April is almost here! With the end of March and it's wind and rain, the promise of April awaits. Let's hope it gets a bit drier.

Warmer days, more hours of daylight bring the peak of dawn chorus bird song. It's well worth the early rising to be outside to hear the almost orchestral sound. Download the Merlin app to identify which birds you can hear.

The blackthorn is in bloom, seeming like snow fall on dark branches. Hawthorn blossom is out too. The former flowers before the leaves are out, the latter, after the leaves.

The thorns of the blackthorn were historically to make carding tools for processing wool as well as to make fish hooks.

Young, bright green hawthorn leaves, known as bread and cheese in some parts of the country, are a spring edible. Lovely in a salad, these can also be used to make a tea.

April also brings the St George's mushroom, so called for its emergence around St George's Day. Creamy white and nestling in the grass of paddocks, woodland margins and pastures, these are a delicious addition to a cooked breakfast. This mushroom has a spherical and bumpy cap, whitish stem and gills. The gills are crowded and start to be irregular near the stem.

With all wild foods, be certain before consuming and don't overpick. Only pick where there is public access or where you have permission to be.

Helen Shalders

Wayfarers Outdoors

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