Wednesday, 1 May 2013

1st May - Winter? What Winter?

Human beings tend to have selective memories that will filter out normal events choosing to remember those things that have an impact on your life.  For instance who remembers the bad weather when you were a child?  Summers were always hot and sunny, not like they are today.  Are we falling into the trap when we compare the last two years?  Last year by now all the trees were in leaf, and we had seen most of the early insects by now.  Contrast with this year and only now the leaves are coming out, and the butterflies and insect are beginning to be seen.  Which is the real situation?  Is this Spring so late, or was last year exceptionally early?

I was thinking this as I walked around the patch today, there was Dandelions everywhere, and the leaves are now showing lime green everywhere.  Everything felt as it should, the first of May, and it was feeling warm.  As I walked along Brislands I noticed a strange stone on the lawn of a house, something made me look closer, and the stone turned into a Mistle Thrush that seemed to be either sun bathing or anting on the lawn.


A little further on, I found a Honey Bee inspecting a Dandelion flower, there was in fact several on the yellow petals, but only one per flower.


I was going to walk around Old Down again, so I headed past Gradwell, pausing to see if the Bullfinches were around.  They didn't show today, but as I turned to walk on a shadow came over and looking up there wee two Buzzards making the most of the sunny weather as only buzzards can.


I walked out into the field again, wondering if the Wheatears had stayed, only to find a tractor coming over the hill, so it was with not much hope I scanned the field. there was nothing.  I headed into Old Down, where a Chiffchaff was singing, and by the crossroads a Blackcap burst into song, but that was about all.

I could hear Buzzards calling above me, and there was a Raven honking somewhere, but I couldn't see either.  Maybe there was a dispute over nest sites, its possible.  I swung by the owl tree, there was no one at home, so I wonder where he had gone.  I walked back to the main path, and hoped maybe for a butterfly in the clearing.  I found one, it was a Comma, a first for the year, but it like the Peacock yesterday looks a little worse for wear.


As I walked out of the wood towards Swelling Hill, a Robin followed me along the path, and a Chiffchaff was catching fly around the style.  The path was now almost dry, which was a pleasant change as I walked out of the wood.

I had hoped for some butterflies by the pond, and on the flower bank, but all I could find was a couple of Bee Flies searching the flowers of the periwinkle.


You can see the proboscis, which if you didn't know what the insect was could be rather off putting.  The pond was very quiet, and I struggled to see any tadpoles or spawn around the edges of the pond. 

From the pond I walked along the road towards Kitwood.  I could hear a Blackcap singing, but struggled to find the bird.  I eventually found it, unusually at the top of the tree, typically they sing from well within the bush or tree.


From Kitwood I took the footpath down to Hawthorn Road.  The owner of the land has partitioned off the fields with electric fences, I am not sure if this is to keep the horses in, or to keep people out.  There are signs up telling walkers where to go, and to follow the path shown on the OS maps.  I am perfectly OK with this, as at least the path is preserved.  It is when the footpaths are obstructed or removed without any legal  notice I am not happy.

I cross Hawthorn Road and started up the hill towards the garden centre.  Again the fields are used for ponies, and they clearly alternate the grazing.  The first field was covered already in dandelions.  Last year because of the rain there was hardly any of these lovely, enigmatic flowers, it is good to see a lovely show this Spring.


The rest of the walk was quiet, even the rooks at the rookery were silent.  As I crossed the field towards Blackberry Lane a single Swallow flew around the field.  The work done here has been dramatic, I can't see the field turning out the wild flowers and insects it has produced over the last few years, but we shall see.

I made my way back to Reads Field, and as I came down the lane a pair of Long-tailed Tits were calling from the bushes, I stood and waited and then right alongside me one popped out onto the branch by me.


As soon as they appeared they were gone and I walked on.  As I came to the bars I saw a male Orange-tip Butterfly flitting over the daisies and dandelions on the grass.  I waited but it never settled, I shall have to wait for another chance to photograph one.  As I left the Orange-tip, a Large White drifted by, but it too just kept on going, as did I home.

I have managed to post two more episodes from the India adventure, go here to see



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