It was a cold, windy morning as we set off up the track to the woods but masses of celandine soon cheered us as we passed the first clump of sweet violets. Goldilocks edged the path and as we reached the wood, bluebells and early dog violet mingled together. Up into the woods the wood anemone was at its finest, however the early purple orchids were a long way off flowering. Around the corner the warm banking was carpeted with celandine, ground ivy and common dog violet interspersed by a few barren strawberries. Abundant tiny cowslips were just emerging on Ledsham vale with hairy violets dotted amongst them. The pasque flower was fully formed and should be in flower in a couple of week’s time.
As we set off the morning was coolish but promised warmth later and, heading along the tow path, we saw ribwort plantain, shepherd’s purse, creeping buttercup, sticky mouse-ear, germander speedwell and a lovely patch of common stork’s-bill by the lock gate. Turning right onto the marsh we heard lots of birdsong, including chiffchaff, willow warbler and great tit.
Just over the wooden bridge at the edge of the meadow we came across some fine red campion, the meadow was full of lady’s smock, marsh horsetail, common vetch and meadow buttercup (just coming out). The cowslips were coming to an end but great burnet and meadowsweet were in leaf. Coming onto the path we spotted a clump of bulbous buttercup then emerging into the field a beautiful display of sun spurge, field speedwell, ground ivy and a few greater stitchwort.
At this time last year marsh marigold was easy to find but this year we had to search along the water edges but eventually found a clump coming to its end on the far side of the lake, with a patch of bush vetch nearby. At the end of another enjoyable walk the warmth had brought out a number of orange tip butterflies.
I was driving into Wakefield on Friday evening and, as the traffic slowed, I was scanning the patches of Danish scurvy grass in the middle of the road when I spotted some conspicuous patches of pink flowers. I returned the next morning to have a closer look before the traffic got too busy and I found that the flowers belong to common storksbill (Erodium cicutarium).
Common storksbill is an invasive species normally favouring sandy soils but can grow in a variety of soils. According to Wkipedia, the whole plant is apparently edible and has a similar taste to parsley However, another plant site says ‘may be toxic’!