Thursday 23 April 2020

Lockdown Day 31 - Wild Flowers and Warblers

On what seems to be one of the endless sunny days this April, I took a cycle ride out towards Bolton Percy this morning with the aim of taking some pictures and trying to identify some of the wild flowers in the verges.

About half way along the lane you come to a long section of bluebells by the roadside and in amongst them is Greater Stichwort (Stellaria holostea). These flowers look like they have ten petals but they are in fact five but the divides in the petals do go quite far down.

Here is a closer look at the plant. In traditional folk medicine it was said to alleviate a stitch in one's side, hence the name! They flower from April to June.

On the opposite side of the road to the Bluebells is a long patch of Ramsons or Wild Garlic. (Allium ursinium). The leaves are edible, as are the flowers. I haven't yet tried the leaves but have sprinkled a few flowers into dishes. There are quite a number of places, usually around tracts of ancient woodland, near where I live that have large areas of bluebells and wild garlic and wood anemones.

On the way home I spotted these pretty flowers at a road junction, against a wall with some white dead nettles.

These are Green Alkanet or known as Evergreen Bugloss (Pentaglottis sempervirens) These are an introduced species to the British Isles though have long since become widespread.

Also on my ride were quite a few warblers singing. The Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps have been around for a while now, but in the past few days the Willow Warblers have arrived and several have set up territories along the road in copses and trees. At the moment it is fairly easy to spot warblers as there is not too much growth on trees and bushes but even so they have a tendency to be singing from the opposite site to the road and it is only when they move you can see them. That being said, one Willow Warbler was quite showy this morning and I watched it for a couple of minutes hopping around and singing from a small tree by the road. I also noticed that one Chiffchaff was giving a "hoo-ee" call for a while - normally you just get the monotonous chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff. I also saw two Wheatears again in the same field as the other day and there were plenty of Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Great Tits all singing and calling as well as two Skylarks singing high above fields.

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