Violets and Daffodils all fully out. Primroses not yet at their best, Snowdrops nearly over. Celandines, Marsh Marigold and Vinca just starting. Some leaf buds have broken. Sightings this week of Kingfisher, Water Rail and Muntjac (which has had a delicate nibble at the Violet leaves, giving a really good view of the shy flowers.) Ramsons have seeded themselves thickly in Shady Place, almost like grass. Swans still not putting their minds to nesting.
Tuesday swans had decamped, but Dabchicks and Water Rail both spotted. Heard a splash in the Ver and saw what was presumably Tony Russo's pike just slashing back into the water after a strike. Looked about the size of a Dolphin, but must have been all of a foot long! Long tailed tits, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch etc etc all round the Orchard feeders. Frogs and lots of spawn in bog area. Soil layers within the frame of the Chamomile bench full of mouse runs already. First Brimstone butterfly and first bumblebees out.
Early week bees and other early insects whizzing about in the Sun. There is a summery hum in the air already. Susan reports one hive of bees has died over the Winter, alas, but the other is thriving-- in fact the queen was hard to find having started drone cells and crept into the supers. Frogs and frogspawn about. Treecreeper in the orchard feeding from dispensers and working the bark on the old apple trees. Swans still AWOL, but had to shoosh a pair of Canada geese off site as they seemed to be looking for a nesting site. Late week Goldfinches in particular enjoying the food from their special dispenser. Two new swans have taken over the site, and seem to be investigating Howard, Sheila and Steve's specially constructed nesting place. The cob is wearing a blue ring from Liz Dover, have got number, will check identity. Primroses gorgeous now, and Sweet and White violets at their peak. Some Anemones also showing, at last.
Early in week swans back, 3 of them! Long tailed tits well in evidence. Anemones out, daffodils going over. Butterflies out all week, Comma, Peacock. 2 duck nests. One female had plastic beer can link round its neck, but had got rid of it by itself later. This duck is nesting in a flowerpot on Joe's allotment, the other under brambles in Shady Place. Ramsons out in places.
Next report (April 2003)