Nature Notes

Nature Notes from Hilltop News

If you enjoy living or visiting the Chilterns you cannot fail to be impressed with the variety of landscape, wildlife and the particular weather it offers be it over the seasons of the year or just on a single day. What’s more on any given day, the countryside in which the hilltop villages nestle is often characterised by having its own micro-climate compared to the neighbouring towns and countryside beneath it. This in turn has influenced the composition of local habitats and the occurrence of wildlife.

No one set of eyes, ears and sense of smell can capture the essence of the natural history of the hilltop villages. The following nature notes first published in the Hilltop News are just a simple attempt to reflect on the flora and fauna we enjoy through the seasons.

These articles were previously published in “Hilltop News”.

Chris Brown
January 2004

December 2023 – What do the ruddock and Manx shearwater have in common?

October 2023 – More than you might think can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks

August 2023 – Grasshoppers go in many a thumming spring

June 2023 – Checkers and Chokers

April 2023 – Raising a cheer for the Snarly-Warlys

February 2023 – Mustelids, not such alien creatures

December 2022 – A foray with fungi

August 2022 – Seeing those ever-changing Chiltern views

June 2022 – What’s that which went hoot in the night?

April 2022 – The domain of insects

February 2022 – The bee’s knees

December 2021 – Nay, I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak

October 2021 – A foray for fungi

August 2021 – One Swallow Does Not a Summer Make

June 2021 – Taking some poetic licence with Speedwell and Liberty Caps

April 2021 – The best of both worlds

February 2021 – We are stardust!

December 2020 – Waiter, there’s a dipteran in my soup!

October 2020 – Observing Shakespeare’s Cytas, Puttocks, Muskets and Standgales

August 2020 – Three Butterflies all in a spin

June 2020 – Chick-chack

April 2020 – Those little brown jobs

February 2020 – A road less traveled

December 2019 – Peculiar habits

October 2019 – Ants in your pants

August 2019 – The very unnatural history of one local species

June 2019 – Keep off the grass

April 2019 – A Fuhsaz in the wood, a Moldwarp in the garden and a Sisemūs in the roof!

February 2019 – It’s about time!

December 2018 – Did you hear the one about the eccentric vicar?

October 2018 – Autumn in all five senses

August 2018 – A very peculiar English passion for plants and gardens

June 2018 – The day I met L. Hugh Newman and his Cabinets of Curiosity

April 2018 – Harbingers of Spring?

February 2018 – Wrong words, lost words, new words

December 2017 – The seeds of our own destruction

October 2017 – Beætle mania

August 2017 – Look out for the return of two top predators

June 2017 – Celebrating the making of the English landscape

April 2017 – a Clare vision of nature

February 2017 – Concluding with some weasel words

December 2016 – An autumn of leaves?

October 2016 – Hedgerows – not being ant-sized we miss so much

August 2016 – Poetry in monochrome – the nature of grey versus black

June 2016 – A natural history treasure

April 2016 – All about cuckoos in the nest and other more sinister happenings

February 2016 – The animated punctuation mark that does not eat shoots and leaves

December 2015 – As an ook cometh of a litel spyr

October 2015 – Unweaving the Rainbow

August 2015 – Sometimes Science Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction

June 2015 – “To sleep, perchance to Dream;…”

April 2015 – So Where Do Swallows Go In Winter and Eels Go To Spawn?

February 2015 – Hilltop Villages Noir

December 2014 – A Journey Through Trees

October 2014 – Roaming in the Chiltern Gloaming

August 2014 – The natural history of the Cosa Nostra’s invasion of the British Isles

June 2014 – Orange by any other name

April 2014 – Pissed as a Newt or Intoxicated as a Poet?

February 2014 – Turning over a new leaf

December 2013 – Vestiges of Ancient Customs in the Landscape and in our Seasonal Traditions

October 2013 – The curious incidence of the bark in the night-time and the colours in the autumn

August 2013 – The Hidden Natural History of an English Churchyard

June 2013 – The Beauty in Nature and The Poetry in Fibonacci’s Mathematics

April 2013 – A thousand acre sky

February 2013 – Just a word or two for yew: snotty-gog

December 2012 – Ashes to ashes

October 2012 – Some autumnal poetic licence

August 2012 – Water water everywhere…

June 2012 – It’s a jungle out there

April 2012 – Pimping reaches the Hilltop Villages!

February 2012 – Elementary my dear…

December 2011 – Reading the right signs and navigating Nature’s unmapped highways

October 2011 – The View from the other end of the telescope

August 2011 – Here Be Dragons or Excuse Me, Madam But There’s A Newt In Your Fruit Salad!

June 2011 – The Untamed Shrew, the Acrobatic Mouse and the Gardening Vole

April 2011 – Some musings on nature

February 2011 – Most glorious night! Thou wert not sent for slumber!

December 2010 – Four legs bad and two legs good

October 2010 – When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl

August 2010 – A song, a smell, the colour purple, and an ailing conker

June 2010 – After a winter whitewash, whither the wildlife; a wilderness of flowers and a whirring of insects?

April 2010 – The Taste of Spring

February 2010 – Patrolling in a dignified procession of one

December 2009 – Otherwise obscured or easily overlooked

October 2009 – A thousand shades of ochre, silver, emerald, smoky brass

August 2009 – September sights and sounds; spangling, semaphore, sheaves, shucks and swallows

June 2009 – Socialising – ‘Whilst many a mingled swarthy crowd – rook, crow, and jackdaw – noising loud’

April 2009 – In celebration of the beech!

February 2009 – Darwin’s legacy – if eaten, beetles can leave a bitter taste in the mouth

December 2008 – Three of a kind

October 2008 – Nature’s own autumnal aerial display – pioneering flyers, paragliders, hoverers, helicopters and parachutes

August 2008 – Stingers, Suckers, Biters and other pesky critters

June 2008 – Black is the new grey for the shadow-tailed one

April 2008 – Gowk, Har and Whin

February 2008 – Spinning a tale or two about the web of life

December 2007 – What’s black and white but read all over?

October 2007 – An Autumn Rainbow

August 2007 – B, Ef(t) and J – Just one Small Spoonful Of Nature’s Alphabet Soup

June 2007 – Revel in the wonders of slime

April 2007 – All simply in the springing of the year

February 2007 – The Hills Are Alive with the Smells of Nature

December 2006 – Ruddoc, Muntjac and Beefsteak; the Christmas Season with all the Trimmings

October 2006 – To Autumn: ”To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees…”

August 2006 – Fruits of the day, creatures of the night

June 2006 – In Celebration Of Old Moldewarp

April 2006 – All Creatures Great and Small…

February 2006 – As I walked out one evening…

December 2005 – White Christmas?

October 2005 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

August 2005 – Sunny Spells, Summer Smells

June 2005 – Bum barrels, bells and whistles

April 2005 – Now Appearing In The Countryside Near You

February 2005 – The Birds and the Bees!

December 2004 – A Seasons Greetings to visitors from near and far

October 2004 – Nature on your doorstop this autumn, or whose house is it anyway?

August 2004 – Stop, Look and Listen – Nature is evolving all around us

June 2004 – “We have a saying around these parts”

April 2004 – The Chilterns, a good place to visit but a great place to go native

February 2004 – The Weather, Nature’s Alarm Clock, Provides a Wake-up Call

December 2003 – The Sound of Silence at this time of year is truly deafening!

October 2003 – An Oktoberfest of activity and colour

August 2003 – Balance is everything but its also good to be a bit untidy sometimes

June 2003 – Phew! What a scorcher

April 2003 – Spring Into Action

March 2003 – A Climate of Change