Walking along a hedgerow, especially a blackthorn hedge on a warm sunny spring day can be a most rewarding experience.

Little furry brown bee-flies looking like miniature humming birds hover in front of the massed dazzling white blossom, their long probices imbibing nectar, their rapidly whirring wings emitting a high-pitched whining sound.

Butterflies, including peacock (pictured), small tortoiseshells and commas love the linear aspect of a blackthorn hedge and patrol up and down searching for mates before perching on the short grass alongside the hedge, wings spread flat absorbing heat.

When a rival flies near they dash up to intercept and the pair spiral around each other, rising higher and higher until eventually they split apart and dive back to earth. Fascinating to watch.

Much later in summer the blackthorn plays host to yet another butterfly, namely the rather attractive but scarce brown hairstreak that can be found in some stretches of blackthorn around London and Surrey.

They are on the wing during August and September but are rather elusive, spending much time high up in tree canopies feeding on aphid honeydew.

Females lay tiny round eggs on blackthorn twigs quite deep within the bushes but are relatively easy to spot which means that predators such as blue tits and other small birds may feast on the eggs.