Out in Area 10 early this morning. A Cuckoo was calling loudly whilst flying from tree to tree around the Emm. As it was overcast it kept the hirundines
low and seen wereSwallow, Sand Martin and the first House Martin of the year.
A Cuckoo was seen to fly across Lea Farm Gravel pit by Richard Marsh today before settling in the trees along the Emm Brook
In Area 2 (Behind Tescoís this lunchtime a Little Owl was sitting out enjoying the sun in its usual tree. A solitary Swallow was flying over the stables and a Mistle Thrush was picking up beakfulls of worms, so Iím assuming that it is feeding young.
In Area 10 this morning I had a very brief visit to the Car park field and the Emm off Sandford Lane. Singing from the bushes were Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. A Cormorant flew over the Emm and then an Oystercatcher, flew back the other way.
In Area 5 to the rear of Morrisons this morning 3 male Blackcap were feeding and calling from the bushes near Kingfisher Bridge. A female Pheasant was walking across the open space to the rear of Brookside.
In the Area 10 car park field at lunch time today, Richard Marsh and Fraser Cottington saw the following,a solitary Swallow flying N a Sparrowhawk,2 Linnet, and a pair of Mandarin Duck which landed on the Emm Brook. A Grey Wagtail flew under the footbridge over the Emm and a Kestrel hovered over the car park field.
Working in his Area 4 garden this afternoon allowed Paul Bright-Thomas to see a Swallow heading N and a Raven over NW heading towards Morrisons.On the front lawn of my Area 5 garden was a Wood Pigeonegg shell. I am not sure if its a succesfull hatching or predation.
Out in Area 2 this morning. A Buzzard was flying over the fields around Luckley School. Jackdaw appeared to be everwhere .A Little Owl was seen twice . A Ring necked Parakeet flew out of the woods on the footpath to Gorrick Woods. Skylark were singing over Grays Farm.
An early visit to Area 10 this morning paid dividends with Spring migrants providing a string of firsts for the year with a singing male Blackcapby the Emm and 3 Swallow and a solitary Sand Martin seen drifting over the car park field. A Swallow was also seen heading N over Area 5 at 09:30. Earlier in the day a Cormorrant flew over heading W.
A walk along the Emm today in Area 5 this morning was a bit samey. Chiffchaff were calling , both Great spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker was also heard. A pair of Red Kite were tumbling overhead.
With the lighter nights and an early finish for the Easter weekend I visited Area 10 today on my way home. In the car park field several Chiffchaff were calling , a male Reed Bunting was calling from a bush adjacent to the Emm. A Common Buzzardwas being harrased by 2 Carrion Crow. I walked through the former Golf course to the main car park at Dinton Pastures an Egyptian Goose was strutting its stuff, before being chased of by a dog off its lead, bothGreylag Goose and Canada Goose were also seen.
In Area 2 this lunchtime a total of 6 species of Butterflies were seen in approximately 1hour. These were3 male Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines., Comma Polygonia c-album ., Holly Blue Celastrina argioles ., Red Admiral Vanessa atlanta . and another first for the year Speckled Wood Parage aegeria . and Largel White Pieris brassicae .
In Area 2 today at lunchtime, the first Comma Polygonia c-album seen this year was on the wing.
Looking out of my Area 5 bedroom window this evening, I noticed a Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus butterfly fly past the window before landing in the Leylandii hedge. Another first for the year. Also coming to the porch light was the micro moth Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata . An early spring species, and one of the first Pugs of the season to be regularly encountered, it flies in one generation in April and May.
With the sun shining all morning it was a great day for Butterflies in Area 5. Seen were 5 Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae all on the wing in the same area , and then new species for the year, several Peacock Inachis io a male Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni and what I believe was a female Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines . The Pussy Willow catkins were being visited by numerous Honey Bee Apis melliifera and Bumlebees including Buff tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris and Tree Bee Bombus hypnorum . Around the base of the tree was 2 Bee Fly Bombylius major , another first for the year.
In Area 2 there is evidence that the Holly leaf miner Phttomyzoa ilicis had been busy last year. Phytomyza ilicis is an Agromyzid fly that causes galls to form on the leaves of Holly. Phytomyza ilicis lays its eggs in May or June, at the base of the petiole of a young leaf (on the underside). Larva initially feeds in mid-rib, later producing characteristic irregular upper surface linear-blotch. Pupation is internal. During gardening in my Area 5 garden the plume moth Emmelina monodactyla was disturbed from the grass.
Found by my cat in the grass in my Area 5 garden was the first moth of the year Acleris hastiana and also seen was the Buff tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestrius .
In the Wildflower Area in Area 4 Cowslip Primula veris are just starting to show.
The Cowslip is a cousin of the Primrose and is also an early spring flower.
In Area 5 Ground-ivy Glechoma hederacea is showing well.
Despite its name, Ground-ivy is actually a member of the dead-nettle family and is an evergreen, creeping plant of woodlands, hedgerows and damp ground. It often forms clumps, spreading by means of overground runners that frequently root. It has a strong smell and violet flowers that appear from March until June.
In Area 5 the Cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis is now out
Cuckooflower, also commonly known as 'Lady's-smock', is a pretty springtime perennial . Its pale pink flowers bloom from April to June and are thought to coincide with the arrival of the first cuckoo - a sure sign that spring has arrived at last.
Cuckooflower has a rosette of leaves at its base and an upright stem that bears the delicate, small, pale pink or mauve flowers. Each flower has four petals, although double-flowered varieties do appear.
The large golden flowers of Marsh-marigold Caltha palustris certainly look like the cups of kings and the Latin name Caltha is derived from the Greek for 'goblet'. Hence, Marsh-marigold is also commonly known as 'Kingcup'. It is a widespread plant of ponds, marshes, damp meadows, these were in Area 5 in what will hopefully be the new pond area.
One of surest signs that spring is on the way is the Primrose Primula vulgaris . Its pale yellow flowers with orange centres are a common sight across the UK.
The name derives from the Latin prima rosa meaning 'first rose' of the year, despite not being a member of the rose family.
April 19th is 'Primrose day'. Why this date? Its the anniversary of the death of the former British Prime Minsister Benjamin Disraeli and the primrose was his favourite flower. Queen Victoria supposedly sent him bunches regularly and to this day primroses are laid at his statue by Westminster Abbey on this date every year.
In Area 4 the flowers of the Ash Fraxinus excelsior can be seen. These tight clusters of purple flowers appear before the leaves.
In Area 10 a female Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was feeding at the top of the Lavells Lake car park field.
In Area 10 numerous Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus were seen in the Lavells Lake car park field.
Working in my Area 5 garden today and found these Yellow Slug Limacus flav .
For a review of the sightings along the Emm for the first 8 months of 2014 click here May - August 2014 Sightings January - April 2014 Sightings