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April 2012

posted 4 May 2012, 06:28 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 4 May 2015, 01:48 ]
Bluebells Leomansly wood

Maybe I should not have said in the March diary that the Green was looking dry and we needed some rain!! Well, we certainly have had some this month but it is fair to say that the Green is looking a lot better for it! The grass, however is still slow to grow, which means that the cows will only be turned onto the Green later on in May. The bluebells in Leomansley woods have also struggled a bit with the cold wet spell we have just had. They started to flower in mid-April but they have not yet formed their usual blue carpet across the woods. Still, as shown in the photo above, they are still a lovely sight and worth a visit.

One plant that has benefitted from the recent rain, is the cuckooflower (also known as lady's smock or May flower). This plant is so called because it flowers at about the same time as the first cuckoo is heard i.e. April/May. It grows in profusion in the damper area of the Green and its white/purple flowers can clearly be seen amongst the reeds (see photo on right). It is a very important food source for the larvae of the orange-tip and the green-veined white butterflies. Its nectar is also important food for the adult forms of these butterflies. On a sunny day (if you can remember what they are!) you can easily see a number of orange-tips flitting about on the Green.

Cuckoo flower

Rare visitors were also spotted on the Green this week (see photo) - it is not often we get red deer! These are a pair of immature red deer and were spotted in the area (including Beacon park golf course) by a number of people. You can see that their coats are starting to moult. They are not escapees from Maple Hayes, but most likely have wondered into the area possibly from Cuckoo Bank/Chasewater area, where they are quite common.

The birds are also doing well. More summer visitors including willow warblers and whitethroats have arrived and can now be heard (if not seen!) on the Green. A pair of kestrals are also regularly seen hovering over the reeds looking for field voles or mice; hopefully they are nesting nearby.

The farmer will be putting 12-15 cattle on the Green in a few weeks time, so just be careful, especially if you are walking your dog. They can very frisky and inquisitive when they first arrive!

Red Deer

Image  courtesy of Bob Russon, Lichfield & District Local RSPB Group

PS. I later heard that one of the deer had unfortunately been killed in a collision with a car on the bypass near the Abnalls lane junction. No news on the driver, but the car was badly damaged. A very sad, but not surprising ending.