks to everyone who came including two new volunteers Sue and Vanessa.
January saw us back to work in the forest garden and tackling the buttercups that were strangling some of the plants and taking over the paths. Some lovely pics courtesy of Michael Hill. We will continue to meet on the second Sunday of every month so if you want to do some volunteering in 2019 then come and join us! https://friendsofdalbyforest.wordpress.com/about/
This month’s work task saw us working at Staindale Lake. We were joined by members of the GoodGym running group who are a group of runners who “run to do good” via community work. They were racing at the Dalby Dash 10k race but offered their services for an hour before the race so they were put to work pruning the accessible trail around the lake. We greatly appreciate their help and hope they had a good run afterwards!
Regular Friends of Dalby welcomed new volunteer Judith F, newly arrived in the area, and our work focused on the area around the bird feeding area. A thick humic soil had built up around the feeders and it was getting very muddy during the winter and made access difficult. As we discovered, a lot of this was simply a build-up over tarmac and so the water just had nowhere to go. Hopefully having clearing it back will make things easier. In addition we dug out a ditch behind the feeders to further help with drainage and the birds immediately sprung into action to get at all the newly uncovered worms!
We also moved the feeders that were hung in the trees (almost impossible to get at during the summer when the trees are in full leaf) and hung them on a newly installed arch and have made room for two new bird tables we’ve arranged to be made.
We have further plans for this area, not least to install a bench to enable more comfortable bird watching. Watch this space!
Thanks to Jeni for the pics!
We are very pleased to announce that Peter Maris will be holding the Dry Stone Wall Maze Initial Carving Workshops throughout 2019.
Peter will also be holding three Christmas workshops on 1st, 9th & 15th December 2018.
They’ll go quick so book your place soon!
The Friends of Dalby Forest will be at the annual Fear in the Forest event on Halloween night (31 October). Amongst the live bugs and bats, Wizard Phil and Haunted Hedy will be helping the younger visitors with some spooky crafts.
A bit of a wet one today but we did some trail clearing in advance of Fear in the Forest at the end of the month. Thankfully topped off with a nice hot drink at the cafe courtesy of ranger Paul. Some of us also took a quick trip up to see the new Nissan hut installation by Rachel Whiteread near the Adderstone.
Despite the rain, it was still lovely to see all the Autumn colours coming out.
Thank you to all the volunteers who came along to the work task this morning. There were only 6 of us but it felt like we achieved a lot.
We laid a membrane to suppress the weeds in the area behind the cafe at the courtyard (it’s very stony so that seemed the best way to kill off the weeds). We will work in this area next year as it is technically also part of the forest garden. We have lots of strawberries and currants to plant there.
In addition, we built a bug house (hotel?) with some pallets kindly donated by Mark from the maze . There are so many insects in the garden especially ladybirds and beetles at the moment, so we hope they enjoy their new accommodation!