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PMcS 2006


Arable and hedgerows - wildlife year highlights

January Skylarks singing to claim territory.  Lapwings can be seen in flocks on arable fields, with the occasional grey plover.  Some plants found in disturbed ground , such as arable fields, can be found growing and even flowering at any time of the year.  These include chickweed, Shepard's purse, white deadnettle, groundsel and daisy.
February Rooks starting to become more active around nests in rookeries.  'Arable weeds': field speedwell start to flower.
March Lapwings (also known as peewits) start to establish territories.
April Blackthorn in full blossom. Trees and shrub starting to come into leaf.  'Arable weeds' including ivy-leaved speedwell, ribwort plantain and common forget-me-not start to flower.
May Hawthorn flowering.  'Arable weeds' including poppy common fumitory, white clover and silverweed starting to flower.
June Elder blossoms, dog roses and the honeysuckle pepper the hedgerows along with the flowers of the bramble (blackberry).  'Arable weeds' including bindweed and redshank start to flower.  The rare corncockle, crested cow-wheat and corn marigold, which have all but disappeared from the countryside, start to flower.
July Greater bindweed and traveller's joy flowers in the hedgerows.  'Arable weeds' including poppy blooms with other annuals such as scentless mayweed, pineapple weed, docks, scentless mayweed and white campion, mixed in with barren brome, a grass with dropping seed heads.
August Elderberries ripen and are feasted on by hungry birds such as starlings and blackbirds.  Other berries are ripening too, such as hawthorn ('haws'), sloes and rose hips.
September Tree species such as ash, beech and sweet chestnut are also turning with tinges of yellow, orange and light green tinges.  Conkers start to ripen.  Horse chestnut leaves start to take on autumn colours.
October Hazel nuts and acorns ripening, field maple, ash and sycamore seeds ripening.  Trees take on autumn colours.
November Most trees and shrubs turned to autumn colours and have, or will soon, fall.  Black bryony stems thread through the hedgerows, supporting their clusters of fat, poisonous red berries.  Old man's beard seed heads are now fluffy.
December Flocks of finches (e.g. chaffinch, greenfinch and brambling) and flocks of redwings and fieldfares move across fields seeking seeds, insects and berries.



All images and text are copyright PMcS 2006