Recently I have been working very hard at school as it is assessment week, but our school is nice enough to give me a bit in return. Every morning when I arrive early I have to wait on the terrace overlooking the Headmaster’s Field and Garden, all the way down to 9 Acre and beyond. Also, our school has been standing for a while so there are many nooks and crannies under the eaves. And guess what likes to nest there… House Martins in their numbers! So far this season House Martin numbers have climbed from 5-6 in the first week of term to 30+ now! It’s not just House Martins either, Swifts too! There has only been one pair around the school since a week after I first spotted one, then there were two pairs but one probably just wasn’t interested. I haven’t seen the Swifts go into a nesting site yet, but remember that they are quite late nesters. I didn’t see a single Swift last year so that’s a bonus for me, especially as I saw them as early as early May, when they were only just arriving in the county!
The beginning of March has been a very busy one, with some creatures coming out of hibernation and some early wild flowers starting to bloom. One of the most interesting plants that have emerged now are the Dutch Crocuses in our front garden. They are very pretty, with the colours purple, pink, white and one orange one which mysteriously disappeared. They are great for photography and I have taken many photos of them, these are a few of them.
Just today I saw the first blooming daffodil in our garden, one of many that are sure to come!
Last weekend I had a nice surprise as a male Ring Necked Pheasant strutted into our garden, only the second I’ve seen in our garden! This one was also a very interesting variation, as well as the white neck ring, it had white eyebrows! I’ve never seen a Ring Necked Pheasant with white eyebrows before, so that made it very interesting!
The highlight of March so far though has to be the vole that peeped out of the patch of Hedera near the bird feeder on the first of March, we thought it had just come out of hibernation. From the photo I took of it, we suspected either Bank Vole or Field Vole because of the overall colouration and shape. The one distinguishing feature between the Bank and the Field Voles is the length of their tails, the Bank Vole has a much longer tail than the one of the Field Vole. The thing is, the tail seems to be invisible in the photo!
One the way back from Ardingly a few days ago when I was driving through the small village, My dad spotted a young Roe Deer on the road. It was trying to jump the fence between the road and the spinney in between two houses, but it was too small. I haven’t seen a Roe Deer in our village for quite a while, the last sighting was probably before Christmas, but that was an injured female with a fawn. This deer was a fawn too and I’m wondering if the female had died, because on the way back from Ardingly today, I saw the leg of a Roe Deer on the road!
The Redpoll action in our back garden has increased for two reasons, one being that I found the place the flock go when they are not on the feeder and two being that there has been numerous visits by the local Goldfinch. I found the place where the Redpolls go when I was lichen hunting (or lichening!) in the back garden. I was checking for lichens on the pile of logs by the bush border when I heard a very unimpressive call coming from the Hedera covered Oak. I looked around and I saw a little brown job hopping from twig to twig. Then I saw another one and another one, until there were a total of seven Redpolls gathering around me! The Goldfinch first visited when I wasn’t at home but at Ardingly, though my dad saw it and told me when I got home. The first time I actually saw it was earlier in February, when it flew to the Nyger feeder briefly, scaring all the Redpolls already there. I have also seen it today, it made a brief occurrence then flew off.
This year I have started to learn about Moss. Yes, Moss. When I found out that there was a key for all the different types of common woodland mosses on iSpot (I will talk more about iSpot later), I immediately went out into the garden to find mosses. These are the different types of mosses I’ve found so far in our garden:
- Hypnum andoi
- Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus
- Pseudoscleropodium purum
- Polytrichum formosum
- Polytrichum commune var. commune
Now I would like to advertise iSpot, a brilliant website to share nature or to identify your wildlife observations. iSpot is a great website to post your identifications of wildlife, with photos and descriptions. When you post an observation other people on iSpot can confirm the identification for you or add a revised identification. Using iSpot has definitely boosted my knowledge of the natural world.
You can also post forum topics on iSpot and there are keys to identifying wildlife there, so I suggest you get on there straight away.