March is the month of Spring! Many trees will be budding, the blackthorn is a froth of white blossom and flowers can be found across the Downs such as sweet violets, lesser celandine, crocus, primrose and dog violets. A lot of new growth can be seen almost everywhere you look!
Bees and butterflies such as the brimstone are starting to feed, fox cubs are being born and hedgehogs are waking up from their long hibernation. Field garlic is sprouting rapidly out of the ground and filling the air with that lovely garlic smell
The dawn chorus is in full swing again with blackbirds in the lead. Many wonderful birds can be heard once more like the dunnock, robin, chaffinch and song thrush. Redwings leave for Scandinavia and chiffchaffs arrive back from Africa. Swallows can be seen passing through the gorge.
The peacock butterfly is so called because the iridescent ‘eyes’ on its wings resemble those on a peacock’s tail feathers. Reflecting different colours depending on the relative position of the viewer they act as a form of protection. To a passing bird, the butterfly appears to be a much bigger animal.
Photographs © Denice Stout, Tadeusz Lakota