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February 2015

posted 1 Mar 2015, 08:32 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 1 Mar 2015, 09:09 ]

A changeable month on the Green. Sometimes it feels as though spring is around the corner and the next minute sleet is being carried in on an ice cold wind. Nevertheless, there are signs that nature thinks Spring is not too far away. The woodpeckers can frequently be heard drumming on the trees and the catkins are starting to appear. These yellow catkins are the male flowers of the hazel and contain a very light pollen, which is dispersed by the wind - quite a clever strategy given that there aren't many flying insects around in February. I have subsequently read that the female flowers are on the same tree but are very small and have bright red styles (part of the flower to which the pollen sticks). I must go back and see if I can find any.

buzzard pellet

Earlier on in the week, whilst walking on the Green, I came across these bird pellets on the ground. Initially I thought they were owl pellets, but after consulting Georgia Locock and doing a bit of reading on the subject, I now think they are from buzzards. Owls and raptors (buzzards, kestrels etc) regurgitate the indigestible bits from previous meals i.e. fur and bone. Looking at the pellet (photo opposite), it contains a lot of fur (characteristic of a buzzard pellet) as well as a tooth (top right hand side) and what look like some limb bones. Now I am by no means an expert, but these bones are bigger than bones of a shrew/vole and I am thinking that they might be from a mole. This may be quite plausible given that given that there is a healthy mole population and buzzards are a common sight flying overhead.

moss on ash

Following on from last months post, I have now added a few more pages on the history part of the website. This includes the Trust's relationship with Maple Hayes (1793 - 1833) and also how the Green was being managed in the first forty year's of the Trust's existence. This last topic has been very interesting to research and all of the information has come from the accounts books, currently held at the Lichfield Record Office. Grazing was an important source of income for the Trust and a lot of effort went into trying to drain excess water from the Green.

Just to finish on a calm note - the moss growing on the ash tree, caught the afternoon sun and glowed a vibrant green.