Chiffchaffs and nibbled leaves.

Two months on and today’s soundscape reassuringly confirmed the continued  presence of Chiffchaff although now several other species had joined the choir to affirm that peak mating season was taking place in the wood. 

Attempts to see these birds were now well and truly thwarted by the abundance of leaf coverage -shoulder high nettles and a veritable free-for-all reaching out of the tree canopy. According to Mark our expert, the trees in their frantic growth, still observe good manners and try avoid unnecessary contact! Not so the brambles which, apparently luxuriating in their entanglement, provide the perfect structure and ground cover for the Chiffchaff’s nest site.

For today’s visit we became fellow phylloscopists like the Chiffchaff - that is ‘leaf explorers’. 

Our attention was drawn to nibbled leaves and tiny caterpillars on a Wych Elm - exactly what the Chiffchaff and allies would also be looking for. Thousands of caterpillars are required to feed the growing  nestlings and we considered the act of balance being practiced here in Marton wood - enough growing vegetation to provide food and shelter but enough rot and decay to support regeneration. 

Always a balance between life and death which even good intentioned human interference can make unstable. But this wood is our chance to observe a set of natural scales where humans have no longer any financial vested interest. It's our chance to be mindful, creative and help put the balance back into human lives.

May 2022
Sue Harrison