The red birch has survived a battering by the winds coming up the Pohjan bay from the Baltic thanks to our efforts to stake it firmly down and wrap it up. There are plenty of leaf buds but we don't expect anything remotely photogenic until the beginning of May.
In 2004 we planted Black Alder alnus glutinosa in the back field in a swampy area where little else could grow. Only about one quarter of the 2800 saplings survived but they are doing really well now. The trees are a "pioneer" species meaning that they are often used to re-forest open marshy areas such as this one. The bees are attracted to the catkins - one of their first food sources in the spring.
Juniper juniperus communis grows in southern Finland and we have many of them in our forest. They grow very slowly and don't survive hot, dry summers very well. The wood has a strong aroma and is used for making decorative objects and various handicrafts. The berries are used in cooking.
Today we found three juniper trees in need of some TLC. One of them was too damaged to be saved so we felled it and are storing it while it dries out. We might be able to save the other two by staking them upright again.
Here a pine has fallen on top of a juniper tree which is still alive but seriously flattened. We need to get the chain saw out to remove the pine tree and see if we can save the juniper.
This one doesn't look very special but it could be well over 40 years old. We scraped off the moss and it's hanging in the roof of the barn to dry. It was dead and would have evetually rotted if we had left it in situ.
This one was probably flattened by the forestry workers who cleared the forest two years ago. We propped it up with another branch and we will secure it with a stake and some rope. The roots seemed to be firmly in place.
While we were out counting trees we bumped into a neighbour who was out counting elk. Or, rather, he was counting tracks and elk poop. The count takes place on the same day every year nationwide. Usually there would be a thick layer of snow on the ground which makes poop location reasonably easy. But this year there is no snow so finding the tracks and the spores is a bit harder. We found lots though, tons of the stuff in fact...
Over in the Rosendal forest we planted new pine saplings a couple of years ago. Despite the lack of snow and the generous availability of food in the forest, the elk have not resisted nibbling them...
This is a complete mystery though. I have no idea what could have eaten through the base of this tree. It was on the edge of a lake (the one that feeds into Ovanträsk) and the animal (bird?) had gnawed at the tree from both sides... I am not aware of any beavers in this part of Finland but it would be exciting to think they had moved in close by. This looks quite recent. I saw one other tree in the same area with similar marks.
Note: I've asked around and the general consensus is that this is the work of a Black Woodpecker foraging for ants. This tree would probably have a rotten, hollow core where the ants are nesting.