Friday, 10 May 2013

Come on you BLUES...

Caroline de Carle, Hickling Visitor Centre

Not the cries of a dedicated football fan - Norwich City Canaries followers will be please to hear - but a shout of delight as the blue hues of late spring start to appear.

The mellow yellows of March and April are still all around, with gorse in full flower, dandelions and lesser celandines colouring the hedgerows. But now the more subtle hues of blue are appearing to compliment the clear blue skies above NWT Hickling Broad national nature reserve...
Although primarily a wetland reserve, Hickling does have stands of mature oak and here you can find one of our loveliest spring flowers. Not in profusion, but bluebells are starting to appear along with other blue species such as dog violets and another, perhaps lesser known flower, gound ivy. Combining with the gentle yellow of primroses and bright, white stitchwort, the effect is stunning.
Holly blue butterfly, photo by Bob Carpenter
In the insect world, blue is in fashion too. Holly blue butterflies are our earliest emerging blue species and can be seen bustling around not only holly, but many other plant species and is a very common sight in gardens too. On warmer days, common blue and blue-tailed damselflies emerge from their watery nursery and grace us with their iridescent beauty.
We cannot forget the birds and talking of iridescent, one immediately thinks of the magnificent blue/green of a kingfisher. They are here in small numbers and can most often be seen on the Broad itself, so it is really worthwhile booking one of our boat trips. On a smaller scale but no less lovely, blue tits are busily making homes in nest boxes around the visitor centre, so let's hope they have a bumper year with lots of chicks.
Blue is a word to describe sorrow and feeling sad, but on a sunny day in May at Hickling, it is joyous.

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