Also known as Ramsons, Buckrams, Broad-leaved Garlic, Wood Garlic, Bear Leek, Bear's Garlic
An early spring flowering herbaceous perennial, common throughout the UK, and can also be found around Europe and Asia. You will know when your near a colony of Wild Garlic plants, there will be the strong smell of garlic in the air. Related to Chives, and just as edible, Wild Garlic bulbs have a strong flavour, while the leaves a milder taste, the flowers which can also be eaten also have a strong flavour.
The plant starts to grow in Winter and flowering with the arrival of spring, just when most plants are starting to bloom once Summer arrives, the Wild Garlic plants starts to die off. The plant can be found growing in woodland areas, likes a bit of shade although can grow in full shade and likes soil to be on the moist side, can be found growing near carpets of Bluebells, both like similar conditions including slightly acidic soil.
A native herbaceous perennial plant that grows in the spring, unusually the Butterbur produces its flowers first before any greenery, once the flowers have reached their peak, only then does the plant put its energy into leaf production, most other plants produce leaves or greenery first and then the flowers.
The Common Butterbur is also known by other names which include Bog rhubarb, Devil's hat and Pestilence wort, in the wild the large leaves of the Butterbur could be mistaken for Rhubarb, the flowers are usually purple in colour, can be white, taller flowers tend to female, in fact male and female are on seperate plants.
The leaves are quite large, with some reaching at least 2 feet across, and more than a 3 feet in height, the plant is found growing mainly in damp, wet or shaded areas, especially around ponds, canals, lakes and marshy areas, even along pathways and roads.
The Coot as it is commonly known, is a member of the Rail and Crane family, closely related to another waterfowl bird the Moorhen. The Coot is about the size of a medium sized chicken, while the moorhen is a bit smaller. They are black/Dark grey in colour with a strong white beak, it also has a featherless white patch just above the beak, this gave rise to a favourite saying "Bald as a Coot" in medieval times. It's feet are webbed, although the webbing is more like a frilly fringe around it's toes, the webbed feet help the coot when walking in the margins or diving underwater, it can dive up to 2 metres in search of food. The coot does have wings, but is a clumsy flyer, if you watch them on ponds and lakes, you will see them flapping their wings frantically but only just skimming on top of the water in a series of hops, a bit like walking on water. If they do fly it may be at night when less predators are about.
Is the largest of the European grebes, it is a migratory bird that comes here to escape the extreme cold in some western european countries, and also too breed. Well distributed throughout the western world, there are 22 species of grebe, dotted around the UK, you are likely to see 5 species of these winter visitors, the Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black-Necked Grebe, Red-Necked Grebe and the Slavonnian Grebe.
The grebe is an excellent swimmer and can stay under water for nearly a minute, in pursuit of it's main diet of fish, Crustaceans including (Crayfish and Shrimp), sometimes Amphibians, Molluscs and Insects also eaten. Grebes have their legs towards the back of body, which is a great benefit when in the water, but pretty useless when it comes to walking, you will rarely see a grebe on land, on the nest at breeding time is when you will see how clumsy they are moving out of the water.
You might be forgiven for not noticing this historic grade 2 listed building, set in the middle of Clayton Park on Ashton New Road, Clayton, Manchester.
Clayton Hall has been saved from demolition and restored by a group of dedicated volunteers and now enjoys life as a Victorian show home, it is used for educational purposes by the local schools and the public.
The original hall was built around the 15th century, much of the building has been rebuilt since then, the oldest surviving part of the building is to the right and dated from the 16th century, with the newer part on the left from the 18th century. The oldest surviving part is actually the sandstone bridge dated late medieval.
A large white water bird seen all year round, it is a native species of the UK and Europe, fossil remains from as early as 6,000 years ago have been found. The second largest water bird behind the Trumpeter Swan, in actual fact it can be the bigger of the two because it has a bigger body mass and can be heavier than a Trumpeter. They are easily distinguished from other swans by the orange and black bill and the rounded black knob on top of the bill, this is larger in the males, and females are slightly smaller, although it's hard to tell until they are out of the water.
Typically Mute Swans start mating from spring through too early summer, the pairing couple will probably stay together for life, or until one of them dies. Their nests can be a large mound of grasses, reeds, roots, plants, sticks and twigs, usually near to land in the shallows. The female swan called a Pen will lay between 4 to 7 greyish eggs, which will hatch about 6 weeks later. The male swan called a Cob will alternate with the female incubating the eggs, once the eggs hatch the young swans are known as cygnets, and both parents will look after them, the Cob and Pen will be extremely aggressive towards anything that approaches the cygnets, including humans.