March the 10th the “sun” is shining and I am late once again with my notes. Things are happening in the undergrowth and they are not as co-ordinated as in previous seasons.
Right on time the Blackthorn and Flowering Plum are out in blossom and by the time you read this the Hawthorn will be in leaf. On the other side of the coin we have already had Squabs (baby pigeons) falling out of the nests in the Yew behind the house – they were about a week old, no knowing what dislodged them but counting backwards say 1 week old and 21 day for hatching, the eggs were laid in January or very early February – very early!
Also on the river outside the cottage, a Moorhen has taken advantage of the tree covered in ivy that has been blown down across the river to make its nest, as of Saturday 08/03/2014 there were 7 eggs in the nest – the tree will have to stay there for a while.
Sightings include a Ring Ouzel (pictured) in South Wonston, well spotted, the Ouzel is generally a spring/summer visitor. They are about the same size as our blackbird and not unlike our female blackbird in colouring but have a white crescent bib on the throat. They are rarely seen this far south preferring the uplands of Wales, the Pennines and Scotland – If you find a nest, generally on the ground, look out because he is a fierce defender and will tackle a Buzzard or you if you get too close.
Humming Bird Hawk Moth reported by Chris Sharrot in South Wonston. Butterflies, Tortoiseshell by Mark Ferguson, Painted Lady by self. Surprising what a little warmth does – now watch the grass grow!
Not too late to put an old piece of tin/flattened cardboard box/1m square of black plastic on a rough piece of garden near a hedge, hold down by self-weight or stones on the corners, wait until the next issue of this magazine then lift and let me know.
Anyone want a Poplar Tree?
Image of Ring Ouzel from www.rspb.org.uk