Looking across Rowe's Flashe Lake
In the upper arboretum a pair of Jackdaws have been busy building a nest in a chimney on Fox Cottage, and Blue and Great Tits have been seen inspecting nestboxes around and about.
The 12th also saw the first singing Chiffchaff of the season, in the Carlotta Glade – another surefire sign that warmer days are on the way!
A pair of Marsh Tits are often to be seen or heard in the Phillimore Wetland where they were very vocal on the 11th. Bramblings were heard in or over the upper arboretum on the 4th, 8th and 12th.
Birds of prey too are taking advantage of the improving weather, with several Buzzards and Sparrowhawks regularly seen and heard soaring overhead on the rising thermals. Red Kites were seen on the 7th and the 10th. On the 13th a Raven briefly alighted on a Scots Pine in the upper arboretum.
Common Buzzard on the lookout
Comma (Polygonia c-album)
Bumblebees, Hoverflies and Solitary and Honey Bees are also becoming more active. Look and listen out for them buzzing about around the arboretum – Prunus ‘Okame’ on the eastern edge of Magnolia Wood is proving particularly popular at the moment – here’s an Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) enjoying the blossom.
Eristalis sp. Hoverfly on Rhododendron (thanks to eyorksbirding for the identification help on this one)
Look out also for the various wild flowers beginning to bloom around the arboretum, such as Lesser Celandine, Dog Violets and Colt's-foot (pictured below)
As I said earlier, Spring is well and truly springing!