Queens Award for Voluntary Service

April Nature Notes

After the unusually cold weather in March, we are still waiting for its wildlife to appear! A solitary Brimstone butterfly was spotted in the sunshine last Saturday morning. The few days of relatively warmer weather have encouraged the appearance of some tentative leaf growth. So optimistically, here are a few things that may be seen in the coming weeks:

Spring Flowers and Blossom

The delicate white flowered wood anemone and the first blossom of the year, the buckthorn and blackthorn should be making an appearance this month. The celendines are now beginning to appear.

Summer Visitors

As you will see from our blog entries the summer migrants are beginning to arrive. For many people the first swallows are signs of summer to come. As you enjoy their aerobatics as they swoop across the meadows, it is sad to think that only 1 in 4 of their chicks will make the journey to S Africa and back again for next year.

Already here too is one of the first arrivals, the little chiff chaff having made its long journey from West Africa. It is often to be seen and heard in a morning or evening in the tree tops at the north end of the Orchard. And yes, its very recognisable call is a repeated ‘chiff chaff’! For me, the melodic down the scale song of the willow warbler heralds the arrival of spring as it sits at the top of one of the tall trees.


Frogs, toads and newts are coming out from their winter inactivity and searching for suitable ponds in which to lay their eggs. Young frogs and toads are called tadpoles. Of course you know that but did you know that baby newts are called newtlets!