TrackATree week 5 – I take time to smell the wildflowers

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been a week since my 5th visit! Thought it might be good to get this down before heading out again later today (hoping the rain will hold off this time:).

You might recall that last Wednesday was a complete wash out – and I wash wishing yet again that I had shifted my census day to Tuesday with its glorious sunshine. I went out on gloomish Thursday instead.

The places seemed full of sedate contentment, compared with the last few weeks vocal and floral frenzy. Or perhaps afternoons are simply the quieter time of the day in the woods…

STOP 1. Magus Muir

Here for the Flickr set

There was a great deal of unfurling going on which gave a touch of ferny magic to the undergrowth, with a haze of the birch foliage suspended overhead. My birch was catching up with its neighbours, swaying its full leafy head over the soggy flashes of wood sorrel flowers. Primroses were definitely on their way out.

I saw another intriguing feathered creature at the car park – my RSPB Complete Birds of UK and Europe assures me that it was a Blackcap of the warblers and allies ilk. A tad disturbed with this new interest of mine …God forbid I turn into a regular twitcher! (not that there is anything wrong with these creatures – some of my best friends…;)

Oh – and I would like to share the delightful programme I was listening to on the way in – Open Country episode on the English biodiversity hotspot – the Avon Gorge near Bristol (still available on listen again in the UK, just). Particularly enjoyed hearing from “botanist and rock climber Libby Houston” about her 30 years of adventures exploring biodiversity on this scrap of a reserve on the edge of the urban world. Just shows you that wilderness and rarity can lurk in most innocuous of suburban contexts – no need for exotic treks in the Amazon jungle! Although at the same time – saddening how the few remainders of these gems have been drowning in the agricultural landscapes.

STOP 2. Craighall Den


Here for the Flickr set.

At Craighall Den the grey wagtail pair said their fleeting hellos:)

I enjoyed discovering some quieter arrivals against the fading splendour of the white anemone carpets and the arrival of the bluebell ones – water avens (I think I previously thought they were wood avens but the flowers were definitely reddish and not yellow!), dog’s mercury, wild strawberry, tuberous comfrey and a mystery buttercup.

The lush leaves of comfrey and dog’s mercury were now taking over the understorey under my oak – towering over the remainder of the anemones. I examined the crown of the oak closely – there was definitely budburst this time! On the way back I had a second look from another angle – just in case…and I had a delightful surprise! The first leaves were out!!! Had a little jig (hopefully mostly internal;). At the very topmost branches – translucent green butterflies emerging from the winter slumber. Surprisingly delicate, given the robust leathery creatures they turn to later in the season…

Hazel was still persisting with a few leaf buds at the tips of their little leaf processions and sycamore showered me cheekily with its leaf scales…

There – another delightful afternoon woodspotting:) Finished with a quiet sit down and a cuppa.

Sycamore leaf scale showers:)

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