Friday, April 06, 2018
The weather has now turned warmer - up to 15 degrees C today. Over the past week a wood mouse has been sharing some barley flakes put out for the birds. Here it looks a bit on the wet side and seems to have the tip of its tail missing, but having survived the worst of the winter it might now have a chance.
In contrast to the damp mouse, today a comma butterfly sunned itself on the concrete path. Almost the first butterfly of the year.
The early dog violets (Viola reichenbachiana) are starting to come out in various places in the garden and woods. They flower earlier than common dog violets (V. riviniana) and are a somewhat redder shade of mauve which is distinctive when one is familiar with both species. The flowers also have a dark spur at the rear rather than the paler one of the common dog violet.
The clay pit in Killingan Wood is very attractive just now with many patches of wood anemones but very few bluebells. The hornbeams, which are the dominant trees in most of the wood and the oaks, maples and other species tend to grow on the clay sides of the pit whereas the central sections have mainly been colonised by ash.
In one out of the way corner I found a colony of about 25 early purple orchids (Orchis mascula), a species that seems to do particularly well in this wood. I shall return when the flowers are out.