On my daily hour's fitness walks around a couple of local tree-fringed green oases, I enjoyed the wonderful weather in April.

The natural world benefitted too. The air was cleaner and clearer so even the stars were visible overhead!

Wild flowers appeared in profusion from bluebells, lawn daisies, humble but valuable dandelions, buttercups, speedwell and some scarcer species including star of Bethlehem.

Birdsong was exceptional, helped by less road traffic. Blackbird, chaffinch, blackcap, garden warbler, goldfinch and even the occasional greenfinch were prominent.

Butterflies too enjoyed the month. Holly blue, orange tip, small and green-veined whites especially appeared in larger number then usual. On one occasion I watched four small whites whirling around each other for a couple on minutes but they must have been all males as they eventually split apart and no couplings ensued.

Another very common insect this spring is the hoverfly. Sitting in my garden one warm afternoon I watched three hoverflies poised above me motionless in mid air under the trees. They command small territories and dash about intercepting other hoverflies infiltrating their airspace but always return to their favoured locations to continue hovering, sometimes descending to feed on nectar from surrounding flowers. A large population of hoverflies is good news because their larvae consume vast numbers of greenfly and aphids, also common, so are true friends of gardeners.

So, for wildlife, April was a most productive month Pictured is an orange tip butterfly on garlic mustard framed against a backdrop of bluebells.