Catherine Knight’s Amble 2020 – Part 4

On Monday morning of week 6, I had my first morning walk view of a group of swallows ducking and diving in the sky.

I’ve watched the horse chestnut trees change and now their ‘candles’ are fully alight.  I never realised how the ‘candles’ differ from tree to tree (some are pure white while others have pink or red markings on the flowers) or what a delicate scent some have.  The very tiny, delicate white flowers of cleavers / goosegrass / sticky-back (it has many names) are appearing everywhere and the bracken fronds are gracefully uncurling under the trees to join the Hart’s Tongue ferns.

Hawthorn flower

Tuesday saw me walking in the rain for the first time with another rainy walk on Thursday.  When I wasn’t getting wet from the rain, the alexanders and cow parsley, some of which are now head high, were spraying me with water where they have fallen over.  One advantage of the rain is that everything looks much fresher and cleaner.  The hawthorn flowers on hedges and bushes are now in full bloom and have been joined by the first elderflowers.

The birds – robins, blackbirds, wrens, goldfinches, sparrows and others that I don’t know – are often in full song and the crows are being noisy again.  I have noticed a slow but steady increase in the amount of traffic, particularly over the last fortnight, which detracts from the bird song.  Why more cars?  We should still be abiding by the same restrictions.


I need to start week 7 with an apology.  The birds that I’ve been calling crows are in fact rooks. Just goes to show that I know my flowers and trees better than my birds!

Sycamore flowers

As most of the flowers that I saw on my recce are fading and few different flowers have appeared this week, I’ve started looking upwards at the trees more.  I never realised what a pretty, delicate, pale greenish-yellow flower adorned the sycamore trees at this time of year.  If you’ve never seen them, they’re well worth a look.  I’ve seen unusual and interesting ‘dangly earring’ shaped flowers on one tree, I think they may be the female flowers of one of the poplars.

The flowers on the oak tree have gone, I’ve missed the flowers on the ash trees because the seeds are appearing and I can’t see flowers on the beech trees although I may have missed them too.  The tiny fruits are becoming apparent on the wild cherry trees but I can’t see any sloes on the blackthorns yet.  I’m fascinating by the variety of grasses that I’m seeing, so many shapes and sizes.  This is a subject I know nothing about and I’m thinking of trying to learn but how?  Closely examining a grass with a reference book in hand and going for a brisk exercise walk aren’t very compatible.  A camera isn’t the answer – I don’t have one.  On sunny mornings, the swifts have been swooping and gliding over town and, yes, I checked my bird book before I wrote this.  On Friday, I extended my walk to include the town and some residential streets.  I was saddened by how little recognition of VE Day I saw.  By contrast, the terrace in which I live is festooned with bunting and flags and we even have a Regimental flag flying at the home of an ex-serviceman.


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