Thursday, 29 April 2010

First

Frederick Delius wrote the tone poem 'On Hearing The First Cuckoo of Spring' and, Malcolm and I indeed heard our first Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) this morning. Arriving from their African wintering grounds, these birds are fast becoming a rare sight in Britain. They have been given the 'Red List' status by the RSPB as their numbers have crashed over the last 25 years. Cuckoos don't stay long in Britain, each Summer, departing again for Africa in July or August, so make the most of them when you see - or hear - them.
At last, the Bluebells have started to open in large enough numbers to provide a beautiful, blue carpet in the woods around these parts.
Common Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are a great favourite in the British countryside and indeed, Britain is a globally important site for this species. This was recognised by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 giving them protection and strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of the Act making any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence.
At last also, the Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) are starting to open their strange flower spikes. No doubt we shall see more of them at a later date.
A small beauty to end with today. The Orange-Tip Butterflies (Anthocharis cardamines) are also starting to appear, flitting around the flowers. They are especially fond of the Lady's Smock flowers I mentioned the other day, although this individual seemed more interested in the Dandelions.
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