A long wait for bluebells

The Ray Burn meanders below Goose's Nest (c) Duncan Hutt

The Ray Burn meanders below Goose’s Nest (c) Duncan Hutt

We have reached the equinox. A year ago it was a mini heat-wave: this year winter seems here to stay.  A trip out to Holystone today to begin a survey of the Junipers was cancelled as the snow piled in from the east, settling and accumulating on higher ground.  So as not to waste the journey a brief visit was made instead to one of Northumberland Wildlife Trusts smaller reserves, Goose’s Nest Bluebell Bank.  As the name would suggest this will become a swathe of blue by mid to late May but today it was white.

Gooses Nest Bluebell Bank (c) Duncan Hutt

Goose’s Nest Bluebell Bank (c) Duncan Hutt

The bank forms a steep side of the valley of the Ray Burn, its north and east facing slopes help delay the bluebell blooming even longer than other local sites.  The scattering of trees, mostly birch and rowan, make this a very open woodland with bracken providing a surrogate summer canopy which helps the bluebells do well.  There is no public access to this site, instead visitors are encouraged to admire the bluebells from the nearby road but a site check today was a useful use of the aborted journey.  It seems that rabbit numbers have dropped significantly allowing some new trees to reach a good size.  There was actually little sign of life on the site, just a few pheasant tracks.  A calling curlew and some new lambs in the adjacent field was a reminder of the slowly arriving spring.

Evernia prunastri (c) Duncan Hutt

Evernia prunastri (c) Duncan Hutt

The trees on the site are festooned with lichens, the small clumps of Evernia prunastri were today encrusted with snow and ice.  Below the trees most plant life was buried under the snow but some small spore capsules of moss were bravely defying the cold, their seeming delicacy proving to be a false perception as they stood upright and alone through the icy layer.

Moss spore capsules (c) Duncan Hutt

Moss spore capsules (c) Duncan Hutt

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About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
This entry was posted in Duncan at work, Lower plants, Northumberland and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A long wait for bluebells

  1. restlessjo says:

    We only had a scattering of snow, which was a good thing because Michael was planting up a garden on the seafront! I didn’t envy him. Regards to the family.

  2. vivinfrance says:

    Boy does that look bleak. The snow is almost gone here, and we’re in for a few very wet days;. The wildflowers managed to survive the weight of cliffs of snow piled on them by the snowploughs, and the banks are studded with primroses, violets and celandines. The bluebells might take a little longer.

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