Month on the Emmbrook
What to look for if you are out and about in
April is a fabulous month for wildlife, as the trees and shrubs burst into leaf with fresh, vibrant green foliage.
The overwintering bird visitors such as Redwings and Fieldfares leave in April. The summer visiting birds that arrive to replace them include House Martins and many warblers such a Whitethroats, Sedge and Willow Warblers. The three birds that also return, and perhaps most signify summer, are the Swallow, the Nightingale and the Cuckoo.
Late in April the large black swarming St Mark's fly makes an appearance. It is a welcome food source for newly arrived migrant birds as well as residents. It is very noticeable as its longish black legs lazily trail below as it flies around. Some species of damselflies can also be spotted on warm days near the river.
Peacock, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood butterflies appear in April. Brimstone butterflies will already have been on the wing for several weeks, having over wintered amongst ivy as adults. As the garden comes alive once more as the soil warms up , Small Tortoiseshell butterflies and Peacocks flit between the flowers. They may also be found basking in the sun to absorb its warmth.
Frog's spawn has become tadpoles by April. The adults now leave the ponds to live on land until Autumn. They feed on slugs, snails and insects so avoid putting down slug pellets .
Plants & Trees
Ash trees come into flower in April, but its leaves are one of the last to emerge (May). The male parts consist of a bundle purple pollen filled clusters and the females parts are dangle in the air to pick up wind borne pollen.
One of the hardy flowers that is first to bloom and can be seen all year round is the Red Dead-nettle. Also the common annual Shepherds Purse quickly flowers and sets seed. In the meadows the Cuckoo flower, and Cowslip emerge.