Spring is now in full swing at Winkworth, and the birdsong has really crescendoed since my last blog post. Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Chaffinches and many other resident species are now belting out their best tunes around the arboretum and have been joined, as of today, by up to nine Chiffchaffs and three Blackcaps.
Song Thrush mid-song
Chiffchaff - 'not really my best side'
As you can see from the above pictures, we've been treated to some wonderful sunshine in the past couple of weeks, although it has often not been all that warm. Luckily on Easter Monday we finally got some more pleasant spring weather, with the mercury rising into the high teens celsius.
The cold and often strong winds that typified the end of March and early April seriously hampered bird migration right across Britain, so it was with some considerable relief that I saw a single Swallow feeding over Rowe's Flashe Lake on the morning of 1st April - my first one of 2015 and truly a sight for sore eyes!
On Rowe's Flashe Lake itself, all the usual suspects remain present and correct - the Pochards have been around on and off, with two drakes and a female still present as of 1st April. Here's one of the drakes with a drake Tufted Duck.
A Pochard asleep? Surely not...
Kingfishers have become a more regular sight and sound in recent days - I use the plural there because on more than one occasion I have seen a pair together.
Our resident pair of domestic Greylag Geese have built a nest on the gabions on the west side of the lake, and the female is now to be found curled up there for most of the day.
Mandarin Ducks are still seen most days too, although not in such large numbers - clearly some have dispersed to breed elsewhere.
The usual trio of Roe Deer have been seen frequently in Bluebell Wood, the buck now looking particularly impressive with his new antlers.
In addition to the many ornamental trees now coming into flower, the native wild flowers are also starting to put on a great show. Look out for the small and delicate Wood Sorrel and Wood Anemone dotted about the woodland floor like stars.
Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
After an early flurry of sightings, the chilly weather has meant there haven't been many butterflies around just lately, but Brimstone, Red Admiral and Peacock have made occasional appearances during calmer moments in recent days, although I am still waiting to see the first non-hibernatory species of the year - when the first Orange-tip takes to the wing in the arboretum then it will be truly Spring! In the meantime, here's one I photographed earlier...(last year!)