Friday, 26 February 2016

Yoesden Primroses

Yoesden is stunning at any time of the year, even a grey day in February. It doesn't matter how many times I visit, I always love the feeling when I walk through the trees and step out onto the top corner of the chalk grassland slope. The view is quite literally breathtaking!

I was hoping to see primroses in flower. I'd seen a couple of flowers there at the end of December, so I was fairly sure there would be flowers today, but you never quite know what you'll see. I wasn't disappointed, as the pretty pale yellow flowers were lining the edge of the slope.

They're such pretty flowers and such an early sign of spring. In fact their name comes from prima rosa in Latin, meaning first rose, as they're some of the first spring flowers to bloom.

Primroses have a lot of folklore attached to them and it's said that they give you the ability to see fairies. I didn't see any today though!

I love the bushes growing along the back of the bank as they're covered in different types of lichen. They look like they've been decorated with splashes of yellow, green and grey.

Lichen is strange stuff. It may look like a plant or a moss, but it's neither. It's an organism that comes from an algae and fungus living together in a symbiotic relationship. Lichens don't have roots to absorb water and nutrients, but like plants they use photosynthesis to produce their own food. The fungus benefits from the relationship because the algae produces nutrients. The algae benefits because the fungus protect it from the environment and usually provide it with an anchor.
Lichen with a view

I sat for a while on one of the yellow meadow ants nests and enjoyed the sights and sounds. I sat in the same place last April and watched the green hairstreak butterflies (you can see the blog post here). I'm looking forward to doing the same again in a couple of months time, when the bank will have completely changed again.

As I was on my way home, a farmer was ploughing a field. I stopped to watch for a while as the field was full of birds, mostly gulls, quite a lot of crows and a few red kites. They were obviously making the most of the freshly turned soil. There was not much peace and harmony amongst the birds though as the crows and kites were mobbing the gulls, sending great waves of them up into the sky. Then the crows and kites were chasing each other around in the air. It was a real treat to watch!

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