News for January, February, March 2012
24th March, the weather continues dry, and over this weekend sunny and warm. In  some hedgerows around the village Yellowhammers are to be seen, and when viewed through binoculars, they are a brilliant yellow, like a Canary.
In the Reserve, there are many Celandines now, and lots of the tiny Violets in the wood, and a small number of  Germander Speedwell of which I took a few photographs. When I viewed the photos, I noticed that there were Pollen beatles in the centre of these flowers.  I cannot find out much about these beatles except they are viewed as a pest to be eliminated, and as the left hand photograph below shows they scatter pollen about on the petals, and spoil the look of cut flowers.

Picture of celendine with pollen BeatlesPicture of Germander Speedwell

This week has also seen the arrival of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, and the odd Brimstone butterfly in local gardens in the sunny weather, and in the evenings Bats have been flying for the last week.

5th March, Monday,
The March wind wind doeth blow..., and it was a cold wind from the north west. However I managed to find the first glimmer of spring on the way, with one or two Celandines poking through the grass, near the pond, and some tiny Violets in the wood.
Picture of celendinePicture of Violet
There was standing water in one or two area in the fields, and the pond had a little more water, but it is still at least eighteen inches below last years level. While there I noticed a Water boatman come up for air, and I wondered if there would be any frog's spawn in the pond this year, but remembered reading that Water boatmen are carnivors and will eat what ever they can find, so maybe not.

25th February, Saturday, last  Thusday was really warm getting up to 14C, and again  today the weather was as warm, but stiil not much rain, in fact there is talk of a drought. Plants in the reserve are starting into growth, but only green shoots are visible at present as shown below.

Picture of plantPicture of falen tree

However in the nearby churchyard, are nice displays of snowdrops and crocus, which are worth looking out for.

Picture of snowdrops Picture of crocus

11th February, Saturday
View in the snow

After a very cold night with temperatures down to -7C, and a little more snow on Thursday night, today was a clear brilliantly sunny day. The hedges have been cut, with great care taken to avoid the saplings that were planted last year.

9th February, Thursday, yesterday the BBC showed the first of three program presented by Sarah Raven about wild flowers. Much of the emphasis of the program was about how important wild flowers are for insects, and in turn how important insects are to our food, much of which are pollinated by insects. There are two more programs the following two weeks, which as you are reading this page you may well find interesting.

5th February, Sunday,
The mild spell of weather has been brought to an end by 4 inches of snow which fell yesterday, and it has remained cold, only just above freezing during the days following.

28th January, Saturday,
The weather continues to be mild, with only a few days with mild frosts, some rain, but the pond is only a few inches fuller than in the photo below, and compared to last year there is very little waterlogging on the fields. Walking in the reserve there were birds making a repeated te-cha noise, probably a Great Tit, which are know to have a variety of calls.

7th January, Saturday, The year has started with mild temperatures, up to 10C in the daytime and still above freezing at nights, but a couple of gales brought down one of the rotten trees in the reserve just behind the pond.
A Greater Spotted Woodpecker was taking advantage of the rotten wood, tapping away to find grubs and insects in the remaining stump, and in the branches that had fallen.

Picture of pond Picture of falen tree

Also seen in the reserve, were a few Bullfinches, a spectacular bird, with its jet black head and red front. This is a bird larger than a Robin, with the red breast more vivid red than the Robin, and the jet black cap confirms it as a Bullfinch.
Also around the reserve and the village are a small flock of Long Tailed Tits, easy to identify with their long tail, and listen out for the 'cheap, cheap' call they use to keep in touch with other members of their flock. They will ignore you, which gives a good opportunity to study them at close range.

The lack of rain this year, means that the pond starts the year a foot or two down on its maximum level, which unless there is lot of wet weather in the next month or two, will mean that the water loving pond plants will struggle this year.

The 'yaffle' of  a Green Woodpecker was heard in the reserve, but this week there have been sightings in gardens at the north end of the village, of Green Woodpeckers digging for ant and grubs in lawns.

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