This week I've noticed that Spring really seems to be moving on. Bluebells are fading and ramsons have moved in to take their place in our woodlands.
Last Sunday we managed to blag the last spot in the small RSPB carpark at Garston Wood for a meander through this beautiful woodland reserve. You may recall, I'd already visited around Easter for a spot of early bluebell photography. Although they were very much still evident, they were starting to fade, with their deep striking blue turning to a more delicate shade trapped between cornflower and lilac. Never mind, the ramsons certainly made up for it, with spectacular drifts this year, carpeting everything in their path, accompanied by delicate garlicky aromas. The dappled light shining through the burgeoning leaves made for excellent spotlights.
I was also lucky enough to be able to call in at Martin Down on the way back from working in Blandford on Wednesday. I popped over the road to Kitt's Grave - the small chunk of woodland and scrub mosaic owned by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust but leased to Natural England to manage on their behalf. Here, the bluebells are much more patchy, but the ramsons could again be seen in drifts away from the paths, amidst the majestic gnarly oaks and hazel coppice. In sheltered spots, I saw primroses still flowering, juxtaposed with cowslips and gorse - seasons changing. Pondering the tranquility of the flowers, my thoughts were 'disturbed' by a cuckoo - I seem to be hearing lots around at the moment, which is great news considering their awful journey running the gauntlet of Maltese hunters as they cross the Med. I also saw one oil beetle, slightly late to the party - those in my parents' garden had emerged from hibernation over a month ago! Hopefully it manages to find a mate.
Although we've been lucky to have great weather recently, I'm starting to get very worried about a lack of water - the Itchen was looking low on one of my lunchtime walks this week, and although we're nowhere near drought conditions yet, I think we should always be mindful of where our water comes from and try and conserve no matter what the time of year.