A steep bank provided a lovely backdrop for the work , with a great show of Bluebells , much further forward that those I have seen in other places . In amongst the Bluebells I found one of the indicators of ancient woodland , Yellow Archangel , a member of the Labiate family , which will be in bloom before too long . There was also Red Campion , well on it's way to flowering . The bottom of the field that we were working in has a small steam running by , and along it's banks were large swathes of Golden Saxifrage , here interspersed with Lesser Celandine . Another blaze of yellow was provided by the Marsh Marigold , a member of the Buttercup family . The damp conditions provides great habitat for Cuckoo Flower or Ladies Smock , a member of the Cabbage family , and sure enough it grows in profusion on both banks . Usually the flowers are lilac coloured like these being fed on by a Bee Fly ( not the Spotted but the more common Bombylius major ) , but white specimens can be found too .
Of course if you have Cuckoo Flower and the sun is out , the hope is that an Orange Tip might be about . Warren beat me by one day with his posting yesterday , but I worked really hard chasing this male up and down the track , and although the sun is bleaching out the colour , it is another first for me this year . Talking of year firsts , on arrival at the site this morning , and before chainsaws and tractors drowned out the birdsong , I had a Willow Warbler singing in the grounds of Ightam Moat , but it didn't hang around when all the noise started .
When I got home this evening , Carol made a cup of tea , and we sat in the sunlounge looking down the garden , when Carol asked , 'what's that bird on the feeder' ? I looked over , and saw a male Redpoll in breeding plumage . It stayed for a while , but was then chased off by Greenfinches . I got the camera and waited in the carport to see if he returned , and he did . He landed on the trellis behind the feeders , and showed off his plumage in the evening sunshine .