Common Hill Nature Reserve - April Update

 Sunday 24th April 2022 and time to revisit Common Hill Nature Reserve. April has been cool and dry in Herefordshire but today was sunny with a cool NE wind - maximum temperature of 19 ℃ in our Hereford garden - somewhat cooler at Common Hill though pleasant enough in the sunshine.

And what a transformation from our last visit in March as we entered North Meadow... 

View from the entrance to North Meadow (24/4/22)

A green carpet speckled with cowslips and early purple orchids...

Cowslips and Early Purple Orchids - North Meadow (24/4/22)

Cowslip, North Meadow (24/4/22)

Early Purple Orchid, North Meadow (24/4/22)

Looking back towards the North Meadow entrance from the corner of the orchard, the trees and fields are greening up nicely...

North Meadow looking back to the entrance with Wales in the distance (24/4/22) we walked along the top ridge of North Meadow we spotted a few garden invaders amongst the cowslips; these may have already hybridized with primroses and cowslips as they seem to need very little encouraged to cross with each other...

...finally, we reach the exit to North Meadow looking back from whence we came and toward Haugh Woods...

 ...and, as we sat on the bench to enjoy some lunch, we were joined by a silent song thrush (female?) admiring the same view...
Song Thrush, North Meadow (24/4/22)

Moving across the lane into Monument Hill, Mary has spotted something...

Looking up Monument Hill (24/4/22)

...and then looking down Monument Hill...

Looking down Monument Hill (24/4/22)

...where we exited the nature reserve and took a detour to Lea & Paget's Wood (see next post).

On returning to Common Hill, we entered Round's Meadow from the bottom lane, climbing over the gate - a stile would be useful here! Primroses and cowslips were clearly in evidence...

Looking up Round's Meadow from the bottom lane

One delight was finding oxlips and cowslips in the same place. We had visited Joan's Hill Farm just over a week ago lured by the promise of cowslips and oxlips but finding none of the latter. Mary (the biologist) would describe the similarities/differences and I (the chemist) would just say it would be nice to see them next to each other to compare directly. Hey presto...

Cowslip (foreground) and False Oxlip (background) in Round's Meadow (24/4/22)

Close-ups of the cowslip...
Cowslip at Round's Meadow (24/4/22)

...and oxlip...

False Oxlip at Round's Meadow (24/4/22)

[Edit: the original post identified the False Oxlip (Primula veris x vulgaris) as Oxlip or True Oxlip (Primula elatior). I corrected this mistake on 9/6/22: see here for more info]

Flora (flowering):
  • Cowslip
  • False Oxlip
  • Cuckooflower (Lady's Smock)
  • Cuckoo-pint (Lords-and-Ladies)
  • Celandine
  • Dandelion
  • Dog's Mercury
  • Common Dog-violet
  • Sweet violet
  • Early Purple Orchid
  • Germander Speedwell
  • Bluebell
  • Ground Ivy
  • Apple blossom
  • Bugle
  • Wood spurge
  • Jack by the Hedge (Hedge garlic, Garlic Mustard)
  • Field Wood-Rush
  • Wild Strawberry
  • Barren Strawberry
  • Robin
  • Chiffchaff
  • Song Thrush
  • Blue Tit
  • Blackbird
  • Pheasant
  • Crow
  • Orange-tip Butterfly
  • Peacock Butterfly
  • Red-tailed Bumblebee (Queen)
  • Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Queen)


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