Only a few people turned up today but we had a slow relaxing walk in the warm air and got to see some interesting wildlife. We came face to face with new life and death on the same walk. When we arrived at the wood where we begin our relaxation exercises I could hear loud calling from inside. On investigation we found loud calls coming out of a woodpecker’s hole in an oak tree. I then spotted a green woodpecker fledgeling clinging to the bark of another oak tree a few metres away. A third chick was also calling from higher up the tree. From the secrecy of some bushes we stood and watched as the baby woodpecker hopped and crawled vertically up the tree and into the branches above. We kept expecting the parents to turn up and give off warning calls but fortunately we had a few moments to watch the chick’s first experience out of the nest.

Later on we picked some bunches of elderflowers. I am going to make elderflower cordial for us all tomorrow and then bring some for everyone to drink next week. It is very easy to make and delicious when diluted with water. The very easy recipe is as follows.

Elderflower Cordial

Ingredients

Water 1.5 litresĀ 

Sugar 2.5kg

Organic lemons 2

25 flower heads, remove stalks

Also need

funnel, screw top bottles, muslin or jam strainer.

Camden tablets 2, for sterilising, optional

Instructions

Boil water in big saucepan and add sugar to dissolve.

Take off heat when all sugar is dissolved, let it cool a bit.

Add zest and sliced lemons, and flowers heads pulled off the green stalks.

Leave 24 h.

Strain using muslin or similarĀ 

Bottle in sterile bottles.

Drink soon by diluting the flavoured syrup with cold water.

We found a dead jay later on, which provoked an interesting discussion and attempted explanation of the cause of death. We had a chance to admire its distinctive blue banded wing feathers. Then towards the end of the walk we stood and listened to a linnet singing and then a reed bunting.