Spring migration is now well under way, with regular sightings of swallows seen around the Parish. 12 sand martins accompanied by several swallows were seen flying along the Gowy at the end of March. Good numbers of chiff chaff could be heard everywhere from the middle of March and were joined by the superb song of several blackcaps around Legion Meadow at the beginning of April. Although most winter visitors have now gone, ten redwing were in Plough Lane, and a single fieldfare at Hockenhull at the end of the month.
A superb male brimstone butterfly flew across Legion meadow in the middle of March, and on the same day a small tortoiseshell, a red admiral and four peacock butterflies, were seen around the meadow and at The Pit. This was a really good sign of early spring, but the cold weather of the beginning of April seems to have driven them to look for cover, although a newly emerged peacock was seen feeding on brightly coloured blue aubrietia at Croft Close on the 3rd April. The first orange tip butterflies are also on the wing on the wet meadow.
The first wild flowers in the countryside are usually celandines, as they were this year, closely followed by bright yellow king cups or Marsh marigolds. The appearance of delicate creamy white or pale blue lady smock sometimes known as May or cuckoo flower is the key to the emergence of the orange tip butterflies. These delightful butterflies are very visible in May, but then having laid their eggs disappear from view with only a few sightings later in the season.
Have you noticed how friendly robins are? Single birds will often be quite inquisitive and follow you around in the garden, often sitting on a spade or fork, presumably on the look out for worms. In the countryside you can often get up very close and personal to a robin, and get some really nice pictures as shown. I’ve even known one come into the house, although when they are being territorial they will fight fiercely and be very aggressive to other robins. The three robins which over wintered in the garden have now split and we just have one pair nesting in the hawthorn hedge. I wonder how many people have been aware of the sudden influx of goldfinches in our gardens and in trees around the village. They have a very bubbly call and although they will feed on bird feeders, they seem to prefer newly emerged dandelions at the roadside. They are one of our most colourful garden birds and a delight to have around.
Black Cap male feeding young
Clack Cap female
Sandmartins and Swallows
Singing Chiff Chaff