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Nature Notes – April 2019

Dark purple buds and green leaves with the words NATURE NOTES, April 2019

The first April news is that the birds are back.

And appropirately the first sighting comes from Twitter:

Mixed group of Sand Martins, Swallows and House Martins around the willow Cathedral @LongrunMeadow while marshalling the junior @longrunparkrun today. Chiffchaffs and Greenfinches singing, woodpeckers drumming. @SomersetWT— GusRobin (@blackdownbirder) March 31, 2019

The willow cathedral, which has recently had its annual tidy up, is a fantastic place to sit and watch these fast flying birds. As the meadow comes into flower and the insect numbers increase, you can expect to see plenty of them.

Living willow structure sitting in a field. Inset detail of column with newly planted branches.
The willow cathedral, newly trimmed and rewoven by Stefan Jennings, with help from volunteers.

So far, the only things in flower apart from dandelions, are around the edges of fields, by hedges or under trees. There are quite a few cuckoo flower plants in flower around trees, but lots are in bud in cathedral field.

Bumblebees are visiting the willow flowers, but also the species growing close to the ground along the river – dandelions, deadnettles and ground ivy.

A little preview of what’s to come – the hawthorn buds are filling the hedges now.

Bright green leaves with tightly closed flower buds.
Keep an eye out for hawthorn blossom opening.

We love to see what you’ve spotted on the meadow. If you want to share something you can tag us (@LongrunMeadow) on Facebook, twitter or Instagram, or post pictures in our Flickr group.

– Hester