Nature Notes April 2022

Total monthly rainfall:20 millimetres. Maximum daily rainfall: 10.5 millimetres on April 7th.

There were 8 days when measurable rain fell, and 15 days when cloud-cover reached 100% for at least part of the day.

Maximum temperature on the warmest days was 20C on April !5th ,16th, and 17th – and maximum temperature on the coldest day was 8C on April 1st. We awoke to snow on the morning of April 1st, with overnight frost on the 2nd, 3rd, and 15th. Fresh winds force 5 blew on the 22nd and 24th, and force 6 or 7 on the 1st and 11th. Gale-force 8 blew me (Terry) into a boundary hedge on the 7th.


Six wildflower species had their first flowering this month, bringing our species total to 24. They were yellow archangel (1st April), bugle in the ride(13th), cow parsley on the verge (17th), 2 white bluebells among the blue in the woodland and creeping buttercup on the wildflower meadow (18th). We also have garlic mustard along the garden hedge (23rd).

We recorded five species of butterfly during the month to increase our total to 10 for the year so far. On the 9th we spotted a tortoiseshell along the woodland hedge; an orange-tip butterfly appeared in the ride on the 14th; 2 large whites also appeared in the ride on the 20th; a holly blue in the flower meadow on the 26th, and a green-veined white in the ride on April 29th.

It has been a poor year so far for moths, but this month we have seen two species so far. On the 8th we saw a brimstone moth along the woodland hedge, and on the 18th we discovered a common wave moth along the ride – bringing our annual total up to 3 species. Other insect first-sightings were a common carder bee on archangel (10th), crane-fly Tipula maxima lakeside (11th), and a queen wasp (14th – indoors}. Finally, on April 21st, we spotted 2 yellow silk cocoons in a wildflower meadow, but they disappeared five days later – possibly eaten by crows, which we saw pecking around in the field.

Four new wild-bird species were recorded here this month to add to the 34 species seen this year so far. They are the chiffchaff heard in the woodland on April 5th; a lesser-spotted woodpecker seen on a peanut feeder (April 13th); a willow warbler heard in the wood on April 15th; a cuckoo, heard over the road, and later in our woodland on the 27th. We also found mallard duck eggs dropped and eaten daily by crows or magpies. A Canada goose sat tightly on eggs for most of the month and many of the birds previously mentioned continued to appear.

Oak buds began to open on April 10th; crab apple followed on the 19th; ash on the 24th, and beech on the 28th. Field maple leaves began to appear on April 6th, with oak leaves following on the 12th, and ash on the 28th. Oak catkins formed on the 24th, and horse chestnut flowers on April 28th.