12th May 2008

After a spring where it was so wet that we got the Land Rover stuck in one of the rides, that has now dried out and unfortunately we are left with some ruts, which are thankfully quite shallow. We did some more pruning of trees, but now have other tasks to accomplish, when we have time.

Today I walked round and I thought you might be interested in what I encountered. Unfortunately I did not have pen and paper, so this is from memory, which is immensely fallible in my case. It was a beautiful sunny day, one among several in this week and it felt hot enough to be summer. Dare I say it, the thistles were growing madly, like everything else. The grass was high already and the stamens of Meadow Foxtail flowers were going brown.

Other flowers seemed fewer among the trees, mostly, I think, because the grass is growing so strongly. Ox Eye Daisies were on their way and they will be robust enough to come through eventually. Meanwhile there were Red Campion, Ragged Robin, Chickweed, Buttercup, Garlic Mustard in places. The pasture held Ladies Smock as well. I noticed one Bluebell in one of the thickets, but was so surprised that I did not check it was the native. I doubt that it was, which means that a source that said it was supplying the genuine thing, was in fact producing the hybrid.

The hedgerows were a mass of white from Hawthorn flowers with Cow Parsley underneath. The white theme continued among the flowers of Rowan, Guelder Rose, Bird Cherry, Crab-apple and Spindle. The Gean (wild) Cherry had gone over. Buckthorn and Wild Privet were budding but not yet ready to open. One Field Maple had small keys on it but also an attack of aphid.

There seemed a noticeable lack of birds, though one was disturbed, which I still have not identified because this species always flies away quickly, chattering as it goes. I need an expert to help! In the adjoining spinney the Buzzard had her nest again in the same tree as previous years. Butterflies again were not many but I could definitely identify Brimstones and a Red Admiral. There were also brown ones, but every time I saw them they always seemed to dart away before I could identify.

The pond life was more co-operative. Pond Skaters, Water Boatmen, Whirligig Beetles were on all ponds, but only two had tadpoles, not yet with any legs. I hope I shall be able to say in due course if they were toads or frogs, but it would be even better if it were both.