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April 2010

The most obvious flowers in the woodlands are Wood Sorrel, Lesser Celandine and Dog violets with a good show of Primroses along the railway embankments. Wood sorrel has clover shaped foliage which folds up in late afternoon; the solitary flowers emerge direct from the creeping roots and have white petals with violet veins. Lesser celandine flowers light up the undergrowth with their glossy golden sheen and although Dog violets lack the delicious scent of Sweet violets their presence never fails to lift the spirits after the end of the winter gloom.A few bluebells are starting to come into flower but it will be a couple of weeks before they are at their peak. The cold winter will have suited bluebells so it promises to be a spectacular flowering this spring.

In the bird world the newly arrived migrants such as Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow warbler are singing well and on April 17th I heard my first Cuckoo at Kelling which is the earliest I have heard this harbinger of spring for a number of years. Cuckoos have dramatically declined in numbers nationally so this may unfortunately be one of the last years we get to hear their familiar call. They share the same claim as the Chiffchaff in that they are among a few birds that are named after their song.

The warm weather has suited butterflies and species that have overwintered as adults have been plentiful especially, Peacock, Small tortoiseshell and Commas. On April 18th I saw my first newly emerged Orange tip and I am hoping that butterflies will have another good season this year after disastrous seasons in 2007 and 2008.

Last year was good for many species and the cold winter will have done them no harm so hopefully the promising start will continue. Pipistrelle bats have been out foraging and I am looking forward to leading bat walks once again from June onwards. 

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What our guests are saying:

Kelling Heath was fantastic, incredibly peaceful but there was still so much to do, the children loved it.

Mara Lee: Past Editor, Practical Parenting