An Artist’s Conk on an evening trespass
There’s a lovely woodland nearby. It seems as large as any of the local public-access parks and yet it is privately owned. It’s a small part of land owned by just one family. The Birch trees are glorious in this evening light. I make do with some quick phone photographs:
There’s a Ganoderma fungus on one of the very old Birch stumps:
It’s known as Artists’ Conk – that is, if it’s Ganoderma applanatum. It’s easy to draw on its under-surface and the image will stay there for years. What secret message would you leave on the underside of a huge fungus in the middle of someone else’s wood?
Here’s the cracked top:
It’s a work of art without human interference.
There’s a Blue Tit with a caterpillar up in the trees above me. It wants to take it into its chicks but isn’t confident enough to put its nest at risk with a potential predator like me around.
At the top of the wood is glorious Barn Owl hunting territory. The barn and the fields will be destroyed by poor quality housing with squalid gardens and too little infrastructure, and too few jobs accessible on foot, by bicycle or by public transport. It’ll be another estate like any other, full of car pollution, and full of harassed families trying desperately to earn enough to pay an exorbitant mortgage.
As a photographer I know it’s against the law to intentionally disturb a Barn Owls’ nest. As a landowner, the farmer knows it’s not against the law to sell the land, demolish or convert the barn and build an estate on the fields in which a Barn Owl hunts. Laws, after all, are for the poor. I applied for a licence to photograph the owls from Natural England. I had no response.
There are rare Cirl Buntings in the fields and Buzzards patrolling the skies, with Brown Hares enjoying the early morning air.
All this will be lost. There could well be Hazel Dormice in the Hazel hedges. I presume that’s what these survey boxes are for:
I think the surveyors could be in for a surprise when they check box 88. There was a Coal Tit settling down for the night inside it.
As the light fades I see signs of hope. There’s new life here, where one of the fields has become a maternity ward.
The calf has a very excited tail. There’s pure joy right there.
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