Out like a lion…

On the last day of March the temperature drops 10 degrees and the next day the snow arrives on a cold north wind. March goes out like a lion. At the start of March, the weather is not lambish at all. The skies are a constant stone grey and the sun entirely absent. The trees…

Faces of February

A month of extremes; a mild start followed by a week of freezing air from the north east and snow-frozen ground that disappears as quickly as it arrives and is quickly forgotten as the land is brought alive by spring-like temperatures and the first butterflies are on the wing. In the freeze, the small birds…

Spring butterflies

The early butterflies are nearly all widespread species including orange tips, brimstones and ‘cabbage whites’, the exception in southern England is the Duke of Burgundy fritillary and the nearest colony is near Canterbury. Peacocks and small tortoiseshells are also out and both common this year. The hedge garlic and lady’s smock are the host plant…

Early Spring woodland flowers

Spring in the ancient oak, ash, beech and hornbeam woodlands of the North Downs is announced by wood anemones, sweet violets and celandine but quickly followed by a flurry of others. Moschatel, colloquially known as townhall clock or five-faced bishop is a diminutive and uncommon plant found in small colonies amongst the much showier swathes…

Montenegro – an introduction

I am staying in Montenegro for the Spring to try to learn something of the wildlife and ecology.  Based on what I have read, here is a short introduction to the nature of the country: Montenegro is a small country, not much larger than the department of Dordogne in France, and rectangular in shape. One short edge borders…