A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Snakes Head Fritillary

Late April in the Thames water meadows near Cricklade is the time to see a spectacular display of snake's head fritillary  which fill the fields for a few weeks.This plant is an endangered species in the wild but flowers profusely in these fields. The bulbs like waterlogged conditions in the winter and the Thames floods here so conditions are ideal.



Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Woodland Spring Flowers

 Spring is here and the woodland floor is green as plants make the most of the sunlight before leaves emerge on the trees and shade the light.
One of the first is the wood anemone which is blooming profusely at the moment and  a few early bluebells can also be spotted.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Jackdaws

 Jackdaws nest in rock crevices and small caves but also house chimneys where they drop twigs down the pot so that they lodge and form the base of a nest. In modern times many chimneys are connected to enclosed stoves via a flue pipe and birds looking for a nest site are apt to fall down and become trapped in the stove.
This bird was fortunate in that I was able to open the stove and release it apparently unharmed but many are not so lucky.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cuckoo Flower



Cuckoo  Flower or Lady's Smock is now suddenly in flower in hedgerows and banks.
Its arrival in early April coincides with the arrival of the Cuckoo whose song marks the arrival of spring.
The sound of the Cuckoo is becoming increasingly rare in our area as numbers have declined in recent years.



Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Silhouette in the sunset

After another stormy day the winds died down and the sunset shows off the beautiful shape of this old oak tree near home.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Cotswold Sheep

Cotswold sheep are a very old breed of sheep which is good for wool and meat production. They are thought by some to have been in this area when or even before the Romans arrived.
The word "Cotswold" may have come from the sheep cotes or folds which ancient farmers built on the windswept hills or wolds in the area and so it is probably the sheep that gave the Cotswolds it's name.
So it is nice to see that our local farmer still has some Cotswold sheep. The black lamb belongs to another ewe so don't be fooled!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot is a member of the sunflower family and at this time of year when the sun shines as it has recently, it seems obvious as the flowers all stand up and look towards the sun. On dull days the little flowers close up and you can see the hairy stems.
Another feature of the Coltsfoot is that the flowers come first and as they go over then the leaves appear.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring Equinox and Solar Eclipse

Today is the Spring Equinox when days start to become longer than nights.
 We were also treated to a partial solar eclipse and went to Coaley Peak for a better view of the sky where many others were gathered to view the spectacle. The sun was 85% obscured by the moon and the light dimmed just enough to fool some of the birds into starting to roost.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Blackthorn

Hedges that have been dormant since autumn suddenly are now bursting into life as the blackthorn's white blossom emerges. Blackthorn is a common hedge plant and blossoms before the leaves emerge unlike the hawthorn which comes into leaf before blossoming.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Limousin Bull

Whilst out walking near Painswick we came across this magnificent Limousin bull and his herd of ladies and offspring. At first we felt worried as he stood in the corner where we planned to walk but he gently moved out of our way.
Limousin cattle come originally from France large numbers being brought here in the 1960s as they calve easily and produce excellent beef for the table. 
The youngsters look pretty too!