Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Brush Hill bluebells

I can't quite believe what a difference a couple of weeks and some sunshine can make to a wood. Brush Hill was so different when we visited this afternoon. It felt like somebody had been up there throwing paint around, there was so much colour and life. Patches of wood anemones looked like twinkling stars in the dappled sunlight, glossy yellow celandines carpeted the edge of the woodland and delicate patches of purple violets were scattered throughout. Best of all we found the first bluebells flowering - we had to look quite hard to find them, but they're there and an exciting hint at the spectacle that's just around the corner.

Wood anemones

Wood anemone

Our snail is in a sea of celandines

I did my best to wear the kids out by running them up and down the hills and helping them climb trees.

Lots of butterflies were out in the sunshine: brimstones, peacocks and small tortoiseshells.

Peacock butterfly
We noticed lots of loose grains of soil on top of some of the yellow meadow ant hills. I brushed a little bit aside to get a better look and there they all were, revamping their nest for the spring and doing their ant thing. You don't often see them, except for when the winged ants all fly around for a couple of nights in the summer, as they are usually underground and the ant hills are covered in grass and plants, so this was a rare treat.

The grains of soil on top of the ant hill
We decided to walk across the road to Whiteleaf Hill and have a look at the view. It was nice to sit in the sunshine just above the top of the cross, but Little Brother couldn't quite resist wriggling down into the cross itself.

Then Bug Mad Girl told us about a special tree that looks like a ring of separate trees, but is apparently a single tree. Something got in the way when it was growing, making it split into different parts, forming this ring of tree trunks. Her school is at the bottom of the hill and they walk up there a few times each year. She was told about the tree on one of those walks.

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