Monday, 5 April 2010

If you go down to the woods today.....

Well you may not see any Teddy Bears picnicing, but there are plenty of surprises to be found if you look hard enough. Spring may be a little slow this year but it is certainly gaining pace offering plenty of opportunities to to find little gems hidden in the remnants of winter. The fantastically named Goat Willow - (Salix caprea), known to us better perhaps as Pussy Willow is beginning to flower in earnest.
Blackthorn  - (Prunus spinosa) blossom buds are coating the hedgrows which will soon burst forth with there delicate white flowers covering the tree. Remember, blackthorn flowers before producing leaves and Hawthorn - (Crataegus monogyna) flowers after producing leaves. Bumblebees are busy taking there first feeds after winter and searching for new accommadation. Hazel - (Corylus avellana) trees are bursting forth into leaf, there understorey status requiring them to leaf before the larger hardwoods who will later shade them from much of the energy providing rays of sun.
Then for my first exciting spot, the first rosettes of Early Purple Orchid - (Orchis mascula)  leaves in a most unexpected site but with of 75 of them being found they should provide a fantastic display in a few weeks time. This is made even more exciting as they are situated in amongst a thriving Bluebell - (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) community that look likely to flower simultaneously a fine opportunity for my camera and I!
With a little more foraging, particuarly amongst the moss - (Homalothecium sericeum) coverded trunks and logs I came across little glimpses of scarlet colour contrasting against the rich green of the moss, a little further delving at low level brought about the discovery of a fungi - I know fungi in April, whatever next!. They are in fact Scarlet Elfcups - (Sarcoscypha austriaca) delicate little fungi that stand out with their bright colour.
It is also possible to find in a couple of my favourite locations at this time of year the Wood Anemone - (Anemone nemorosa). It is said that they are a sign of ancient woodland as they rarely germinate from seed in the UK and so spread at a mere 2 metres per 100 years, I can honestly say that the patches I have found have not changed much in size over the last 5 years so perhaps they are right!

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