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March 2009

1st - The Mistle Thrush was singing beautifully this morning atop the Beech tree.

2nd - A pair of Goldcrests were at the feeding station this morning. The spring bed in still looking quite wonderful, and I added some more Primroses this morning, and as I did there were quite a few Honey Bees about, and I also saw my first Bumble Bee of the year.

6th - The Narcissi are now coming into flower in the garden, and just the odd Daffodil is also beginning to bloom, though the majority are still a few weeks away. Outside the front door the Dwarf Tulips are coming out.

North Cave Wetlands - A quiet afternoons birding on a lovely early spring day, with largely clear blue skies and just the odd fluffy cloud here and there. A chill breeze though. A few spring signs amongst the reserves birdlife as Great Crested Grebes were seen displaying at one point, and their numbers have now increased to at least four. Little Grebes also heard calling, and two Ringed Plovers were seen. The Oystercatchers have likewise returned, with up to thirty seen, and the Shelduck’s are still around in good numbers, though they have slightly reduced since our last visit. The Skylarks were singing over the nearby fields, and amongst the Black headed Gulls many have now developed their breeding plumage, and indeed many were seen displaying today and making quite a din. Relics of winter remain too though, with a flock of Siskins still hanging around the feeders on the eastern side of the reserve, and Redshanks were also seen in very good numbers around the reserve, with fifty at the very least. Another highlight today was a Red Kite which was seen just to the north east of the area. Amongst the reserves trees and shrubs spring signs are beginning to appear, with the Alders & Sallow now in full flower.

7th - A good number of Black headed Gulls have now developed their breeding plumage. At Newbiggin Pit’s a Crow was heard displaying.

8th - A heavy hail/pellet shower around 2pm, with even a rumble of thunder too. A temporary covering of hail on most surfaces after the shower.

Bratt Wood - A pleasant walk on a sunny and breezy morning in this most pleasant area on the western edge of the Wolds. Some spring signs in the woods, with the Dog’s Mercury now coming up widely, and in some areas the Ramsons (Wild Garlic) is also emerging, though no perfume yet. The Elders are just beginning to leaf, but on the forest floor there are no signs of the Primroses or Violets yet. Not many birds about, though Yellowhammers were heard in song, and on the journey back home a Red Kite was seen between Warter and Middleton. A fine morning.

9th - Early leaves just beginning to appear in the Hawthorn hedge at the top of Winchester Avenue. Quite a few Greenfinches heard singing this morning too.

10th - The Forsythia next door is just beginning to come into flower.

11th - Gave the lawn its first mow of the year.

12th - Good bird song this morning, particularly Blackbirds. In the afternoon a very handsome cock Pheasant was seen in the garden, feeding on fallen seed from the bird feeders.

Flamborough Head & Bempton Cliffs - Paid a visit to the seabird colony at Bempton Cliffs for the first time this calendar year. Most birds now back, with Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins, & Fulmars, though the Kittiwakes weren’t to be seen, bar one single bird which was picked out from amongst the crowd. It was a pleasant bright day, though there was a fresh and chilly north westerly breeze. After finishing off here we went down to Flamborough to enjoy some fish and chips. Jolly pleasant indeed.

13th - Lambs now appearing in the local fields.

14th - The Pheasant remains in the area, as it was heard a number of times around dawn. Later a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen at the feeding station, and Goldfinches made a welcome return to the Niger feeders. Amongst the garden plants I now notice that budburst is apparent on the Crab Apple & Copper Beech trees.

15th - Saw my first White butterfly of the year, on what was a beautiful and indeed quite warm day, especially out of the breeze.

Thixendale - A most lovely walk in this particularly fine area of the high Wolds, on a gorgeous sunny and quite mild day. Out of the wind it was almost summer-like. Out in the fields Hares were to be seen widely, and also seen displaying over the area were Lapwings. Lots of Yellowhammers heard and seen in the scrublands and hedgerows, and heard in the area were at least a couple of calling Curlews, an always welcome and enjoyable sound. A decent flock of Meadow Pipits were also seen along the walk, and throughout the morning the sound of singing Skylarks accompanied us. A great morning with spring truly under way now.

16th - A wonderful dawn chorus this morning, the first really good one of the year. In the local area daffodils are now widely out, and the first signs of the Copper Beech blossom are now appearing. The weather today was particularly pleasant, especially in the morning.

17th - The Pheasant was heard in the area again today, and later in the day a fine pair of Bullfinches were seen nibbling on the Crab Apple and Copper Beech blossom buds.

18th - The Bullfinch pair seen again.

19th - The female Bullfinch was seen today, but there was no sign of the male. In the garden the flowers are continuing to come out, with the daffodils now at their best, and the garden Violets are also appearing. In the local hedgerows the Hawthorns are widely leafing, and the first Blackthorn blossom is beginning to show. Things are rapidly moving along now, encouraged no doubt by the current settled, bright, and mild conditions.

20th - The leaves of some local Horse Chestnuts are now just starting to emerge, and today was greeted, as have most recent mornings, with a fine dawn chorus.

21st - A beautiful and sunny spring day, with a number of Bumble Bees on the wing, and Dad saw both a Brimstone & Peacock butterfly in the garden.

22nd, Nunburnholmewold - Another pleasant spring morning walk in this beautiful part of the western Wolds. The Red Kites were quite apparent, with at least three birds seen, and a Buzzard was also seen later along the walk. In the arable fields the Hares were widely about, and soaring above the fields were fine singing Skylarks. In the wood a pair of Bullfinches were seen, and a few Woodpeckers were heard drumming, while on the woodland floor the Dog’s Mercury and the Celandines are now out. In the low fields around the village lambing was widely in evidence, with some very new lambs to be seen, and at the farm itself there was a triplet of very recently born lambs, perhaps no more than minutes old when we a spied them. An interesting and fine morning on a largely sunny and clement day.

23rd - A strong and gusty wind today, gusting up to 50 knots at one point.

24th - The local Forsythia’s are now at their glorious best, and can be seen throughout the gardens of the parish. Daffodils are also at their best, adding to the yellow spectacle around the area. In the garden this morning the Pheasant could be heard nearby, and there was a Great tit making a call that I have never heard before, which was notably loud for such a small bird.

26th - Windy again today, with gusts in excess of gale force during the afternoon, and some hail showers.

27th - Some of the yellow Tulips are now in flower.

29th - The local Field Maples are starting to come out, and on the Westwood the Wood Anemone’s are now out in small patches. Indeed the Westwood is now starting to look towards its best, with the gorse now widely coming out, and with the glorious weather today it was most pleasant.

Bishop Wilton - A lovely walk on a beautiful morning in this north western corner of the Yorkshire Wolds. The low fields were still covered in frost from last night, while on the field tops the sun shone down quite gloriously and it was pleasantly warm, despite a cool breeze. Spring is continuing apace, with Ramsons (Wild Garlic) now giving off wafts of perfume from the woods, though they are not in flower just yet, and the Dogs Mercury & Violets are now well in evidence. The fresh greening grass is a delight to walk upon at this time of year, and was especially so with the warm spring sun and Skylarks singing high above us today. Indeed the view from the tops today was particularly fine with the Pennines clearly obvious to the west, and likewise the Moors to the north. Coming back down the hill a couple of Small Tortoiseshells were seen beside the road, and a Woodpecker was heard drumming in the woodland. A truly wonderful morning and a sheer delight to be out and about in our fine land.