Take a deep breath, breath deeply, it’s summertime glorious summertime with all the scents and sounds that summer brings.
While contemplating what kind of a summer we might have birds are already sitting on eggs or even feeding chicks. Snowdrops have been and gone, daffodils are passing their peak and a myriad of beautiful wild flowers are still waiting their turn in the annual cycle of botanical life.
Imagine yourself as a wild flower, when would you choose to reach for the sky, January or June? It was just an idle thought on my part but when we consider such things in human terms, who would want to be a snowdrop or ‘snow piercer’ as they are sometimes known? No, I will take May or June thank you kindly.
May is a really lovely time to take a walk in your favourite woodland. Even the woods seem to be inhaling that first deep breath as the ground warms up, the sunlight flickers through those fresh new leaves and colours spring up everywhere. Everybody’s favourite must surely be the bluebell, that carpet of blue under the trees is irresistible to capture with our cameras or to simply stop and stare and enjoy just for the love of it. I always feel a bit guilty when negotiating my way through the bluebells but there’s usually a convenient track to be found laid down by the creatures of the night such as badgers, foxes and deer.
TRACKS TRIALS AND SIGNS
Follow these tracks to the badger’s set, it is usually in a bank side and you will be amazed when you see the huge piles of soil that they have dug out, it must weigh many tons. No point is sitting around waiting for them though, they are all deep underground fast asleep in their cosy beds of hay. It is just nice to look at their hamlets and imagine what they look like down there. I have left night cameras at badgers sets and they get plenty of other visitors such as foxes rabbits and even hares. All this is going on while we are tucked up in ‘our dens’. As I turned a corner at the far end of the wood I came across a wonderful splash of colour lit up by a shaft of sunlight.
Red campion is a common wild flower but by golly it certainly adds additional vibrance to so many different landscapes. It towers over the bluebells, it jumps out from under the hedgerow and in June July when I visit Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire it carves a wonderful crimson line all along the edge of the white cliffs contrasting beautifully with the darker grass and the blue sea, a lovely sight.
WHERE ARE OUR BLUEBELL WOODS?
According to the Woodland Trust Tortoiseshell Wood and Meadows has carpets of bluebell and dog’s mercury in Spring. It is described as Traditional managed woodland. It is situated near Stamford,. Grid ref: SK962199
Dole Wood may well be our best and biggest bluebell wood found in South Kesteven, Bourne, Lincolnshire
Grid ref: TF092161
Rigsby Wood near Alford is also worth visiting.
Grid ref: TF424764
You will have heard of the Spanish bluebell, an introduced species here in the UK and you may wonder what the difference is between the two.
Well the Spanish plant grows erect and the blooms are usually on one side of the stem whereas our native ‘coy’ bluebell submits to gravity with a delicate bend to the end of the stem allowing the bells to hang nicely. Of course, there are many more bluebell woods in Lincolnshire such as Bradley woods near Grimsby and then we all have a our ‘secret woods’ which we like to think of as our special quiet places, and why not, that’s how it should be.
Just before this month came to a close I got a phone call from a birding friend; "there's a Black Necked Grebe at the Fitties Pools" (that's near the Humber Mouth Yacht Club). Now at this time of the year that bird was likely to be in splendid full summer breeding plumage and should be looking very special indeed and so it proved to be.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is going to be my 'bird of the year' and it's only April! It is not likely to stay long as it is really a bird of eastern Europe but while it is here I am going to enjoy it.
Well it’s time I loaded up my camera gear and headed out again, the only problem is where next. So much to see, so many places to go. I must make my annual pilgrimage to the bluebell wood but what about that sand martin quarry and I think those kingfishers are nesting...
See you next month then we’ll both know where I have been!
Over 86,300 votes were cast in the Photocrowd wildlife contest, and we are thrilled to announce the winners:
And our Expert Judge Dave Stevenson picked an action-packed image of playful grebes by Colin Smale as his winner.
Our warmest congratulations to the winner.
The Photocrowd Team