What a beautiful May, one of the best I can remember, so many warm, dry days made it especially lovely to be out and about watching the changes that happen so very quickly at this time of year. After the primroses, the next of the floral displays was a riot of bluebells carpeting the woodland floor. We took advantage of the display to run a children’s art workshop, where we wandered, sketched, and then sought to capture their beauty in felted wool pictures. The children were fantastic company, supremely talented and totally absorbed, and our talented artist leader Clare Russell, was wonderful as ever. One eight year old boy was reluctant to begin sketching – ‘How will I know if I’ve done it right?’ he asked me. I managed to convince him that there were no rights or wrongs with art and he got on down to it.
As the bluebells began to fade, the Blackthorns and then the Cherry trees came into flower, most of the other trees came into leaf and, as the Blackthorn has moved from flower to leaf, the Hawthorn flowers have come out. I’ve found some new trees, which I’ve failed to identify by their blossom – my tree guide is of little help – so I will be watching carefully for some kind of fruit to help me identify it. I will have to watch very carefully, this place is teaming with others watching out for signs of fruit, determined to get in there first.
After the reported deaths in my last blog, there have been plenty of successful new arrivals on the animal front too this spring. Angus and Grace heard what they thought was Seb -who’d disappeared into the undergrowth – making weird animal noises on a recent walk (something to which he is prone). It turned out to be Bambi himself, a leggy roe fawn stumbling through the brashings, mewling for its mother. He stopped crying when he spotted G & A, who left him alone shortly afterwards to allow him to be retrieved by his mother. On another day, Angus caught in the open what he thought was a maimed hen pheasant. As he approached, she fluffed up, hissed and a little chick peered out from under her feathers. Her feathers looked like they were covering a good few more. Angus was especially pleased to see her after discovering an abandoned nest a few weeks ago. The pond is full to bursting with tadpoles and the children fished out a nymph the other day – a pretty scary looking individual – though we’re unsure if he’s planning on becoming a dragonfly this spring as they apparently spend up to four years in the water.
So we move into June, with a drop in the temperature and Gales forecast this week. With the new leaves and everything unfurled there is at least plenty of cover for those young animals. Our small camp clearings are getting cushiony with new grass, and if you fancy camping, sheltering beheath the woodland canopy may be the best place for you too! We are planning to camp this weekend – the weather is set to have improved by then – and we are looking forward to some more wild encounters.