Wildlife Blog Mar 2018
Saturday March 24th 2018
A beautiful, clear and relatively warm sunny morning, with no wind – ideal for hearing and seeing whatever is on the hill, with the possibility of even an early Spring migrant Chiffchaff. However, although there were indeed lots of birds singing and many others starting nest building, there was no sound of a Chiffchaff and, actually there was still a small flock of 7 Redwings here from earlier in the winter, feeding in the leaf litter below the trees.
The Rooks are well in to breeding and I counted 41 nests in the main area above Ramoyle (up from 8 last month) and another 13 in the south west corner above Holmehill Annexe. A pair of Carrion Crows are building a nest high up above the main path and there are numerous pairs of Jackdaws investigating nesting holes, and several pairs of Stock Doves. A large branch of one of the Beech trees came crashing down about 3 weeks ago, breaking off from the main trunk at a point where there used to be a large hole, used at least for roosting by Tawny Owls in the past. Rotten branches elsewhere were providing perfect sounding boards for a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers; the pitch of their drumming being markedly different from the different branches. Equally vocal were several Nuthatches and a male Pheasant.
It was a good moring for a variety of finches, though surprisingly Goldfinches, the second most common on the hill, were absent. Along with several singing Chaffinches and a couple of ‘wheezing’ Greenfinches, I located one male Bullfinch calling from a Birch tree and then found a large male Hawfinch, with possibly a couple of others nearby, feeding in another Birch behind it, so it’s good to know they are still around, at least for the moment.
The Daffodils that were about to burst into flower at the end of February have clearly been held back by the cold weather, and the ‘beast from the east’ is no doubt responsible for there still being very few flowers at all. By comparison, there are several banks of Snowdrops and I did find one group of Primroses, though not yet in flower. A buck Roe deer with its antlers still in velvet was consorting with two does out in the Braeport meadow and I watched them for some time as the buck seemed to be nibbling the doe’s ears!