1st - A Brambling was spotted in the garden today, and a total of five species of finches were observed in the area (Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Siskin, & Brambling). Indeed today was a pleasant bright day, though quite chilly. A keen frost overnight.
2nd - A few Yellowhammers were heard singing in the fields this morning. In the garden a Brambling & Siskin’s were again seen.
3rd - Five Roe deer were seen out in the fields this morning, and Yellowhammers were again heard singing, despite the cold and frosty dawn. A spell of snow in the afternoon, quite heavy at times, with a covering of around two inches by 6 pm. Really sticky snow and the trees were covered like icing in no time. Fantastic.
4th - A cold day with a keen frost to start the day. Some snow showers too, one moderate to heavy around noon. Lying snow persisting all day in the shade.
5th - Milder today, with most of the remaining snow thawing. Still a few patches here and there though. A frost overnight. In the garden Siskin’s and the lone Brambling were again spotted.
6th - The Brambling & Siskin’s were again seen today, the current cold spell keeping them in the area. Indeed we have now had seven air frosts in a row, and the average minimum for March is just -2.7 C.
7th - Two Roe deer seen this morning out in the fields, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard at Keldmarsh. Two male Peacock’s were seen along Long Lane too. In the garden the Brambling & Siskin’s were spotted again.
11th, Lancashire - Travelled to Lancashire last night as Dad and I have come across to visit Leighton Moss and Martin Mere. Leighton Moss was a very pleasant reserve with a good variety of habitats and set in beautiful surroundings. Over forty species were seen today, with wildfowl well represented, including Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Shelduck, Pintail, Pochard, Gadwall, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, & Mute Swans, eleven species in total. Waders too fairly well represented with six species observed, including Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Redshanks, Curlews, Dunlin, & Black Tailed Godwits. We also had a fantastic view of a Kingfisher which hunted repeatedly by the waters edge. Passerines are also well represented around the reserve, as the mature woodlands and a number of feeding stations mean that good views can be attained. Species seen included a Jay, plus most tits. Also seen on the reserve were a few Red deer, including one which was sleeping fairly close to one of the hides. A fine start to the day.
We then headed south down to Martin Mere, the WWT reserve. The reserve is a mixture of wild lagoons, and a wildfowl collection, where species from around the world can be viewed in a number of different pens. Included amongst these were Red breasted Geese, Black Swans, Smews, Flamingos, & Crested Cranes. The wild part of the reserve is also good, and allows some very close views of a good variety of species, including some favourites like Whooper Swans, Pink footed Geese, & Pintails, as well as another seven species of wildfowl. Not much of note beyond the wildfowl but nevertheless it was a pleasant and fairly peaceful reserve, though not quite as good as old Welney. We did see a Marsh Harrier hunting over the marshes though, and I bought a second hand scope, a fantastic addition to my birding equipment. A good end to the day and we returned home during the evening.
12th - A spell of moderate snow in the afternoon, but not really settling and just leaving the odd slushy covering here and there.
13th - Seven Siskin’s on the feeders today.
14th - Moderate snow last night, with an inch of lying snow at dawn. Further snow in mid morning with two inches by noon. However rising temperatures would see most of the snow gone by nightfall. Went down to Swinemoor this morning where I saw three Roe deer, and on the floods there were good numbers of Golden Plovers.
16th - The Siskin’s & Brambling still about, and a single Herring Gull was in the local area and visited the neighbours bird table.
19th, Tophill Low - Visited this local reserve for the first time in many years, and it didn’t disappoint with a good variety of birdlife around. Wildfowl particularly well represented, including good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, & Pochard, plus less common species such as Goldeneyes & Ruddy ducks. A Tawny Owl was also heard calling in the woods, and on the shallow lagoons there were good numbers of Redshanks, & Snipe. A good morning.
24th - The Siskin’s, Brambling, & Herring Gull are still in the local area. In my spring bed the flowers are now looking quite wonderful, especially on the brighter days.
25th - Saw both my first Honey Bee, & Wasp of the year, as they were drawn out by the sunny and mild weather today.
26th - Saw my first Bumble Bee of the year. In the garden the Crocus’ are now at their best, and the daffodils are just starting to come into bloom. A few dwarf Tulips are also beginning to appear. The Snowdrops are still going strong, and also doing well still are the Primroses. Trees and shrubs are still on the whole bare, though the Hawthorn hedges are beginning to green, and the Elder’s are also leafing in a few areas. The Flowering Currant is out, and is also beginning to flower, whereas the Yew has now just about finished pollinating. The next door Copper Beech is also leafing now. Indeed spring seems to have really got going now, and when I was out in the garden, on a very mild and bright day, I came across my first Common Frog of the year.
Blacktoft Sands - Visited this RSPB reserve located on the south bank of the Humber, not far from Goole, for the first time. The weather was very pleasant for the trip with surprisingly warm sunshine, this even encouraging a Bumble Bee on to the wing. Indeed even a few early spring migrants were seen around the reserve, with the main highlight twenty or so Avocets, which apparently arrived in the middle of last week. However wildfowl are still around in good numbers and variety with twelve species, including Tufted duck, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck, Goldeneye, & Ruddy ducks. Waders also around in good numbers with Snipe, Oystercatchers, & Redshanks. A fine morning at this good estuarine reserve, with a total of thirty six species seen. Certainly worth future visits.
29th - A pleasant and sunny morning brought out more insects today, including my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year, and the first Seven spot Ladybird, as well as further sightings of Honey & Bumble Bee’s. Out in the fields I saw a Barn Owl hunting along Shepherd’s Lane, and near Black House Stables I saw up to four dozen Fieldfares. Around the Minster the Copper Beech is now coming into flower, as is the tree next door. The Siskin’s are still visiting the feeders, though the Brambling does seem to have moved on now.
A PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE today.
30th - Blossom continues to appear locally, with the shrubs at the north end of Long Lane now out. A Barn Owl was again seen today.
31st - Observed my first Peacock butterfly of the year in the garden. There were also a number of Bee’s about, and on the feeding station the Siskin’s were again seen.