Early-morning Pasqueflowers

For once I didn't return to bed after I'd dropped Ben off at 5 a.m., which meant I arrived at Barnack Hills and Holes before 6, when it was completely deserted. 

The dazzling early morning sun was soon engulfed by a bank of thin cloud coming in from the east, but at least this provided a gentle light for photographing the dew-covered pasqueflowers. They've been out for nearly a month, and while some have gone to seed, there are still a number which are still in bud. 

While the abnormally cool conditions have provided a prolonged flowering season for many spring species, they have also set back flowering in many species normally in bloom by mid-May such as horseshoe-vetch and purple milk-vetch. 

Castor Hanglands is also well behind normal, with no signs of any early marsh-orchids.  After the weekend's rain some of the paths are now impassable again. But I had a wonderful five minutes listening to a nightingale sing very close to me (and even caught a glimpse of it through the twigs) and found an alternative route for our visitors to take next week, which should have plenty of interest and not too much mud!

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