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Nature Notes  April 2010
By Pat and Charles

March ended with sleet and April has started cold but with brilliant sunshine this morning (April 1st ). The warm weather in March got the spring growth under way but everything on the Common is much later than in some previous years.  Hazel catkins are over and one section of the concrete road on East Common is littered with alder catkins blown off the trees.  Catkins are lengthening on the poplars nearby. Bumble bees are working the pussy willow (sallow) catkins.  This is the time of year when it is easiest to distinguish the male (fluffy yellow catkins) and female (greenish catkins) sallow trees and to think which of the latter may have produced the seedlings which are causing problems on Middle Common.  Bluebell leaves are just starting to show and the grass on the hay meadows has grown enough to begin to hide the brown of winter.

Animals also responded to the warm spell.  Frog and toad spawn is in local ponds, five species of spring butterflies were seen in the County on warm days and some birds have started collecting nesting material.

A less welcome sight by the concrete road on East Common is what appears to be the corpse of a muntjac, probably shot, gralloched, butchered and the remains thrown up into a tree for all to see.

The Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - website:

Click on any small image to see an enlarged version

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Aug 2009
January 2010

Sallow catkins

Remains of a butchered muntjac?

February 2010
March 2010

[Gralloch - from the Scottish Gaelic word for entrails; gralloching is the correct term for the removal of the lungs and intestine after a deer has been shot or otherwise killed. If you’re interested in the gory details, look up field dressing on wikipedia]

March 2010
April 2010

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May 2010