The Countryside Blog of an Essex Born Lady – March 2017 (15)

March winds and April showers, bring forth May flowers…… so the proverb goes. March was breezy and a notable wind chill claimed the air for most of the month.  Some mornings a dense fog shrouded the new season that was itching to wake up.  It wouldn’t last long.  The sun brought a friendly warmth to sheltered spots which encouraged an early, velvety bumble bee and delicate tortoiseshell butterfly. Emerging for their first time they danced from buttercup to dandelion, all-new fresh flora which coloured the lush-green grass of springtime.

The countryside has awakened from its winter slumber.

New growth in the hedgerows was slowly enticed by the slight rise in temperatures; blackthorn blossomed into a shower of pretty white petals and was humming with activity, as more and more insects became truly immersed in the attractive scent and deep blooms.

A prelude from a chiff chaff resonated a gentle over-tone. His summer song, a crescendo, harmonising the dynamics of other feathered performers, all competing for their chance to be heard – blackbirds, a song thrush, greenfinches, chaffinches, sky larks and sparrows.  Overhead, buzzards found the warm thermals to gracefully soar in the blue sky and call for the season’s change.

A solitary little egret has returned to Wickham Hall and circled for a safe landing by the river’s edge.  Its cotton-white body a stark contrast against the changing backdrop of the rural landscape, now showing the splash of new-season colour. The sight of a mallard duck’s broken egg soon changed my mood as my thoughts turned swiftly to nature’s harshest reality; stolen from her clutch, her nest had been raided by a raider, intent on survival.

In the ditch that runs alongside the old railway line, luxuriant marsh marigolds are in flower – giant, bright buttercups that are profusely cheerful, yet grow quietly with white violets and yellow celandines, enriching and dazzling the wild footpath.

Springtime is seemingly the fastest-moving season in nature’s quarterly calendar – a paradox (probably), but take a deep breath and breathe; blink and you may just miss it!


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