Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, near Yate and Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire.

The Nature Reserve is run by the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, a small group of volunteers.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fruit and magpies

On my walk today, I noticed the late summer fruits are starting to appear. There are blackberries, of course, and also now sloes. The hedge at the bottom of the sloping meadow – the field edge nearest to the railway line – is always good for fruit. Keep an eye on it as we move into autumn.

I was walking about midday, and few birds and animals were in evidence. Apart that is from wood pigeons, with the distinctive papery crackle as they flap their wings. I heard a squirrel scampering in the trees above me, but I couldn’t see it.

I also saw some magpies. If you see one magpie, look for another – they’re very sociable birds. It’s supposed to be unlucky to see only one. Do you know the saying:
“One for sorrow, two for joy;
Three for a girl, four for a boy;
Five for silver, six for gold;
Seven for a secret, never to be told;
Eight for a wish, nine for a kiss;
Ten for a bird that's best to miss.”

On the way back I saw several magpies together, pecking away near a tree. One magpie suddenly caught sight of a butterfly and decided to try to catch it. The butterfly promptly dodged round the tree, with the magpie in hot pursuit. This game of hide-and-seek went on for a few seconds, like something out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, but finally the magpie won. He’d worked hard for his lunch…

Reminder: WAPLEY WORKDAY Sun 3 September

A morning of general woodland maintenance and ditch clearing work (not as unpleasant as it sounds!) Please bring gloves and wellies or walking shoes. Meet 10.00 am at railway bridge entrance, next to Nature Reserve sign on Shire Way, Yate, opposite Cherington. All welcome.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An evening walk

I went for a walk yesterday evening. The meadows have now been cut, so the wild flowers are no longer visible. Even so there's still a lot to see.

At dusk I stood near the kissing gate and watched a rabbit grazing. Then as I looked from the top pond into the adjoining farmer's field, a fox strolled past only 30 yards away.

The pond has now dried up, but water has remained there for much longer this year - exactly what we wanted to achieve with the work we had done.

And in a hedgerow, I saw a flash of red - the fiery red berries of lords and ladies, a common British arum.