Pilewort or Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna), flowering between January and April; these lovers of damp woodland pathways, stream banks and ditches, can be found in gardens, meadows and shady hedgerows, and even Narnia, yes, Narnia! ✨
An important nectar source for early emerging insects from hibernation, such as Queen Bumblebees 🐝
Lesser celandine were used to treat haemorrhoids, hence “Pilewort” and scurvy, due to being high in Vitamin C.
A few years ago and around May last year; I visited the Frankley Beeches woodland. I noticed it was being ill-managed and not really being cared for.
I have grown up with this remarkable wood, as my local landmark for 30 years (my entire life), and despite it looking lovely on the outside, it unfortunately is not the same on the inside!
Research concluded that it is the National Trust that haven’t been doing (their job) anything with it for years, and Bromsgrove District Council cannot have cared much either…
When I visited it last, it was in much need of restoration & conservation, within the wood there are dead & damaged trees, plus rubbish & disturbed soil from its careless visitors. The anthropogenic effect on the woodland is very much the same to this day!
I recently did a Tweet, tagging in those who it concerns and may care about the Frankley Beeches, and yesterday (01.09.2020) I visited there and made this video:
Today (02.09.2020) the National Trust in the Midlands got back to me on Twitter:
“…thank you for raising your concerns with us. I’m pleased to hear that you have seen a difference to the site. Unfortunately, like many places, we only have a small team who can complete essential tasks right now but we will make sure to take on your feedback when we update the conservation management plan. We did not put in place the plastic tree guards, but I have let the team at Clent Hills know that they are now littered around…”
So it’s the Clent Team who (are to blame) haven’t been doing anything for years, until fairly recently 🤔 I am pleased they finally replied to me, as a few years ago, I emailed them and was ignored!
Sorry to hear of their small team, thus causing neglect and negative knock-on effects to much cherished places…
Six years ago it was a similar mild and wet December, I happened to be looking on Twitter when I saw a tweet announcing that there was a large flock of Waxwings, at the Midlands best garden centre, Webbs of Wychbold in north Worcestershire.
It had been several years since the last irruption of Waxwings and it wasn’t a bird many people had seen, I had never seen any before and so like many people from all over the West Midlands region (and maybe further afield), I descended on Webbs of Wychbold.
Of course I took my trusty video camera along with me, it would have been madness not to get footage of these beautiful birds! Journalists at the local BBC Studios in Birmingham got wind of ‘something going on’ and so I decided to inform them of what it was and sent them a copy of the video I made (below).
BBC Birmingham loved my video, so I met up with Environment Correspondent, Dr David Gregory-Kumar and his lovely producer and cameraman, to be part of a news package on the Waxwing irruption (below).
Today I found out the collective noun for Waxwings is a museum or an earful. 😆
The now classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, UK Amber and Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, Eurasian Curlew are still holding on at Upton Warren in the landlocked county of Worcestershire in the West Midlands region, and they can be seen throughout autumn and winter, roosting at The Flashes most evenings.
For waders they’re large and tall, approx the size of female a Pheasant – making them the largest European wading bird. Their haunting call (‘Cur-lee’) is unmistakable – it’s one of my favourite bird calls – it can be heard from February through to July on its breeding grounds; wet grasslands, farmland, heath and moorlands. From July onwards coastal numbers start to build up and peak in January.
Curlews feed on worms, shrimps and shellfish. The largest concentrations of them are found at Morecambe Bay, the Solway Firth, the Wash and the Dee, plus, the Severn, Humber and Thames estuaries. Their greatest breeding numbers are found in north Wales, the Pennines, the southern uplands and east Highlands of Scotland and the Northern Isles.
The agricultural intensification (e.g drainage and reseeding) of upland farmland and moorland – plus the afforestation of moorland – is a big factor in the decline of their breeding population.
The weather has been inclement again, and I was off to the N.E.C later as a member of Press, to report on BBC Gardeners’ World Live. So I opted to write a wild poem; I was happy there was a break in between showers, because I was able to get out into my partner’s garden to recite my poem.
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