Downs Diary


April is the month of an abundance of flowers. Yellow seems to be the favoured colour as we see celandines, primroses, cowslips, common rock-rose and dandelions make an appearance. Other flowers to be found are bluebells, spring cinquefoil and even wood anemones. The flowers of the delicate Bristol rock-cress appear in the gorge in April and grow nowhere else in the UK.

The magnificent raven is the largest species of perching bird in the world. Raven chicks hatch in April. The raven’s deep, resonant prruk-prruk-prruk call is easily distinguishable from the crow’s caw.

Many birds can be heard singing at dawn and throughout the day until dusk. Robins, willow warblers, song thrushes, blackbirds and many others can be heard singing their best songs to establish territory and find a suitable mate. The musical, twittering song of the goldfinch can also be heard. Victorians thought this song so beautiful that they used to keep goldfinches in cages! They have been increasing in number over the years and a becoming a more common sight on the Downs.

Photographs © Denice Stout