Wednesday, 9 April 2008

March's Local Sightings.

March was a funny month, moments of bright sunshine and relative warm weather gave the feeling that it could be an early spring, Daffodils had long since flowered and now showed a recline into a dormant state as the weather turned cold. The evenings started drawing out and it certainly felt that Spring wasn't too far round the corner but little did we know only a few weeks later that snow would be on it's way.

There were signs that bird species were beginning to pair up, many of the Tit families were already inspecting nest sites and boxes, a female blackbird was collecting nest material from the garden at the end of the month and even Red Kites were seen soaring overhead with sticks in their talons, both Crows & Rooks were well underway with reconstruction of their noisy dwellings. The single Marsh Tit continued making daily visits to the feeders throughout the month along with a pair of Nuthatches that are often seen together in and around the garden, Goldcrest are now regularly in the trees by the garden and their contact calls can be heard almost day-long. 2 Male & 1 female Great spotted woodpeckers are regular visitors to the nut feeders and a Song Thrush has been in good voice throughout the month. A pair of Red-legged Partridges have been seen on a number of occasions around and in the garden and the Male Pheasant now has a harem of 4 females with him and has taught at least 2 of them to use the bird feeders. The Jackdaws have returned to their early morning assault on the bird feeders as they seem to around this time every year, love them to bits but their noisy arguing at 6am it's getting to me, so if it's not the Squirrels it's the Jackdaws. Both Kestrel & Sparrowhawk regular sightings around the garden.

After hearing Tawny Owls calling most nights at the beginning of March they soon fell silent, perhaps an indication that they have already paired up and are ready to breed, there seems to be a good Vole & Mouse population here at the moment and hopefully this will aid all the Owls this year. The resident Little Owls have been laying low again, only a few sightings and the odd call heard, probably for the same reason as the Tawny Owls but they don't seem to be using the nest box i put up. The pair of Little Owls at the top of Shogmoor Lane are still present often sat on top of the barn roof. I finally managed to locate one of the local Barn Owls at the end of March near Parmoor, this now means I know of 3 locations where I have seen them in the past few years and it will be interesting to find out if these territories are all occupied during breeding season.

On the 31st of March I was lucky enough to find a Chiffchaff calling from the end of the garden, no doubt a migrant and my first this year in the garden.

Areas of the flower beds have been dug up to expose bulbs and a few holes left in the lawn leads me to believe at least one Badger has returned, a small hole in the centre of the earth where the grass has been removed usually signifies where a worm has been pulled from the ground, the damp weather has obviously brought the worms to the surface making easy pickings. As fast as i covered the soil over in the flowerbeds the faster it got dug up again, i gave up in the end.

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