Friday, 20 February 2009

Friday 20th. February 2009

On and off this week , it has really felt as if Spring has arrived , well almost . Seeing as the Hedgelaying finished a bit earlier than anticipated , I set off for an area of woodland in Biggin Hill , tucked away amongst farmland and horse paddocks , to see what evidence , if any , of that long awaited Spring .
Birdwise the walk was quiet , apart from a flock of Woodpigeon , numbering I would estimate in excess of 500 , on what looked like a field of Winter cereal . A small flock of Chaffinches was seen in one of the ploughed fields , Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen and the latter heard drumming . Mixed Corvid flocks were in many of the horse paddocks , and most hedgerows held a mixture of Tits . I heard , but did not see a couple of Bullfinches , and saw a few Greenfinches and Goldfinches .
When I arrived at the woodland , which is absolutely superb for Bluebells , I started looking for the evidence , The first found were those mentioned Bluebells , well above ground level .
In the same area , Primroses-Primula vulgaris .A bit further along the track , Lords and Ladies-Arum maculatum .And of course the very common Dog's Mercury-Mercurialis perennis , already in bud .
In the hedgerows , most of the Hazel catkins are opening , and now is the time to easily find those female flowers , fully open to be polinated from the male catkins .
The Alder catkins are fully open as well , and still carries last years cones , mini supermarkets for the likes of Siskins . Incidentally , the Alder is the only European broad leaved tree to produce cones .
And it looks as if next Winter's berries should be good , given the number of flower buds ready to burst open on the Holly .
And finally , the main purpose of the visit , to see if the Early Purple Orchids were showing , and they didn't let me down , even though they are not meant to be in flower until late April . I found 14 plants , some only just pushing through the leaf litter , so there could well be more . I think I will be re-visiting before the end of March ..
As I walked back to the car , I passed a Robin in the hedge , singing his heart out , and reminded me of Warren's posting yesterday . As I looked back , he didn't move , and carried on singing in the sunshine . No doubt , trying to outsing Warren's bird .

If a further pointer is needed , a Lesser Whitethroat was reported in Hove this morning . Back under the Downs at Dorking hedgelaying tomorrow , Buzzards ?


Warren Baker said...

Well you found plenty of sighs of spring greenie! Just find you own Robins now!!

Ken said...

Whats this, a private war between you and Warren,over the Robins. HaHa. Nice to see the diferent variation of plants about. Looking forward to seeing them in flower. I am not really into flora, but wild ones are always lovely to see.Good luck with the Buzzards tomorrow.

Dave Jordan said...

Hi Greenie
Thanks for the nice comment on my blog.
You certainly have seen more evidence of spring than I have, well done.
Love the snake.
Dave J