Outlook Issue 19 Spring 2015
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Nature Notes
13     Nature  Notes     O  sing  to  the  Lord  …..  Declare  his  glory  among  the  nations,     his  marvellous  works  among  all  the  peoples!    Psalm  96     On  our  recent  prayer  walk,  over  flat  Suffolk  farmland,  praying  for  local  people   and  creation  specifically,  we  were  treated  to  several  sightings  of  crowded   snowdrops,  pure  white,  unmistakable.  One  patch  was  basking  in  the  sunshine,   close  to  an  Ash  wood.  Ash  trees,  their  smooth  grey  bark  with  coal-­‐black  buds,   which  alternate  in  pairs,  were  flailing  the  fresh  air.  Are  all  Ash  trees  doomed,   now  that  Ash  Die-­‐Back  is  rampant?  The  search  for  exotic  plants  to  enhance  our   gardens  has  probably  imported  all  sorts  of  botanical  disease  on  root  and  leaf.       Holly  berries  were  evident,  still  adhering  to  the  twigs,  which  might  tell  of  a   plenteous  food  store  for  birds  and  mice.  The  Holly  still  ‘bears  the  crown’.  Elder   leaves  were  showing;  Birch  buds  swelling.  Hedgerow  Hawthorns  were   displaying  green  leaf  tufts  of  ‘Bread  and  Cheese’.  In  damp  areas  of  the  walk,   Pussy  Willow,  waiting  for  Palm  Sunday,  was  in  bloom,  as  were  Hazel  catkins.       A  solitary  Bumble-­‐Bee  overtook  us.  Although  the  sun  was  shining,  there  had   been  overnight  rain,  creating  mud  on  the  path,  in  which  could  be  seen  the  ‘slots’   (hoof-­‐prints)  of  Fallow  Deer,  leading  to  and  from  the  woodlands.  Also  visible  was   the  neat,  sharp  imprint  of  the  Muntjac  deer’s  hoof.  This  deer  is  an  import  to  this   country  from  the  Far  East.       In  the  woods  were  large  patches  of  Dog’s  Mercury   (pictured),  some  in  flower,  a  species  indicator  of   ancient  woodlands,  and  common  in  East  Anglian   woods.  And  pale  Primroses,  not  ‘on  the  path  of   dalliance’,  but  close  to  the  footpath,  offering  hope.       Woodland  birds   There  was  a  Green  Woodpecker,  the  ‘Wood  Devil’,   whose  call  and  drilling  noises  are  unique.  A  variety   of  Titmice  and,  especially  pleasing,  several  Long-­‐tailed  Tits,  flitting  in  the  Birch   tree  tops.  Wrens,  mouse-­‐like,  small,  their  Latin  name  translating  as  ‘cave   dwellers’.  The  ubiquitous  Robin,  loved  and  adored  by  all.  In  smart  black  and   white  soccer  strip  were  a  pair  of  Magpies  –  ‘two  for  joy’?  Entertaining  us  was  a   Lark,  singing  in  ‘the  clear  air’.  And,  joy  of  joys,  two  Buzzards  above  us,  drifting,   soaring,  free  as  air,  not  a  worldly  care,  displaying  for  our  delight!  Humankind  can   envy  their  freedom.  There  was  more!  A  Gorse  bush,  dressed  overall  in  green  and   gold,  in  flower,  every  month  of  each  year,  reminding  us  of  the  constancy  and   brilliance,  of  God’s  love.   Michael Stagg