Wildlife to watch in May
The frothy white heads of Cow Parsley line the sides of the Flitch Way and surrounding roadside verges in late spring. It is also known as Queen Anne’s Lace. The name Cow Parsley simply means an inferior version of Parsley.
Cow Parsley is a hollow-stemmed, tall plant that grows rapidly in the summer before dying back. It has large, flat umbrellas of small, white flowers, and large, fern-like leaves. When crushed between the fingers, the leaves produce a strong, aniseed-like scent. One of several common members of the carrot family, this is the most abundant, and the earliest-flowering of the umbellifers.
It can be confused with hogweed which has irritating sap and hemlock which is poisonous.
Also look out for
Soprano Pipistrelle bat
The Soprano Pipistrelle bat is common and widespread throughout the UK. Soprano Pipistrelles have recently been recognised as a species separate from Common Pipistrelles.
Soprano Pipistrelles often chose habitats with semi-natural woodland or tree lines. They tend to avoid open habitats such as farmland, moorland and grassland.
They tend to emerge around 20 minutes after sunset, earlier on warmer nights and sometimes they emerge in daylight. Individuals often follow the same flight path every night.
At this time of year the hedges are filled with the heady scent and white blossom of common hawthorn also known as mayflower. The deep red fruit called “haws” used to be made into jellies and jams.
Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects. Its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals. The dense thorny foliage makes fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird.
Common Dog Violet
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