14 March 2019

2019 / 19

Mild 10-12°C, moderate cloud but mostly clear. Very windy W/SW
13:30 – 14:30

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Woodside in today, just for an hour at lunchtime while I m working at Whitenap 4 miles north east. It’s VERY windy again, but relatively sheltered here. An opportunity to see and admire the most splendid magnolia – each year it seems to get better, though it’s already “going over”.
On the way down – and back – I paused to catch up with the pair of Firecrests on territory at the side of the road near the top. Absolutely superb views of the singing male within a few feet, circling around me showing off. I couldn’t persuade any others to show in the northern belt, but the wind won’t have helped.

With little time to spend working the usual circuit, I confined my attention to the west end. There are two Chiffchaffs singing – the first song this year. A delightful harbinger of spring. One in Marshall’s Row somewhere and the second in the northern belt, down at the back end. Lots of Great Tit activity here too, and somewhere, an unseen Treecreeper calls.

As I cut down towards Marshall’s into the Wood from the gardens, I notice at least a dozen Black-headed Gulls coming over the tree. There are at least 30 others over on the paddocks later, mixed with a mixed ragged bunch of 150 Jackdaws and Rooks.
There’s a Mistle Thrush hopping around the cattle trough.

Every day now there is more honeysuckle. Fantastic response to the clearance work – it is the dominant, colonising plant and grows prolifically at the west end, mixed with holly and climbing up most of the hazel and young birch trees. I look forward to an increase in White Admiral numbers at least.

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And the frogspawn (it is definitely frogspawn) is – more or less – still alive. There are many dead tadpoles in the clumps, and brown eggs showing no sign of life, but among them a small percentage have successfully hatched and are wriggling around enthusiastically.

Feels good being here today. Uplifting stewardship. I feel a sense of belonging and responsibility. A strong connection.
Birdwise, still very average. 25 species more or less every time for a month now. Average for the site that is. Firecrests and Ravens are NOT ‘average’ birds, and I would do well to remember that!

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The singing male Firecrest on Woodside (honest!)

 

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