Monday, 21 April 2008

April 20th - The Cusp Of Spring

Last year there was much in the news about Spring coming early. Gardeners at Kew were reported to comment that the growing season hadn’t really stopped and flowering trees and shrubs were coming into bloom four or even six weeks earlier than expected. I don’t know what has happened this year at Kew but up here in the wilds of waney Spring has only just begun to make its presence felt.

Walking in the woods on Sunday 20th April it was the rattle of dead oak leaves in the wind that was the dominant sound, although now and again the song of great tits and chaffinches broke out from above. Away deeper in the wood a jay cackled and cracked and a pheasant gave off it’s alarm. Several fat bumblebees buzzed drowsily through the shadows a few inches from the ground, as if they hadn’t yet shaken the sleep from their compound eyes.

The yellow gorse flowers where the most colourful thing in the woods, although little white stars of wood anemone were beginning to twinkle out from a thickening carpet of green. As an indicator of ancient woodland the anemone’s and bluebells point to what was once here, before mountain bike tyres rutted the paths and a local running club decided to paint “Home” on the trees to aid their orienteering.

The was a nice fresh crop of deer slots in the wet mud on the paths and away deeper into the spruce plantation and here and there the delicate white flowers of hawthorn and blackthorn were just starting to open.
Top: Flowring gorse
Middle: Fallow deer slots on a muddy bank
Botton: Wood anemone

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