Often called the ‘Cuckoo Flower’ Cardamine pratensis or ‘Lady’s Smock’can be found in wet meadows and pond margins. The plant can still be found in such places in the Humberhead Levels but sadly like so many meadow flowers it is not as common as it once was even, in my memory. The decline is due to loss of habitat, areas previously hosting this delicate plant have been been drained to facilitate increased agricultural intensification. There may be remnant meadows, hidden gems secreted away where this and other meadow species can still be found. Pastoral areas of the Doncaster borough still have some fields which retain hedges for stock and are cut for hay in summer months.
The Cuckoo Flower, so called as it is often in flower as the cuckoo arrives with us is the county flower of Breckonshire and Cheshire where it was called ‘Milkmaid’. The origins of the vernacular ‘Lady’s Smock’ is not as innocent as it might first appear?
Cuckoos have arrived with one logged on Hatfield Moors on 23 and on Thorne 28 April. Wheatears, hirundines and swifts too are here for the breeding season, all we await now is our nightjars and given that it appears to be an early season they probably won’t be too much longer. Recent early dates include 19 May 2013 on Crowle Moors.
Missing Hen Harriers & moorland (mis)management?
We seem to have lost the Hen Harriers for the summer season, with the last being seen on on Thorne Moors 19 April and 25 April on Hatfield Moors. As our wintering birds leave us for the uplands, let’s hope they avoid persecution which appears to remain rife in areas with managed grouse moors. Two items which may be of interest to readers relate to raptor persecution and the issue of moorland management and the EU! One is a quite astonishing piece of footage and equally astonishing is the various exchanges of correspondence it has generated not least on Avery’s blog and Raptor Persecution UK (formerly RP Scotland).
Will we ever get the 300+ pairs of Hen Harriers in the north of England that the habitat could host? Help get the deficit discussed in Westminster, if you’ve not already signed the Ban Driven Grouse Shooting epetition created by Mark Avery. It’s doing well nearing 34,000 but we need it to reach 100,000 soplease spread the word. Listen to the passion behind the message on the first HH Day in 2014 by Chris Packham, Mark Avery and Charlie Moores.
Realists will acknowledge that the epetion is unlikely to see a ban introduced, but if we can achieve the required 100k signatures then it might be discussed in Parliament. It is just one of the tools in the big box. Many of us know the sincerity of Ministers words from the variety of correspondence received, but for the Government to ignore its own words ….