The Safari went to a meeting yesterday and on the way back to the office passed a school which happens to have (probably) the oldest tree in town in its grounds. An old Willow tree with a circumference of 3.9m (12.8 feet) and a characterful gnarly twist to its trunk. The actual age will be hard to tell as it has been pollarded/hacked at at various times in the past, is growing alone now and is surrounded by hard ground so its growth rate over the years will have been quite changeable, a rough estimate of 1 inch/yr would give about 155 years. It is believed that it stands on the line of a now drained water course. Well it doesn’t any more as we were shocked to see that it wasn’t there when we passed; in its place was a pile of stump grindings.
This tree was on the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt register as a ‘Veteran’ tree
Sadly it is no more and of course it is absolutely impossible to replace a 100+ year old tree, it’s not as if there’s a little corner shop that sells them so you can nip out and buy a new one.
We never got the opportunity to get a pic of the aged beauty so here's the best we could find - from Google street-view - no pics of it on the school's website or Google images :-(
There is very little news from the patches today. The Song Thrush at the Golden Triangle was heard from the front door as we left Base Camp at 06.15.
At Patch 2 the tide was well down and we counted 146 Oystercatchers and a single Sanderling. Hardly a gull was to be seen on our part of the beach but hundreds over our southern boundary. At sea the stiff westerly wind had chopped up the sea quite roughly so there was no chance of getting anywhere near someone else’s count of 3000 Common Scoters yesterday.
By lunchtime the tide was right up the wall and again there was little happening, we gave up after the fourth face-full of gritty seawater as the splash from waves began to come over the top of the wall; the scope was caked in salt spray by then too so viewing conditions weren’t the best. Only a handful of Common Scoters were seen.
Where to next? The Land Rover is in for its MoT tomorrow so we may have tales of inconsolable woe and expense to relate. Being at Base Camp all day we may have some news from the garden and perhaps Patch 1.
In the meantime let us know what shocked you in your outback.
At least there was a bit of fire in the sky maybe it's a sign a anger from the gods at the unnecessary destruction of one of their own...