A natural history of the Hedgerows and Gardens in Clewers Lane, Waltham Chase.
Words and pictures by Gordon Larcombe
The hedgerow and verges are now filled with flowers and bird song. The bullace flowers appeared early in the month and will soon have set, to be replaced by the hawthorn blossom:
BULLACE BLOSSOM, CLEWERS LANE
The leaves are now beginning to appear on the trees and bushes, and it will become harder to spot our song birds. However, our native finches are quite colourful at this time of year and the males don’t have much in the way of camouflage:
MALE CHAFFINCH, CLEWERS LANE
The song of the chaffinch is very mellifluous; the notes tumble over one another.
MALE BULLFINCH, CLEWERS LANE
The song of the bullfinch is a monotonous, one note call.
MALE GREENFINCH, CLEWERS LANE
The greenfinch has many songs, ranging from a sound like a rusty gate swinging on its hinges to very sweet melodies.
MALE GOLDFINCH, CLEWERS LANE
The goldfinch also has a broad repertoire, all delivered in a very light, tinkling sound. The birds often sing whilst in flight.
All the birds are busy producing their offspring and taking care of them until they have successfully fledged and become more or less self – sufficient.
MALE BLACKBIRD GATHERING FOOD FOR ITS YOUNG, CLEWERS LANE
This fledgling blackbird has left the nest a few days early and is sitting quietly in a bush, waiting for its parent birds to deliver more food:
FLEDGLING BLACKBIRD, CLEWERS LANE
This young robin is more advanced than the blackbird and is a fully fledged juvenile, although it will be a few months before the breast turns the familiar red of the adult robin:
JUVENILE ROBIN, CLEWERS LANE
The Magpie is one of the reasons why it is a risky business being an egg or a young bird. In order to provide food for its own young, the magpie will take eggs and young birds from other’s nests and it will also attack fledglings after they have left the nest. Here is a picture of one as it searches through the hedgerow on the lookout for its next meal:
MAGPIE, CLEWERS LANE
Hedgehogs have emerged from hibernation to leave their calling cards on the verges and lawns, and the bats have also awoken to take to the air on warm April evenings – a sure sign that summer can’t be far away!
Many butterflies and moths have also been about, feeding on the nectar of the wild flowers along the lane, or just sunning themselves in the spring sunshine:
SPECKLED WOOD, CLEWERS LANE
PEACOCK BUTTERFLY, CLEWERS LANE
BRIMSTONE BUTTERFLY ON LUNGWORT, CLEWERS LANE.
This small, day- flying moth put in an appearance early in April:
GARDEN CARPET MOTH, CLEWERS LANE
Once again, April has brought with it some delightful dawn skies, so here is a snapshot of the eastward sky on 12th April:
DAWN SKY, APRIL 12, CLEWERS LANE