Monday, October 10, 2016

Savernake Crashes...

With two or three sessions to go in my annual 20 hour search for autumn larvae in and around Savernake Forest I think I can categorically say that this year's egg lay is going to be the poorest I've recorded, in eight years of diligent recording.  

It all started so promisingly - as chronicled in my post of Sept 9th, but since then I've struggled badly.  The most worrying thing is that most of my alpha trees have drawn blank, and I've only got a scatter of low grade sallows left to search.  

Many of the trees I used to search are now too shaded, or they've grown so much that their searchable lower boughs have died back. That's natural. More worryingly, most of the generation of young sallows that sprung up following FC thinning works in the early 2000s have now been killed by squirrels - and the estate & the FC have given up on squirrel control. I've met with the FC about this and we're trying to work out what to do... We need Pine Martens and Goshawks to crunch the squirrels. I'm taking my cat next time.

So, at this stage I'm agreeing with Brother Dennis - this is a dire year for larvae...

I haven't started at Knepp as Mrs O has been seriously ill and I've been confined to barracks (Savernake).

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