A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Monday 30 April 2012

Bull Finch

Bull finches rarely visit our feeders so I was pleased to see this handsome pair today feeding on sunflower seeds.
In the past bullfinches were killed in large numbers by fruit growers as they like to strip the young buds from fruit trees.

Sunday 29 April 2012

Bluebell Woods

 Bluebells are at their peak in our local woods but with the recent heavy rain you may have to paddle through the mud to see them!

Saturday 28 April 2012


We love gamboling lambs and these two are some in a field visible across the valley from our kitchen window. You see little gangs of them running about. These two are very cute although we are not too sure about them each having to have two large ear-tags! We understand that this is due to the latest European ruling.
Lambing seems to be a gradual process in the Cotswolds this year with new lambs appearing since the New Year.

Friday 27 April 2012

Cuckoo Flower

Cuckoo flower, also known as Lady's Smock and Milkmaids, are found in damp grassy meadows, roadsides, ditches and river-banks. Cuckoo flower is so named as its flowers come out at the same time of year that one hears the first Cuckoo.  Well we have seen lots of flowers but are still waiting to hear our first Cuckoo in Gloucestershire!  Unfortunately Cuckoos seem to be much less common around here than they were.  When we first moved back to the Cotswolds thirty years ago they used to call morning, noon and night during the springtime, but we have hardly heard them around here for last few years.  Let's hope we are lucky again this year.

Cuckoo flowers are apparently edible, a rich source of Vitamin C and can be eaten raw in salads.  We only just read that so will be trying it soon!

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Field Maple

The fresh green newly emerged leaves of the Field Maple stand out against the darker bare trees behind along the edge of Uley Bury hill fort.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Showers and Sunshine

The weather seems set in a pattern of sunshine and showers at the moment and sometimes we can stand in the sunshine and look across the Severn Vale to the Black Mountains of South Wales  watching the rain storms sweep up the valley. Later on in our walk we were not so lucky and caught in the rain!

Friday 20 April 2012

Blackbirds Nesting

Many birds are busy nest building at the moment like this female blackbird collecting materials to nest in our garden hedge.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Oil Seed Rape

Love it or hate it the bright yellow flowers of  the oil seed rape crop certainly brighten up the countryside with a splash of colour.
Rape is a member of the cabbage family and originally used for lubrication oil but now for animal feed vegetable oil and biodiesel.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Spring in Coaley Wood

Coaley Wood is starting to look green again although the Beech Ash and Oak trees have yet to come into full leaf. Hazel Hawthorn and Sycamore are all now carrying fresh green leaves and the woodland floor is thick with wood garlic and dogs mercury.

Saturday 14 April 2012


Blackthorn hedges are still looking spectacular although  the blossom is starting to fade as the leaves emerge.
We must remember this should be a good hedge for sloes in the autumn.

Monday 9 April 2012


Bluebells are carpeting the woodland floor now although competition from other woodland plants such as wood garlic brought on by the early spring has reduced their impact in some areas.

Sunday 8 April 2012


Cowslips are mainly a meadow grassland flower now coming into bloom. As the name suggests they favour meadows of unimproved grassland frequented by cows but are increasingly seen on roadside verges.

Monday 2 April 2012


The loud call of the chiffchaff can be heard now in the woods and gardens. Some birds are present all year in Southern England but migrants arrive now and stay until late August or September when they return to Mediterranean regions for the winter. They are not easy to distinguish from other warblers by sight but the distinctive "chiff  chaff" call is unmistakeable.