Newmarket Hill 13 April

Newmarket Hill, Woodingdean 13 April (2019). Though April it is still cold and there is no one to be seen. A thrush sings while two buzzards glide low over the hill. The leafless trees glow in the westerly sun as a dark grey cloud approaches from the East. Some stonechats chirr in the Hawthorn bushes. Almost the only things in flower are violets, mainly Hairy Violet (Viola hirta), but some Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana), and the shy-looking Cowslips, Primula veris. Apart from the coconut-scented gorse that is. They say that when the gorse is out of bloom then kissing is out of season. If this is the case there won’t be much going on this summer as the only gorse in this area is Ulex europeus, which flowers all winter and spring but not in the hottest months of the year. Further north in the weald of Sussex, they are luckier, as they also have Dwarf Gorse, U. minor, which flowers later in the year. Later on I find Common Milkwort, Polygala vulgaris, robust and jewel-coloured in magenta and deep violet. The thrush is quiet now but a blackbird is carolling happily away in the sunshine that has followed the hail shower.

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