Nature is blooming: the trees are covered in blossom and the verges and meadows bright with buttercups and cow parsley. May began windy and quite wet and it has remained cool after a cool dry April and it seems to me that the spring is taking its time this year. The farmers must be delighted as their crops are growing brilliantly and the startling yellow of rape is everywhere. In the woods, the bluebells are out and looking glorious under the lovely pale green Beech tree canopy. There is a particularly lovely area for bluebells near us in the Chilterns (and there are many to choose from) in the woods by the A40 at the top of the hill north of Stokenchurch (Aston Woods).

Aston Wood Bluebells 2

Somehow I keep feeling that I ought to be seeing more butterflies and dragonflies, but they are appearing now – the odd common blue around our village, and orange tips along the verges. Wednesday was warm and I ran back from Long Crendon (took car for M.o.T) and saw lots of Peacock butterflies, some whites, orange tips, a couple of small tortoiseshells and brimstones.

Orange Tip spread 01 Peacock on blossom 02

I’m building image libraries of butterflies, dragonflies and British orchids, which is why I notice these things, and May is my busiest time for wildlife photography. This year, the orchids are a bit later than recent years, but yesterday I went to Bernwood Meadows, which is an undisturbed ancient flower meadow and famous for Green Winged Orchids. It is also meant to be great for rare harestreak butterflies, but all I saw yesterday were a couple of orange tips.


Green Winged Orchid

Green Winged Orchid pink variety Green Winged Orchids Bernwood 4

This weekend we are doing our Cuddington Vertebrate Watch for the 5th year where volunteers count the birds, mammals etc that appear in their gardens or another location during one hour. People tell me that the number of birds they see is down this year, but we’ll see. There have certainly been no cuckoos this year, when they used to be common, and swallows have been few in number.

It is a great blessing that we have these nature reserves, thanks to the Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, Woodland Trust and so on, whilst there is so much pressure to build on our open countryside. Meanwhile, in London, whole blocks of new flats are almost empty because they’ve been sold to Chinese investors: a situation that isn’t likely to change whilst the Tories are in charge. I think it’s madness: people need houses, there are houses, so put them together.


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