By Rob Rowe (March 2020)

This tiny seedling only 8mm tall is the fruit of a lot of hard labour last year! One of many thousand, it  is a yellow rattle seedling a few days old, which has germinated from ‘green hay’, collected from nearby species-rich meadows last year and strewn by hand.

It is an annual and will flower, set seed and then die in late summer. It is used as a botanical tool in the creation of new hay meadows as it semi parasitises some grasses suppressing them and enabling other more sensitive plants to establish and flourish.

Lapwing, Green Plover or  Peewit?  Well they are different names for the same bird and today there are six of them nearby twisting and turning, wheeling and calling. They settle in a field of winter barley which has large bald patches as a result of the recent floods.

I check again the next day and they are still there feeding. Whether they nest or not remains to be seen and if they do the chance of them rearing chicks to maturity is very slim. For now, however, they are a delight to the eye and the ear.

Goat willow or Pussy willow catkins [Salix caprea] a fantastic source of pollen in early Spring especially for newly emerged queen bumble bees.

Making it look as if this Oak tree is in flower these Artichoke or hop galls  were caused by a tiny wasp laying its eggs in the buds of this tree last year.