First up this week, if you are locked down somewhere without a view - take a look of this lovely view from Folly Wood across the whole Forest:


This week we had yellow wagtails over on the Pillinge, which is unusual as they are normally seen on the lawn over by Stewartby Lake. They’re a summer migrant but very sadly the amount of breeding pairs locally is declining, so it was great to see at least 8 this week.

We’ve had more of the elusive treecreepers, near the sewage works - here is a lovely video of one preening, singing and stretching it’s wings. Excitingly we think it might be breeding which is amazing news, as most people have never even seen one.

There are still some common sandpipers at the Pillinge - a few pass through the Millennium Country Park each year on the way to their northern breeding grounds so they’re not hugely common. 

You might have heard the familiar sound (even to me) of the cuckoo this week - we’ve spotted a male and two females in the Park this week!


We talk a lot about butterflies so I thought it was time we looked at their under-rated associates - moths! We’ve had a chat with a moth expert about what types we have had around this month (and we’ll keep you updated next month as well).

chinese character, brimstone and early thorn moths

Chinese character, brimstone, early thorn - credit to Martin Rogers

First up, the chinese character - safe to say that they look pretty unassuming but they use their colouring to mimic bird poo to avoid being eaten by predators which is pretty amazing. If you're keeping an eye out, you’ll see them all over the place - hedgerows, scrubland and open woodlands or your gardens.

Brimstone, as you can see looks a lot like a leaf which is an incredibly useful camouflage technique when they’re roosting in foliage. Apparently the word ‘butterfly’ might originally comes from the yellow colour of brimstone males (females are a very pale green - even more leaf like). You’ll see them in grassland, woodland and roadside hedgerows.

Early thorn, again, looks a lot like a leaf - you’ll see them in all of the usual places too (grassland, woodlands and hedgerows) but also they’re spotted in urban areas quite a lot.

Flame shoulder, nut-tree tussock and ruby tiger moths

Flame shoulder, nut-tree tussock and ruby tiger moths - credit to Martin Rogers

You can tell the flame shoulder by the stripes up their wings - you’ll see them everywhere, including wetlands (like those at the Millennium Country Park) if you’re lucky enough to have any nearby. 

The nut tree tussock is noticably fluffier than the others. You’re only likely to see them at dusk though as they feed at night, and mainly in broadleaved woodland.

Finally we have the ruby tiger - mostly found in open habitats like clearings and meadows. Interestingly, they're more 'ruby' down here than they are in the north of england, where they tend to be darker and even have black bits. 


Greater stitchwort and bluebells

Greater stitchwort and bluebells (credit to Michelle Bendix)

Our beautiful header photo is the current mix of bluebells and red campion near the sewage works at the Millennium Country Park. You’ll often see red campion in lightly shaded woodland or along hedgerows. Bluebells are commonly found in woodlands (often ancient, semi natural woodlands) but you’ll still see them growing along hedgerows and in fields. If you’re lucky enough to have been to a bluebell wood (like Dockey Wood down in the Ashridge estate) you’ll know how spectacular the carpet of thousands of bluebells is - it takes a long time for this to happen. From seed to flower it can take up to 7 years and, once damaged, a colony can take years to recover (hence the National Trust’s stricter measures and introduction of a charge at Dockey Wood, to protect them). They flower early, so spring insects can all feed on their nectar earlier than other plants, which is great for the butterflies, bees and hoverflies that we’ve been seeing for the past few weeks.

We also spotted some greater stitchwort this week at the Millennium Country Park, which you’ll see in woodlands, by hedgerows and along roadside verges and grassy banks.

Hawthorn and apple blossom

Hawthorn and apple blossom (credit to Michelle Bendix)

If you’re lucky enough to see blossom out of your window (like I am) then you know that some of it has sadly been and gone in the past few weeks - but not all! I’m no expert, so take a look at this great guide which helps work out which is which. Our Head Ranger spotted this Hawthorn blossom over at Button’s Ramsey which is just starting to come out this week, and thanks to Michelle for the lovely photo of the apple blossom in the Millennium Country Park.

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All bird videos credit to Bob Hook