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Thursday, April 9, 2015

A walk in the lanes

Since Easter weekend the weather has been glorious with warm sunny days. The birds are singing, the wildflowers are brightening up the country lanes and butterflies have been on the wing.

On a walk around Scrapton there were a few linnets passing through and one alighted on the top of a sapling in a hedge which was yet to sprout its leaves.
Linnet

This one is a female as it is lacking the pink on its front and forehead of the male. A bird of mainly farmland which is in serious decline, with over 50% fewer than 40 years ago so it is always nice to see one here.

Another noticeable bird, identified largely by its song, were the numerous chiffchaffs, making their distinctive sounding "chiffchaff call, often likened to a knife being sharpened. Whilst some overwinter in the milder south west, most are returning from their winter sites in the Mediterranean and West Africa and will gradually spread throughout the UK for the breeding season.



Chiffchaff

One of the brightest flowers in the hedgerow at the moment are the Lesser celandine. They may not be a favourite of the gardener, as they spread rapidly in the borders, but along the verges in the lanes they are a valuable food source to early flying insects and butterflies and when the sun shines they open their petals and I think they are really beautiful.

Proving that they really are a useful food source, a Comma butterfly was flitting from one flower to another in the warm sunshine taking its fill of nectar as it went.
Comma butterfly feeding on Celandine flowers



(Apologies for the quality of the Comma pictures, but it just wouldn't stay still for more than a second or two!)