28th February, Terry Laney calls with a sighting of Humming-bird Hawk-moth off South Close. We speculate whether this individual hibernated as an adult or as a pupae which has hatched due to the mildness. A few winters ago I dug out a bit off a dew pond at Cotton End Park. It has water in over the winter months but tends to be dry during the summer. I check it this morning and see half a dozen clumps of Frog spawn laid over several days.
27th February, the Woodpigeons are mating on next-doors tv ariel and it bows under the pressure, then twangs alarmingly when they leap off. On the Three Bridges Road I see a male Kestrel drift in and onto a perching female, mating is brief, he doesn’t actually settle on her, but wings open is away within seconds amid a lot of scolding calls from the her.
26th February, 2 Small Tortoiseshells chase each other over the burgeoning Nettle bed at CEP, and the Aconites and Snow Drops are fully open. 2 Reports of active Hare’s from Foxhill Road and Brington Road. Small Tortoiseshell reported from Harbidges Lane. Reports also of soaring, mewing Buzzards around the village.
24th February, I see Brimstone on Armley, a male busy looking for a female. Mike and Beth see one off High Stack. CEP has Fieldfares, and singing Skylark, Chaffinch, and Reed Bunting. 1 Snipe is seen.
22nd February, the mildness is coaxing out lots of insects, and Bumblebees and Ladybirds are about. Skylark and Blackbird and singing, and a cockerel is crowing at 0400hrs, which is bit too keen. I’m awake because a bit of jet-lag. A Mistle Thrush is singing beautifully at Cotton End, and a Song Thrush is singing not a hundred yards away. I love the songsters and decide to have dawn chorus session this spring. May 5th is International Dawn Chorus Day so if you fancy joining me at Mill Park between 0500hrs and 0730hrs on that Sunday, I’ll identify what we can hear.
21st February, Brian rescues more Newts from drains, this time 8 juvenile and 1 male Great-crested. Goldcrest reported singing on West Street. Canada Geese noted at the pond near Oak Tree Farm.
20th February, Carrie gives me a second-hand report of a dead Otter from the stream towards the sewage works near the motorway.
17th February, David sees a Bat at dusk on High Stack.
15th February, Brian reports an active Hedgehog from South Close, and rescues a female Smooth Newt from a drain on Berryfield.
10th February, David sees a Little Egret, Jay, Muntjac and 3 Hares from the Brington Road. Oddly Mild weather.
8th February, Barn Owl now regularly reported from Foxhill Road, sightings are anywhere from Grange Farm to past Foxhill Farm.
7th February, there is a point where the wintering thrushes have stripped all of the available berries from the hedges and then take to the village gardens. Of course they spend a lot of time spread across the pastures and meadows as well, and now is the time for them to re-flock ready for the steady move north.