A natural history of the Hedgerows and Gardens in Clewers Lane, Waltham Chase.
Words and pictures by Gordon Larcombe
On the whole, February was reasonably mild with one or two bright sunny days and one or two frosty nights. On one particularly sunny day I spotted a Comma butterfly at rest looking for all the world like just another dead leaf – until it opened its wings to absorb the heat from the sun. Commas usually survive our winter months by hibernating in a dark corner and they will temporarily emerge if the temperature is especially warm:
COMMA BUTTERFLY WITH WINGS FOLDED, CLEWERS LANE
COMMA BUTTERFLY WITH WINGS OPEN, CLEWERS LANE
The emergence of the Comma means that, over the past twelve months, Butterflies have been spotted on the wing in all months bar January.
Quite a few birds have been heard but not seen. The plaintiff tweets of Bullfinches and the drumming sound of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers can be heard daily and the surprisingly loud song of the tiny Wren frequently fills the air. The Blackcap is a small, shy, grey and white warbler that is a visitor to our shores. It sometimes overwinters if the winter is mild. The male has a nice song – as delicate as a Dunnock’s song and as tuneful as a Robin’s song. The sexes are distinguished by the colour of the cap – the male has a black cap whereas the female has a chestnut cap. Despite the poor quality of this snapshot of a male, the black cap can be seen:
MALE BLACKCAP, CLEWERS LANE
The trees and shrubs along the lane are still in bud with no sign of leaves bursting through; however, on the verges, Lesser Celandines are in flower along with Snowdrops and the occasional Daffodil:
SNOWDROPS ON THE VERGES, CLEWERS LANE
DAFFODILS ON THE VERGES, CLEWERS LANE