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March 2014

8th, Moths
On Saturday night the moth trap was put out and after a few frustrating nights earlier in the year when the trapped remained empty, last night proved far more productive with a total of seven moths being uncovered when the trap was opened up early on Sunday morning. All of them were typical early moths with a couple of macro species, Clouded Drab (x2), which incidentally was the first macro I recorded last year, and Common Quaker (x2), while the two micro species were Common Plume (x2) and a single Agonopterix heracliana.

Meanwhile the weather today was absolutely stunning, as it seems to have been right across England, with wall to wall sunshine and temperatures reaching an impressive 16.8 C (62.2 F). This strong spring sunshine meant that butterflies made a welcome return and no less than five species were recorded on the wing with Peacock (x5), Small Tortoiseshell (x4), Brimstone (x6), Comma (x2) and even a single Small White. Considering that up until today I had not seen any butterflies this year I was both overjoyed and somewhat surprised by the numbers on show.

The birds and the bees also provided plenty of interest today, the birds being in particularly fine song and providing a beautiful soundscape while I lazed in the spring sunshine (the sun even being strong enough to redden my pasty northern skin). I even half expected to hear a Chiffchaff, though I think that it is perhaps a little early for them up here just yet.

Cycling along the country lanes it has been cheering to see that already some of the hedgerows are already beginning to green, while atop many of them Yellowhammers call out their characteristic song, a sound which for me marks the true beginnings of spring in this corner of the world. Blossom is also appearing now with Cherry Plum in flower while other early flowering trees are also starting to show delicate white and pink blooms, a wonderful sight and one which gladdens my heart immensely.

9th, Tundale & Frendal Dale
Today we enjoyed a welcome return to my beloved Yorkshire Wolds (my health has not been brilliant lately hence the lack of walks and whatnot) and with clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-teens it was like walking in heaven with not a soul to disturb us. I had intentionally chosen a walk which, for the most part, very few people know about and as we made our way up Frendal Dale, which incidentally is probably my favourite spot in the whole of East Yorkshire, I gazed down on a corner of the world which I know like the back of my hand. Indeed should my own demise come earlier than I would wish I do hope that my earthly remains will be scattered high upon this hillside so that my spirit may dwell in these 'delectable mountains' for ever more.

The annual spectacle of the Snowdrops in nearby Tun Dale wood was as good as ever, though most of the flowers are now past their best, whilst in sunny spots the sun-like flowers of Celandines provided further welcome colour which warmed my winter weary heart. A number of butterflies were also seen on the wing up here, with Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and vivid sulphur coloured Brimstones.

Over the cereal fields Skylarks sang from upon high in the cloudless heavens above, and even a few displaying Lapwings were seen, as was a single Curlew, the evocative call of which is perhaps one of my favourite sounds of spring and early summer on these rolling uplands. Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels were seen frequently too, whilst in the woods and along the hedgerows song-birds were in fine song with Yellowhammers, finches and other typical species singing in seeming joy that winter, at least for the time being, has left these northern shores.

10th, Moths
The moth trap was out again last night and what with the warm sunshine yesterday and the relatively mild overnight temperatures (no lower than 4.4 C) conditions looked favourable for another night of early season mothing. In the end some 15 moths of 8 species were recorded in my Skinner trap come morning, one of which was new to the garden list, and another which was a good record for this part of the country. The new species was a March Moth (x1), a rather grey but nevertheless interesting character, while the less common species was a Grey Shoulder-knot (x1), a moth species which was recorded only once last year. Other species in the trap were typical early spring fare with Clouded Drab x1, Common Quaker x2, Hebrew Character (NFY) x1, Early Grey (NFY) x2, Satellite (NFY) x1, and Common Plume x6, which together with the five species of butterfly recorded yesterday takes our year list up to 14.

11th, North Cliffe Wood
A quiet walk around this little woodland at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds on what was a near perfect spring day with crystal clear azure blue skies above the East Riding. Bird wise a few Jays and a Marsh tit were noted, whilst a single Woodcock was also flushed up as we made our way through the heart of the wood. On the woodland floor bluebells are starting to push up through the ground in the hazel coppice, whilst in the same location the odd primrose is also starting to flower.

14th, Moths
A largely quiet night with a just a small selection of moths, these all being typical spring fare and having all been recorded at least once already this year. Moths recorded included Common Plume x1, Common Quaker x3, Clouded Drab x3, Hebrew Character x2 & Early Grey x1.