So – the wind has veered to the north, wintery squalls are scudding across the sky, and thus the obvious thing to do is a Trackatree field visit to see how Spring is getting on. And I can report, with no little excitement, that things are stirring in the TrackaTree parts of Hillhouse Wood. The earliest of my four trees (an Ash, an Oak, a Silver Birch and a Hazel) to get going is always the Hazel.
To my surprise it has decided to get going already. Luckily it has just one branch that is low enough to allow you to examine the buds in great detail. And, blow me down, several were clearly showing the green of the leaf through the carapace. That’ll do for me; first bud break ticked off. There’s no way I could have seen this on the buds at the top of the tree, as they were silhouetted against a most unhelpful sky. But I reckon that the more exposed position of the higher buds will have held them back anyway.
Of course, the other three trees are still some way from bud break. But I did find one, slightly sorry looking, Lesser celandine out in flower under the Ash. This tree has the most varied ground flora of my four.
Elsewhere in the wood the Primroses are already putting on another good show.
Alongside one of the streams there are also quite a few Lesser celandines in flower, along with the easy to overlook Alternate-leaved Golden saxifrage. No sign of the Wood anenomes yet.
Finally, on the way back – three Buzzards noisily thermalling over Aldercarr. I still find these a novelty. And a joy.