So we’ve passed the longest day now and it feels like everything’s preparing for fruit bearing and harvest time. In the woods, the bees are busy collecting pollen from the blackberry flowers. I’ve only started to notice how many different types of bees there are recently.
Today I spotted a Tree Bumblebee queen and a Buff-Tailed queen on the blackberries and gorse in the woods. I used the website of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to identify them. Apparently there are over 250 species so I was thankful for the help!
The Tree Bumblebee only arrived here in 2001 from mainland Europe and it’s a great pollinator, moving with incredible speed from flower to flower. I had a bit of trouble photographing it, it was moving so fast and it was enormous!
By comparison, the Buff-Tailed Bumblebee was quite easy to capture on film. You can see her pollen baskets which she uses to collect pollen and take it back to her young.
The Oak trees are starting to produce acorns, as is the Horse Chestnut that me and Ollie pass every day. Indeed, there are hundreds of tiny conkers, still in their protective shells all over the pavement.
A few blackberries are starting to show, as are the elderberries – although still green – just like the strawberries in my garden. Just a little more sun needed to ripen them.
Lastly, bizzarely, there was an abandoned shopping basket in the woods. Must be a mystery shopper gone wild.
Well, I didn’t quite manage to do the whole nature writing thing every two weeks as I thought I would, but I do have a good excuse. I’ve been squirreling away on the novel and am now near the end. About 84,000 words done and twenty chapters or so.
I have been walking in the woods most days as we go to school and back that way. We’ve also been walking along the Cleveland Way on the North Coast, as well as visiting more local wilds in Derbyshire. We’ve even been engaging in a little wild swimming!
The changes in the woods now are quite amazing. Even though some parts of my little scrub-wood are simply that; scrubby and if I’m honest, full of litter and vandalism (that is until you get further into the woods, where most people can’t be bothered to venture) – they have flourished with the warmer days we’ve had.
The bluebells are wilting now but we’ve got cow parsley in abundance as well as forget-me-nots and cranesbill.
The field maples have pushed forth their buds, the new leaves striking out and the hawthorn is heavily in flower, complete with it’s own heady fragrance.
Out on our walk along the coastal path of the Cleveland Way we encountered hundreds of frogs in a makeshift pond right next to the North Sea and also came across a magnificent and rather large toad dominating the steps along the path.
I’ve seen a few frogs in the garden as I’ve been gardening and hopefully I’ll be able to give them a home soon as my plan is to dig a wildlife pond once draft one of the novel is complete.
I’ve decided to start writing a post every couple of weeks or so about the woods nearby. I found I was writing far too much setting in my novel, waffling on about skies and trees so I decided to put the urge to better creative use.
It’ll also help me to pull together some ideas for my next novel.
‘Lost in a Forest‘ is the first post. Enjoy!