Tuesday, 11 February 2014

It's all kicking off!

One week into February and suddenly everything is kicking off in the garden.

First, the frogs. On the 8th, I casually looked in the pond and noticed spawn. It might have been there for a couple of days. I have been noting the date that the frogs spawn since 2005. This year's spawning date is a month earlier than in the cold weather last year. In fact it is earlier than any of the years since I started recording.

As for animals recorded by my Bushnell trail camera, the wet weather has continued but animals have started visting again. We have had some fox visits and our first badger of the year.

Fox - quarter to nine on the 2nd of February.
Badger - just after midnight on the same night.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Lime Aid - Sunshine and Slime Moulds

We had another work day at Lime Tree Avenue. This is the second of three work days. I made some notes on the first in Lime Aid - A great stressbuster. The next will be on Saturday the 8th of March, starting at 9am. After last month's unrelenting rain it was soggy underfoot but sunny for a while.  

The photos below show the first of two trees that I trimmed and tidied. 

Lime tree - before and after.
While I was shifting fallen twigs to the back of the strip where the trees grow, I found a twig with white Jelly-like blobs. The leader of the group, Martyn Stenning explained that this was likely to be a slime mould.

Slime mould on a fallen twig.
I don't know which species it is but it is similar to the false puffball

While I was working round this tree, a gentleman told me that vehicles used to be able to drive along the avenue.  I asked a question about this in the Facebook group: Memories of Uckfield. Thank you to Donna, Sandra, Jo, Sally, Claire and Joanne, who contributed memories about Lime Tree Avenue. Between them, they:
  • originally led up to Uckfield House
  • explained that you could drive from Hempstead Lane up to the front entrance of the school, which was where the leisure centre is now
  • added some lovely details on subjects ranging from pilgrims to cross-country runs.
When doing my second tree, I found myself wading through a sea of young alexanders plants, already knee high. Last year's stems show that the adult plants will be a bit taller than me.

I wasn't quite finished when I heard the rattle of hail stones. Happily, I was protected by the big old tree and they couldn't sting me. However the wind was getting stronger and gustier so we stopped.  

One last treat was the slight of primroses as I left the avenue to do a little shopping down the town.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Garden visitors - January 2014

We have just had one of the wettest Januarys on record. We have also had very few fox visits captured on our Bushnell trail camera compared to the colder, drier January last year.

One of the few fox visits captured in January 2014.
I have got no idea if the wet weather is the cause. Maybe, in the mild weather, they can find all the food they need closer to home. Maybe they are as enthusiastic as I am about being on a North facing slope in driving, cold rain.  The figures are:

Nights camera recording
Fox visits recorded Fox visits per night
Jan 2013 6 8 1.33
Jan 2014 12 3 0.25

Last year we also recorded one badger visit on a cold, frosty night.  So that's it. A bit of wet weather and the little turncoats disappear.