The start of May finds the Common looking beautiful as the sun shines through the
haze of young green leaves on the trees. The cherry trees are full of white blossom
though the blackthorn flowers are going over. The small dense patch of bluebells
near the Old School House is fully out and there is a scattering of bluebells elsewhere
on the Common. Look out for the fine specimens newly ‘liberated’ by our clearance
work along East Common’s top hedgerow. Also on West Common the few plants of Ramsons
(or Bear’s Garlic) are in flower. The grassland is dotted with the yellow flowers
of Bulbous Buttercup and Dandelion. We may hate dandelions in our gardens but they
do brighten up the Common. Also in the grass are patches of Field Woodrush, a little
plant a few inches high with brownish nodding flower-heads. Later in the month other
plants will be in flower, apple and hawthorn, cow parsley and the upright spikes
of Sweet Vernal Grass and Meadow Foxtail.
Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and other newly-emerged spring butterflies
are appearing. Queen bumble bees are busy searching for nest sites. Look out also
for the small brown furry bee-flies which hover at flowers drinking nectar through
a long proboscis. Their grubs live in the nests of bees and wasps. Among birds,
the winter visitors have left and most of the summer visitors have arrived. Nesting
is in full swing. The first Cuckoo has been heard and the Chiff-chaff and other warblers
are singing. Swallows and House Martins are back, circling and swooping after insects.
A wonderful time of year!