Sunday, 23 May 2010
Spring may have been late this year, but suddenly everything seems to be happening all at once. Blackthorn seems to have flowered really well this year and a few are still flowering here and there even as the Hawthorns start to flower. Red campion, Marsh Marigold, Garlic Mustard, Wood Sorrel, Violets, Bluebells, and Wild Strawberries are all flowering now and we still have Primroses out. Local woods smell richly of Garlic from the Wild Ramsons that will be flowering soon. Horse Chestnuts are starting to flower and the Apple Trees in the hedgerows are filling the air with their rich scent. It is hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago we were still having frosts and hardly any leaves were out. The Blackbird and Robin chicks have fledged, though I have only seen the Blackbirds feeding one chick in the open. The Robins seem to have done better with two. The Blackbird nest attracted the attentions of the local cats and on one occasion I saw a Sparrowhawk land in the conifer and head for the nest though I couldn't see if it took off with anything. The Swifts have made a welcome return over the past week and the House Martins are already feeding young. Twice during the day and in different areas we have seen Tawny Owls sat out in the open, one around 9 am and the other around 5 pm. Maybe they were after one of the numerous baby rabbits that seem to be everywhere at the moment. On our evening walks we have been delighted by the tiny Pipistrelle bats flitting amongst the trees above us. We are a bit worried that so far we have only seen a couple of hedgehogs, though sadly several corpses on the roads. BBC Wildlife magazine is encouraging people to go for an evening walk and the Forest of Bowland is a beautiful area to do so. Its lovely here at dusk as the sun sets behind Pendle Hill and the air fills with the scent of Apple Blossom, the bats come out and the calls of Curlews and Oystercatchers mingle with the bleating of the lambs.