30th March, at Cotton End Park I wonder whether the Snipe is still in residence but don’t have the heart to disturb the Moorhens. Then a pair of Mallard swim to the back of the pond and up gets a Snipe. I find 2 Snakes-head Fritillary flowers which Mike introduced a couple of years ago, more appear from the grass, quite beautiful. Meadow Pipit over high, heading North, as are the chattering Fieldfares.
29th March, the Brington Road seems to be the place to go as David sees 6 Hares and several Lapwing, Tom sees a Hare and 2 Jay, and Cath sees 4 Lapwings and a Chiffchaff. I see 2 Bee-fly which is a first for March, as I normally see them well into next month. Peacock, Brimstone and Comma seen.
28th March, Laura sends me an image of the new pottery stamp for our CEP pots. Rolf holds out a pot with 2 big insects in. They are new to me and Tom suggests they are a Shield-bug. I visit the books but no luck, and have to resort to the internet. They are Western Conifer Seed Bugs, (a bit like a Shield-bug) from the good old U, S, of A.
25th March, we visit Peter and Jennifer at Grange Farm and over tea and cake see close views of Nuthatch and Coal Tit on the feeders. Back at base Maggie and I see a small white Butterfly go by and it looks like Green-veined White. Geoff reports Hares, and Cassie reports a Blackbird with white flecks in its plumage.
24th March, at CEP we are finishing the new Adventure Trail and have time to see and or hear 2/3 Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Buzzards, Kestrel, 2 Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Great and Coal tit, and about 90 Fieldfare. A Peacock Butterfly is a first for the year for me. Having found several feathers and regurgitated pellets over the last year or so I am convinced a Barn Owl is now a regular visitor to the park, and we decide to extend the wildlife area to give it more undisturbed feeding area.
23rd March, two male Wrens are battling using song in the gardens behind my house. They are loud and fierce, and sit high on the hedge risking all to claim the patch. Another Chiffchaff off Brington Road, and off Foxhill Road, 10 Linnets, 2 Greenfinch, and a flyover Meadow Pipit are noted by Kevin’s Barn. A wander down Lodge Lane finds 3 Fieldfare, Chaffinch, and singing Dunnock.
22nd March, Another Reed Bunting reported is probably indicative of the period after winter but before spring known as the hunger gap. The food supply provided by last year’s natural countryside is largely exhausted and many animals seek supplementary food from us.
20th March, a Chiffchaff (the first summer migrant) is singing in the Poplar plantation behind Armley. A male Brimstone is reported, and a Blackbird is seen carrying nesting material. Jo has a male Reed Bunting in her garden off Syers Green.
18th March, there is a singing Greenfinch in the trees behind the Baptist Church on Market place, and a Pied Wagtail is running around between the parked cars. Tom and I see a Little Egret flying over the Three Bridges Road and then up and over Hoborough Hill. I find a perfect Periwinkle flower which shouts spring.
13th March, Richard reports Woodcock, Little Egret, and Greylag Goose from off the Brington Road. He also sees a pair of Lapwing in fields behind the railway there.
12th March, Fieldfares are thinning out now from hundreds to dozens, and they are sporting a richly coloured summer plumage. Yellowhammer and Goldcrest noted in song. I feed sheep and note some good growth in the grass.
10th March, there are still a few Gulls left around the parish and some of the Black-headed Gulls are acquiring their beautiful dark brown hoods. Frogs-spawn reported on grass verge makes me wonder whether the female just didn’t get to a pond in time or perhaps a bird had removed it from the water to eat it. The Rooks at Vanderplanks Covert are not happy with a Raven which appears overhead, and several go up to escort it from their airspace.
9th March, 3 Greenfinch and a singing Chaffinch at CEP. The village is full of blossom, and the magnificent Magnolias are ready to burst.
8th March, Red Kites suddenly become more visible and so do Buzzards. The sustaining or creating of new feeding territory prior to breeding is all consuming.
5th March, Alan sees a female Siskin on his feeders down at the Wharf. This maybe the one and only report for this winter as they migrate north to their breeding grounds.