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----------------------------------- May 2003 ----------------------------------


The Cuckooflower or Lady's-smock can be found from April to June in damp meadows, pastures and woodland rides, seemingly timing its emergence with the arrival of the cuckoo. The rose-pink/white flowers stand tall amongst the surrounding vegetation and have long been a symbol of the beginning of spring.

 

Grizzled Skippers fly from April to June and again from July to August but can be easily confused with day flying moths due to their small size. They are mainly confined to southern and central England with a few scattered colonies in Wales. They are identified by the brown and white chequerboard pattern on their wings with an obvious border. Grizzled Skippers were once widely distributed over much of England and Wales but like many of our native butterflies are now sadly in decline.

 

Ladybirds are a familiar garden friend as they feast on the abundant source of aphids on our ornamental plants, but most people know of only one, the 7-spot ladybird. This red and black beetle can be as easily found among garden plants as it can in a toyshop, but there are in fact over twenty species that are considered to be resident in Britain. The Orange Ladybird is one of only three that is not considered carnivorous and feeds mainly on mildew, these bright orange ladybirds have sixteen cream or white spots which combined with their colour makes them very distinctive.
Photographs copyright - Trevor Codlin


----------------------------------- April 2003 ----------------------------------


Hampshire in Bloom - The woodland floor explodes into a rich array of colour as spring flowering plants burst into bloom, filling the air with their delicate perfumes. Bumblebees clumsily move from flower to flower gathering nectar, making the most of the sudden abundance of food. The Wild Primrose (above) is usually one of the first of our native plants to flower. The delicate pale yellow of their petals can be found from January, occasionally a pale pink colour variation can be found offering a subtle difference.

Greater Stitchwort is a slender perennial with weak angled stems, the flowers are white 15-20mm across with five petals divided in half. Where it occurs it can be very common forming extensive patches on woodland rides and along hedgerows. Red Campion is common over much of the British Isles, most often associated with woodlands, shady lanes and hedgerows but can be found almost anywhere. Where Red and White Campion meet they can hybridise with one another, the resulting hybrid is usually taller with pale pink flowers.


Greater Stitchwort.

Red Campion.

Lesser Celandine is a common and familiar plant of roadside verges and woodland rides. The bright yellow flowers close up every night to protect themselves against frost. By day the shiny bright flowers open to soak up the suns rays looking like a carpet of bright stars. Photographs copyright - Trevor Codlin


----------------------------------- March 2003 ----------------------------------


The Eurasian Curlew is a familiar sight to those of you who enjoy a coastal walk in winter, their dull brown plumage looks fairly nondescript from a distance, but up close is delicately patterned. As spring approaches these birds will move inland to breed, the boggy heathlands of the New Forest offering the ideal habitat.

 

With the warmer days of spring quickly approaching, the amount of insect activity is noticeably increased. Moths and butterflies are amongst the first to show and will often give prolonged views as they soak up the warmth of the sun.
The bright orange and black wings of the Comma are immediately identifiable by their ragged outline, which looks more reminiscent of a worn autumn specimen. In the early 1900s these beautiful butterflies were considered very scarce, with very few records being reported each year, nowadays though you would expect to see one in most woodland glades in the south of England.

 

The warmer weather also brings out a greater variety of nocturnal species with new moths emerging every night. The Shoulder Stripe can be found during March and April across much of the county but is always associated with the dog rose. The intricately patterned wings blend in perfectly with its surroundings giving it the perfect camouflage. Photographs copyright - Trevor Codlin


----------------------------------- January - February 2003 ----------------------------------


As the long cold days of winter begin to draw out there is clear evidence that spring is finally on the way, although cold frosty nights and bitterly cold winds from the north are a warning not to put those winter warmers away just yet. Nature however is in a hurry to get things going and often the first frogs spawn can appear from late January. The arrival of frogs on their breeding grounds will vary dramatically across the country, with those in the south-west appearing long before their eastern counterparts. It was always thought that this timing was due somehow to the length of each day but in fact recent research has shown that it is directly linked to the cumulative number of warm days between December and February.

 

Primroses are one of the best-loved and most familiar of all our wild flowers appearing from early February or sometimes even earlier in mild winters. Their beautiful flowers are distinctive with pale yellow petals and dark yellow centres, their beauty accentuated by their drab winter surroundings. The name derives from the Latin prima rosa, which means first rose, and they are commonly found across most of the county.

 

Another little gem to emerge from the forest floor and brighten up the early months of the year is the Snowdrop, the gorgeous pure white flowers have three inner petals with green-patterned tips. There has always been some debate as to whether this plant was introduced into the country as it is usually associated with human settlements, but nothing can take away the enjoyment it gives whatever its' origins. Photographs copyright - Trevor Codlin

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All Photographs Copyright Trevor Codlin 2002 - 2003