Changing Seasons – May

Month five of my photographer’s nature journal.


And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent
spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song
twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

~ Robert Browning

Ah, May.  How glorious a month you are. The first week heralded a mini heat-wave in most of the UK with temperatures soaring over the May Day weekend. I say ‘most’ because down here in the south-west we were plagued by yet another coastal sea fret that clung to most of the county for four days. I headed inland on one of those days where it was very warm and sunny, and fortunately the fog cleared up on the hill even though there were no views to be seen from there.

On 7th May I heard my first cuckoo. Echoing out from somewhere over the hills, the sound that heralds spring.  Later than usual, or perhaps I have not been listening.

Cuckoo, bring your song here!
Warrant, Act and Summons, please,
For Spring to pass along here!

In early May the cow parsley and other umbellifers (Alexanders, Wild Carrot, Common Hogweed) were beginning to emerge, but it was the bright buttercups and the continuing greening of the hedgerows and trees that were most noticeable. Hawthorn and cherry blossom replaced the Blackthorn.


On 10th May swifts were spotted and the bats returned to the courtyard. The birds are busy now, serenading their would-be partners, blackbirds and robins the most tuneful. And on 18th I was mesmerised by a charm of Goldfinches in the garden, fighting over the feeders and chasing one another around the tree canopy. Bullocks and cows are back in the fields, and for three days and nights the farmyard was filled with the bellowing and snorting and lowing of cattle.

By the end of the month after some rain and lots of sunshine the whole landscape has totally changed. After spring’s cold start, May has been just one thing after another, the lanes are now a froth of burgeoning  cow parsley, threaded through with a tapestry of red campions,  the deep violet-blue of the English bluebells, curly dock; stitchwort glistening in the shade of the tall trees; ferns unfolding, buttercups rampaging and dandelions making the most of the warmth to flower and set seed; their clocks waiting for the breeze to carry the tiny parachutes away.

The Changing Seasons | May


  1. Ali says:

    Jude, your photos are stunning. Do you ever enter any competitions? Or sell them?

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Ali, you are very kind. And the answer is Sometimes and No.

  2. pommepal says:

    A beautiful, beautiful post Jude, singing of the English countryside in spring and actually making me feel homesick. Love the snippets of poetry you scatter through and that last photo makes me want to reach for my pencil and paints it just says “Spring”

    1. Heyjude says:

      I like the last photo too – spotted the composition returning home. The combination of the white-washed walls, the rusty gate and the cow parsley just screamed ‘Cornwall’ to me.

  3. restlessjo says:

    Found you! 🙂 🙂 That not your place in the last shot then, Jude? Engulfed in the foliage. 🙂 I love the way it’s all just romped away this May. We have a clematis Montana on the adjoining fence and it’s normally my deadly enemy but even I have to smile at it this year. You do like a bit of Browning. All very poetic and pastoral. 🙂 And here comes June!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Sshh… don’t say it too loudly, I don’t want spring to end. Half way through the year already doesn’t seem possible.

  4. What a beautiful set of photos – magnificent flowers, shrubs and hedgerows. It certainly looks much warmer and sunnier than when we visited the UK in March in the midst of the “Beast From The East”! It’s raining heavily here and we have the wood fire burning! Enjoy the sunshine 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      The sunshine is lovely, the humidity not so much. We’re never satisfied here in the UK!

      1. I never liked the UK summers with the humidity and wasps! We had Perth’s coldest day yesterday for 7 years apparently – it was very wet and miserable. Overnight was 4.5 degrees but I love being rugged up indoors and lighting the wood fire (though I had to be out and about all afternoon). I hope the sunny weather continues for you! 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          Been dull and overcast all week and warm / humid. Can’t even sit outside and read in this! But I have been enjoying the French Open (tennis).

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