Now It's Really Started!
Well over the past few weeks, the season has changed and spring really is in evidence all over my local patch.
Inside the woodland areas, the Bluebells have rapidly gone from
being little green shoots, to buds and are just about bursting into bloom.
Just before the Bluebells began to open, the floor of the
woodland was and still is covered in tiny white stars - the Wood Anemones are
in flower. If I walk early on in the day, they are all closed, but as the
sun gradually filters into the woods, they open their little heads and shine.
Here and there are little pools of bright shiny yellow as the Aconites open - this little clump, which grows in the bole of a tree is nearly always the first to open. There are still more to bloom as across the woodland floor there is a carpet of their new leaves.
Where it has been relatively dry, none of the Wood Violets have
appeared, although there are plenty of young Garlic Mustard plants, Wild Garlic
and in places, Stitchwort. The Primroses are blooming well - they appear
in the same locations each year, quite bashful amidst all the other fresh
Within the woods, I have been watching Blue Tits prospecting
nest holes, they mostly seem to be foraging in pairs now, so I think the time
has come for nest building! Those that haven't paired up yet are still
calling and chasing whilst they decide on a mate.
The Blue Tits can often be seen exploring where branches have
snapped from the trees, either to pick insects or if the hole is big enough,
then as a possible nest site.
A little later on, the same morning, another Buzzard had been perched on the far side of the brook, it took off and spent a while circling over the field whilst whilst it sought a thermal and I was afforded some beautiful views,
As it circled I could see that the bird appeared to be scanning the sky as well as watching me, after a few moments, thermal found it soared and calling from the East a second Buzzard joined it, possibly the one which had been glaring at me from the tree earlier on!
By the time they 'met' up, they were a little too high and fast
to be in camera range, however they headed off Westwards towards more wood and
I watched for a while as he scooted up and around an elderberry tree and some of the larger trees - having to watch carefully as he was small, fast and very well camouflaged.
Every now and then, the pair of them would fly off into the thicket of elder, before returning again and resuming their favoured trees.
After a while, they flew off and hopefully, if I peer at enough gaps in the bark in some of the trees around that spot, I may see where they choose to nest (there are quite a few trees with 'flakey' bark or suitable looking holes...)
one pair were even busy disputing territory! A number of late season Comma's will hibernate over the winter months and emerge once the weather warms up - these are the ones I have been watching. They are slightly smaller and have a slightly varied underwing colouration (thought to aid camouflage when hibernating) to some of the larger Comma's which may also hibernate and survive the winter. All of those I have seen so far look in very smart condition.
All of the Blackthorn trees are now out in bloom and there is fresh green budburst on most of the Hawthorns, where the blossom will shortly follow. There is budburst too on many of the Salix, Birch and Beech trees, everything is starting to look fresh, lush and green.
There have also been a lot of huge Bumble Bees drifting about as well as smaller Honey and Mining Bees, these together with quite a few hoverflies can be found feeding on any nectar source - mostly blossom at the moment.
In the woodland at various spots and along the edge of the fallow field, there are now at least six Chiff Chaffs, all calling away for a mate. From observing them in previous years, they each seem to return to approximately the same spot and have their own territories. At the weekend, I was Chiff Chaffed to by a few of them and one of them at least seemed to have found a mate, calling and following another around.
Much of the time they will call from the treetops, at others they will pause briefly to forage amongst the blossom or branches for food - they eat small insects and currently, along with hoverflies there are plenty of tiny black flower beetles on the wing and taking advantage of the clouds of white blossom which have appeared.
In amidst the blooms, other small birds are also taking advantage of the insect life, notably the Blue Tits, who dangle acrobatically on the slenderest of branches as they feast,
and you can always tell which ones have been feasting amidst the blossom - their faces are stained yellow from the pollen!
I understand that they don't travel far, but just maybe this is one of last year's birds, a few hundred yards from where I see the others? Hopefully there will be a Lady Marsh Tit around nearby for him!
After a moment, he placed the moss carefully on the branch and peered more closely at me,
before deciding that I was no threat and then proceeding to 'pose' for a good ten minutes or so - well, it was rude to say no so....
Although, to ensure I got his best side, he did try a couple of different perches!
After a while, he decided that nest material collection was to
resume, so I said 'Thank you' and off he went. Sometimes moments like
this with wildlife are simply magical!
She stayed around on and off, either there or watching from high
up at the edge of the woods and I glimpsed her again the following
He seems to have settled on hunting over the middle part of the field. As always with Kestrels, as soon as I get vaguely near to where they are on lookout, they are off, so whilst there were both very long distance views, I am absolutely delighted at seeing them - hopefully they will be here to stay.