April has been dominated by high pressure bringing bright, sunny days with a cold, dry, northerly airstream, resulting in some severe frosty nights which have burnt some early blossom, especially magnolias and camellias and even new growth on roses. The impact of the cold, dry weather is that trees and hedges have been slow to come into leaf. Even the lawns have hardly needed mowing! Birdlife is suffering with blackbirds, thrushes, robins and rooks struggling to find sufficient food for their young. Historically, this is known as a ‘blackthorn winter’ in rural areas and has been well documented for generations. The blackthorn blossom has been magnificent this year so hopefully there will be plenty of sloes in the autumn for gin making!
Currently we have one swallow which arrived on 10 April, but as yet, no house martins which in the last five years have arrived before the swallows. As you enter the village from the main road on the left hand side just before the farm, there is a weeping ash tree with a large hole in it which regularly has a little owl perched on the rim; a stunning little bird. May, hopefully will bring some much needed rain and the swifts.