Tag Archives: nature notes

Nature Notes from Bourne Wood – May 2019

When the children were small the arrival of visitors caused great excitement, even more so when they brought playmates and presents. The arrival of our summer migrant birds is accompanied by no such noise- they just seem to appear. Whereas the calls of the chaffinch used to hang in the air, they are now swamped by that most melodious of songs- that which belongs to the willow warbler. It is described as a “fluting descent” but this does not do it full justice as the quality of the sound is so pure that it is difficult to put into words. I heard perhaps 10 singing clearly in a half mile stretch of path, announcing their presence to any creature who was listening.  Of course, they may have been just passing through, moving on to areas further north but we had the joy of their songs to enhance our day. Although a small bird we could find them easily, guided by the call. Other small birds make very little sound so are often overlooked. Later during our walk, we saw one such species- the tree-creeper. True to their name, he (or she) crept up a branch seeming to defy gravity as they moved up the underside of that particular branch, before flying off to the base of another tree to try again. I do not know how it did not fall off as it was upside down, presumably the arrangement of their toes helps.  Apparently the tree-creepers living in the Channel Islands are a different species and have shorter toes- I wonder if this makes them more or less likely that they will come a cropper? Watching for wildlife is often unpredictable and seeing a tree-creeper is always a surprise- but a very pleasant one at that.

Flowers have more regular habits though they too can catch one out. We never know when will be the best date to enjoy the bluebells as sometimes it is mid/late April though some years it can be well into May before they form those wonderful blue carpets. They should be quite a picture by the time you read this article as they are gradually coming out into full flower. The greater stitchwort is also on display looking like a delicate daisy. They always make me think of the joys of spring with light green leaves seeming so fresh. This is another good reason to take a stroll in the woods, a decision with which my dog is in full agreement.

Photograph Bob Coyle (Wildlife Trusts)

Nature Notes from Bourne Wood – April 2019

I like Bluebells! Indeed, I should think that nearly everybody likes Bluebells! Of course, not to eat (this domain is reserved for the deer, badgers and squirrels of the wood) but to view – we can feast on the visual beauty of those spectacular blue swathes which epitomise a British deciduous woodland. Although the blue flowers are not yet in blossom- we have this delight to look forward to- the leaves of the plants are clearly evident, carpeting the floor with a vibrant verdant green. If you are able try to get out to admire them in the early morning- the low sunbeams highlight the greens with vivid tones which banish any remaining winter blues and bring forward thoughts of the forthcoming spring.

chiff chaff bird (phylloscopus collybita)
The chiff-chaffs arrived early-there were reports received that they were first calling in the wood on 6th March (several weeks earlier than last year). Photograph RSPB

Of course there are now many other indicators of the arrival of new season. The chiff-chaffs arrived early-there were reports received that they were first calling in the wood on 6th March (several weeks earlier than last year). They are easy to recognise with its distinctive song which they deliver clearly from good vantage points towards the tops of the trees. The name chiff-chaff is onomatopoeic so if you hear a bird calling “chiff-chaff” it is highly likely that it is a chiff-chaff rather than any other species!  The Wood Anemones are spreading across the forest floor, in a rush to flower before being shaded by the developing canopy of the trees overhead. The florets of the wild primroses are a delightful pale yellow whilst there seems to be a snowfall of the blackthorn blossom as it is blown about in little flurries having been released from those spiky twigs. So much to enjoy!