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Nature Notes:  May 2009
Compiled by Pat and Charles

This year the blackthorn on the Common has again put on a wonderful display, its white flowers brilliant against the blue sky. Now it is over and the cherries are going over as well but the apple blossom is well out and the hawthorn is nearly so. The patches of bluebells have made a bright show.  The yellow of buttercups and dandelions brightens up the grassland and a few Green-winged orchids have started to appear.

Some 18 species of butterfly have been seen in the county so far this year; Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue have been flying on the Common. A solitary Painted Lady butterfly was on East Common on 20th April settling briefly on dandelions before moving out of sight. Almost certainly it was newly arrived from North Africa. Huge numbers were reported as emerging in Morocco in late-March and in early April they were moving north through Spain in their thousands. A few others had been seen in Britain by the time the one arrived on the Common. Hopefully enough will arrive to make this a notable summer for this beautiful butterfly. Among the birds, many of the regular summer visitors have arrived in Bedfordshire, including swallows, cuckoos and several species of warbler. Among the less usual birds was a hoopoe, a spectacular bird seen barely a mile from the Common.

Do enjoy the spring countryside with its marvellous shades of green among the trees and also the glorious birdsong.

See April’s Nature Notes

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

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Apple Blossom

Blackthorn Blossom

Painted Lady Butterfly

April 2009

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