Yesterday saw the last of the formal ‘weekend’ egg searches for the Grafton Wood area for this winter. As the counts for the ‘core hedgerows’ had already been completed, it was decided to concentrate the search on areas inside the wood and on some of the nearby, external hedgerows, that don’t usually get looked at. So, Mike Williams, Pete Seal and myself set forth from Grafton church, braving the ridiculously wet, and in some places almost impassable, conditions in the fields en route to the wood.
We began by searching an area of new sucker growth inside the wood, near to ‘the Orchard’, where management work to cut back old blackthorn growth had been carried out in 2011. The suckers were strong and healthy and it was heartening to find a reasonable number of eggs in this area, proving the worth of the aforementioned management work. We then moved up the main ride searching any blackthorn we came across and recorded a steady stream of eggs all the way up towards the northern end of the wood. In total we found 46 eggs yesterday in these areas with the highlights being a number of doubles and a treble. It is now our intention to continue the searches within all other areas of Grafton Wood, in order to arrive at a total ‘in-wood count’, thereby replicating our efforts from last winter. Given that we have yet to search some of the best areas, it would seem certain that we will easily exceed last winters’ total count of 48.
Leaving the confines of the wood yesterday, we then made our way down the outside perimeter to the west, included a search of the ‘other’ (western) side of Hedgerow ‘A’, and ending up on a public footpath leading back towards the church. In all we recorded 39 eggs on these ‘outside’ perimeter hedgerows, taking the total count for the day up to 85.
In addition to completing the ‘in-wood’ count it is also our intention this winter (or at least our target!) to search all external hedgerows within a ¼ mile radius of Grafton Wood. The ‘Thursday Streakers Club’ will be undertaking this task over the coming weeks so if anyone would like to join us then they would be very welcome. We meet every Thursday at 10am, almost always at
car park, but if you have not been before and would like to come, then please
email me or Mike Williams beforehand as just occasionally we meet elsewhere. Grafton