Spring 2012

What a delight it is to walk in Gimswood on a sunny spring day! I had not been for a while, so it was lovely to see the changes. The trees are not really sprouting yet, but it does make the Scots pines stand out; as the deciduous leaves grow, the pines just sort of merge into the background, losing their winter statement status.

Firstly the snowdrops, daffodils, and now the cowslips and primroses are flowering. Water crowfoot is flowering in the scrapes. Unfortunately the snakes-head fritillaries do not seem to be settling in, but I shall keep on trying to plant them. There is plenty of evidence of the more robust summer flowers such as ox-eye daisy, but at the moment the leaves are hugging the ground.

The wildlife is quite apparent. Hares, rabbits (too many!), deer footprints. The birds are singing merrily, but hiding in the hedges or neighbouring plantations. Today on the ground were pheasants, pretending they were not there. On the ponds were snipe; they do not nest here, but it is a joy to see them nevertheless. On my last visit there were clouds of starlings and fieldfares.

The ponds are doing well. We had a bit of rain recently so there is water in the scrapes, too. The level is not what it should be at this time of year, but let’s be thankful for what is there – and some more rain is due this week coming. Do we need it! The cracks in the ground remain unchanged, threatening to break unwary ankles.

There is definitely life in the ponds. Today there were the remains of toad spawn: the result of mating toads seen on my last visit. The frog spawn has now turned into messy brown blobs, but instead there are dozens (hundreds?) of tiny tadpoles eating algae on the pond vegetation. Square Pond has those strange jelly blobs again as seen last year, white or greenish and 5-10cms across. Please would someone tell me what they are.

And the exciting find to finish this report. There was another shed antler of a Roe deer. According to my book the antlers are shed in November and December. During the winter it was not where I found it, so something must have moved it. Probably a fox?