Sending summer greetings to all! And hooray – at last I can roam more freely again, to enjoy the countryside that surrounds us! Back down the woods behind us with the carpets of bluebells, wild garlic galore, and yet again our one Early Spring Orchid – past its pomp, but so lovely to see that it’s still surviving among the brambles!

Bit less roaming – more trudging through half-dried mud, but still lovely to walk along foot and bridle-paths with their overhanging trees heavy with leaves, and blossom everywhere this year! Lots of birdsong – the birds dipping and diving in their search for food, then the evening and night-time calls as they settle for the night. The woodpecker hardly stops shouting – he’s been here all winter, mostly on the TV aerial, marking his territory, and now he’s still banging on as he tries to teach the youngster how to get to the nuts!

AND – a special treat, with the beautiful song of a nightingale somewhere between our lane and Durbans Road – I heard it from an open bedroom window one night, clear as a bell for several minutes, singing late into the night!

Another pleasure for me, is the great festoons of green and white alongside many of our smaller roads. I know feelings are mixed about cow parsley, but the way it gleams as it bounces in the sunshine – this year even taller and filling even more space, it surely deserves a mention, the way it’s blending with the pink campion, golden dandelions and other wild flowers along the roadside. Yes… OK!. I know! I’ll shut up now, and go and clear a bit of it at the bottom of the drive…!!

Swallows are back, especially in many places with horses or other animals, so hooray! And Pulbrough RSPB are reporting pretty regular visits from the white-tailed sea-eagles again, though, no matter how often we go, it seems we’ve always just missed them! We’ll keep trying. That one sighting was so impressive! And very best wishes for the breeding programme on the Isle of White.

(PS Can you see where the cow parsley ends and the apple blossom begins in the garden photo (left)? Even I’m not sure, and I took it!). See you next month?? xx

Sue J