Hawthorn and Cow Parsley Time

Everyone has their trigger, that sensory experience which strips away the years. For me it is the musky, musty, mingled scent of Hawthorn and Cow Parsley after a May shower, my personal madeleines. Back to the 1960s, a schoolchild in shorts (some things never change!), cycling around the lanes on the Yorkshire Wolds, finding my feet and laying down my roots in Nature.

And as so often, this year it coincided with the most bounteous explosion of diversity. This week in #WildWivenhoe has seen a tentative Spring transformed, the trees enveloped in every shade of green…

…fresh foliage catching the light, and bringing beauty even to a Nettle…

… new flowers appearing daily…

…and old friends, including non-native beauties like (Ever)Green Alkanet and Lilac doing the heavy lifting of feeding the insect masses. To denigrate these because of their provenance is pure ecoFascism.

And the appearance of new insects has been simply stupendous. That most stunning of beetles, Neon-striped Tortoise Beetle, emerged en masse on our Sea Beet (some three weeks earlier than last year) while Two-spotted Malachite Beetles have started on their long summer of gracing our umbellifers, the new ones having that special bit extra iridescence.

And of course a host of other beetles too….

Another mass emergence in the shape of Phoenix Flies, a nationally scarce species with its stronghold along the Essex coast…

Hoverfly diversity has shot up over the week….

…with lots of other flies also in the mix.

Basking bugs adding to the bounty….

And then the rest…a wonderful mix of spring stragglers and summer emergers, from the first damselflies and bush-cricket nymphs to scorpion-flies and Elm Zigzag Sawflies.

The delights of the natural world, solace in our troubled times. And thank goodness for #NoMowMay, helping to provide the nectar and pollen resources which underpin these riches. Well done Wivenhoe Town Council, where the Daisies and Dandelions of the King George V field are now supplemented with Buttercups and Red Clover, Germander Speedwell, Sand Spurrey and Subterranean Clover — something for everyone!