Having heard that the nightingales were back at Castor Hanglands, I went for an afternoon walk round the site. I was quite shocked at how late everything was - the marsh orchids around the pond should start flowering in a couple of weeks, but they were tiny and look as though they won't be out for a month. After a winter of fairly heavy grazing, the grassland was very short, with only a few dandelions and daisies in bloom. The woodland was better, with stands of wood spurge among bluebells and greater stitchwort, and several glorious crab apple trees that may or may not be truly native.
Highlight of the afternoon was hearing the glorious song of a nightingale only a few metres from me, though completely hidden in a blackthorn thicket. This is one of the sites that we'll be visiting on a Fen Edge holiday Chris and I are leading in mid-May, so it's good to know that we're almost certain to hear them then!