First visit to Catbrook wood for just over a month, due to overseas commitments. A lot changes in a month, it is green now, this is because of a good layer of bracken and other ferns and because the trees now have leaves. My Beech seedlings are doing well, and I think the squirrels did manage to get every last hazel nut. Luckily I do have about 250 seedlings at home and I will plant them out in the autumn. A few more of the very tall and very spindly trees that remained after the conifers were removed have blown down so that nearly all the tall trees have now gone. In retrospect I should have pollarded them and that would have given them a better chance.
I did see an interesting caterpillar on one of the young Oaks. I am fairly sure it is a vapourer moth caterpillar. These are very beautiful caterpillars but turn into a rather drab moth…. brown. One thing of interest though is that the female moth is very fat and has just rudimentary wings so it cannot fly. It does produce a chemical attractant which the males can detect from long distances away. The males have large antennae, which pick up the chemical and then they fly to the source where they do what needs to be done and the female can then produce the eggs which are laid in one big patch because she cannot move about. For more about these moths and to see what it looks like ( not spectacular) click on this web site http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=2026