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Waldridge Wanderings - Mid April 2021

My wanderings this week showed how quickly spring rushes through. Last week the Blackthorn was just starting to flower, now the hedgerows are awash with white. It's cousin, Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) has also started to come into flower in the woods, together with my first Ramsons (Allium ursinum). More flowers out in abundance include that wonderful harbinger of spring the Cowslip (Primula veris). Hawthorn will be out soon looking at tit's flower buds.


Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)


Cowslip (Primula veris)


Ramsons (Allium ursinum).


Bird spring migration is now beginning to pick up pace with the Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps now settled into territories in many spots and Willow Warblers, Swallows and other species begining to arrive in numbers.



Blackcap


The partial-resident birds such as Meadow Pipits and Linnets are also starting to arrive back

Linnet


Whilst on my wandering I heard a bird singing in an already heavy leafed Apple tree which took me ages to get a glimpse of. It was a finch-like song and I knew I knew what it was but just couldn't place it. It certainly wasn't any of the normal finches around here. Then I saw it and of course the penny dropped, it was a male Siskin! Certainly not it's usual habitat but there has been a bit of a passafe though Waldridge the past few weeks. About 20 metres futher along I looked up to see a small flock of birds feeding inthe birches .... a group of Siskins. It looked like that male found what was the best spot to tell the others how good a singer he was.



Siskin


Some of the hedges around here contain a decent population of Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) and it seems it's been a good year for flowering as there are now masses of it's winged seed to be found. I spent a good while checking some patches where I know White-letter Hairstreak are looking for eggs or perhaps a very early caterpillar, No joy but I have found both here in the past.


Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra)


Two more fires on the fell this week, it looks like an arsonist is about so I'm not hopeful for the fell's population of Green Hairstreak. When I moved here 20-odd years ago I knew of 9 small colonies on the fell, 2 years ago only 1 and I didnt see any here last year. I fear they may now have followed the Small-bordered Fritillary here and bcome extinct. We'll see.


As people seem to be spending more time in their gardens, more garden 'rubbish' is getting dumped in the hedges, including plants of soil contains seeds, bulbs etc. One species that I have noticed last and this year in many places is Grape-hyacinth, not the native plant of the East Anglican brecklands but Muscari armeniacum (Garden Grape-hyacinth).


Garden Grape-hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)


Down by the burn there had been a mass emergance of Caddis-fly, they were everywhere. The species involved was Brachycentrus subnubilus known by fisherman as the Grannom or Greentail The latter as the female carries a ball of green eggs around with her before laying them under water. It is one of the earliest to appear.



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