ash tree, Bee-fly, chequered hoverfly, common field speedwell, cowslip, dog mercury, eupeodes latifasciatus, garlic mustard, hart's tongue fern, ivy-leaved speedwell, oak tree, wood anemone, wood sorrel
Recent outings have been ambles rather than rambles as I’m getting back to fit after being laid low for a few weeks by some kind of virus, which also accounts for the recent absence from blogging. I’ve found it most frustrating, especially at this time of year too when there’s so much going on. But I’m keen to catch up and already have a lot to share, so here’s a mostly-pictorial view of Bryn Euryn as I saw it on two beautiful sunny-day ambles in the last week of April.
There are a lot of Ash trees on the Bryn, thankfully all of which appear to be healthy at the present time and they seem to have had an exceptional amount of flowers this year. The flowers start off a dark pinkish-purple but now most of them are over now and the clusters are mostly green.
Some trees have produced so many flowers that now the clusters are green, from a distance it gives the illusion that they are in leaf.
Looking more closely at the tree in the photo above, there are a few leaves already appearing.
Naturally, once I had seen the ash leaves I had then to check out the oaks to guage if we are in for a ‘splash or a soak’ this summer. On the day I took the photo of the ash the oaks were all in tight bud.
But three sunny days later I was amazed to see that leaves had begun to open and not only that, insects had already moved in.
For anyone that has no idea what that last bit was about, a traditional English way of predicting whether the summer will be wet or dry was based on whether the oak or the ash trees opened their leaves first.
“When the oak is before the ash, then you will only get a splash; when the ash is before the oak, then you may expect a soak “
So things appear to be fairly even in the rainfall prediction stakes so far.
It was a perfect spring day, the sun was shining the sky was blue and a host of birds were singing. Along the quarry field edge the vegetation is growing up quickly although there’s not much flowering yet. Celandines are beginning to fade and some dandelions have already set seed.
There was a single male Orange Tip butterfly racing along at their normal break-neck speed and one female Small White that obligingly settled on a bramble.
I was quite surprised to see a good number of hoverflies about, all looking shiny and fresh, so I assume they were newly-emerged.
As I was checking out a splash of colour that turned out to be from this escaped garden plant, I was happy to see this little bee-fly arrive to take its nectar. One of my favourite insects, they look cute and furry but are classified under the general heading of ‘robber-flies’ and their larvae live as parasitoids in the nests of mining bees.
There are two species of pretty blue speedwell flowering here, one is the familiar Common Field Speedwell
and the other is the even tinier-flowered Ivy-leaved Speedwell.
You could easily overlook this rather sprawling untidy plant, and you’d probably pull it out of your garden as a ‘weed’, but as with all speedwells, on closer inspection its tiny flowers are really pretty.
In the woods the tree canopy is still open but there are small new leaves on some trees.
Wood anemones are still flowering
and there was one patch of Wood Sorrel.
Garlic Mustard is beginning to flower- if you never have, try crushing a leaf they really do smell of garlic…
and another plant that doesn’t smell too pleasant, Dog Mercury, is also displaying its spikes of rather insignificant small pale green, petalless flowers.
There are still ivy berries on some plants, although those left are probably still there because they are difficult for their chief consumers, blackbirds and bulky old wood pigeons to reach.
In the open wildflower meadow cowslips are blooming. I love their graceful fragrant flowers and the sight of them always takes me back to childhood when it was still OK to pick bunches of them and we used them as part of the floral decorations for the school May Day celebrations.
Hawthorn is now green with fresh leaves.
Part 2 to follow ….