19 Apr 2009

Sunny April

It's a wonderful April Sunday and haven't we been blessed with some fabulous weather of late? The early butterflies are dancing along the hedgerows, trees and bushes are bursting into leaf and flower, and the bluebells are just about in full blue bloom.

April is one of my favourite months and for the last few years I don't remember there being a bad one as far as weather is concerned but then my motto has always been 'There's no such thing as bad weather; just degrees of good'!

The WuFuV's get back to work next Friday with some wildlife surveying at Dothill which we're all looking forward to. In the meantime I thought I'd just drop in a quick post with a handful of photo's which have been uploaded to the WFV Yahoo Group. This forum (open to all) has seen a great deal of activity just lately so if you haven't signed up yet - now might be a good time! Click here to join It's full of superb pictures, links, files and sparkling conversation.

Here's a great pic from Les of a Bullfinch and Goldfinch at the same feeder;

And another from Les;

Isn't that just fantastic?

And a real scoop from Keith with a Brambling. Don't know about you but I've yet to see one in my garden let alone have the foresight to rush inside for the camera;-

Being a fan of moths I was particularly impressed by Nigel's male Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria);-

Nigel continues to beat Les and me (both using moth traps) with stunning pics from his porch!

Not to be outdone though I managed a Comma butterfly in Ercall Woods;-

These are just a few of the many fabulous pics uploaded by WuFuV's - take a look around the various folders - I'm sure you'll be as amazed as I am! Apart from birds and moths you'll see trees, insects, spiders, flowers, fungi and a selection of Keith's trip to Sri Lanka.

Please feel free to upload your own selection. Add them to existing members folders or create your own.

Catch you all on Friday!

1 Apr 2009

The Horse-log Blog

Thanks to Penny for the title - or maybe it was Horse-Blog!

What a great day we had on Friday for horse-logging training and then on Saturday the demonstration which was open to the public. I guess around 70 people visited during the day so it was well attended.

Refreshments in the way of Penny-soup, many cakes (including 2 rescued from Les's freezer) plus tea and coffee all offered free and ably administered by Lis and a few helpers.

A fiery fire burned within the log surround on both days and the weather was especially kind to us.
The logging demonstration was a huge success and it was my first insight into what a Working Horse Experience is. Thanks to Phil Wilson for bringing along Jeff the Clydesdale horse - a very docile and handsome creature - and the horse was great too!

Actually Phil is far from docile; in fact I'm sure he won't mind if I refer to him as Mad Phil! He has a sense of humour that just kept me and many others laughing for most of the day. Great guy with an obvious love of heavy horses and the countryside.

Assisted very ably by his lovely (and no doubt long-suffering) wife Lindsay they demonstrated exactly what horse-logging is all about including a run down of the equipment and introduction to Jeff the Clydesdale who does exactly as he's told except when he doesn't want to, which seemed to be most of the time!

Jeff is a magnificent 10-year-old working horse standing some 17 hands and weighing in at around a ton and so obviously happy doing what he's bred to do - working the land! I was surprised to hear that he is one of only 900 Clydesdales left in the UK. And long may they continue to be bred.

This is Mad Phil showing just how mad he really is by log ski-ing around the trickiest corner of the run!

Thanks to Lis for this shot of Phil attaching the chain to a log

Once they'd done a couple of runs dragging a heavy log down the path in Ercall Wood to the lane and back Jeff virtually dragged anyone else who held the ropes; he knew what he had to do, knew where he had to go and was a most delightful companion. Thanks for a great couple of days Jeff!

Great picture of Penny who seems to be wondering where Jeff went!

Even Pete who openly admits to being 'not big on horses' enjoyed being dragged down the hill and then pulled even quicker back up it!

And so it was time to clear the site and put the Working Horse Crew back into their boxes!

Click the collage to view the slideshow