The Oystercatchers have returned from their coastal wintering areas to breed at some inland sites. Two pairs have arrived at our local lake this week. Lapwings are also returning to their local breeding sites and soon we should here the sound of Curlews arrived back from the coast to breed. An impressive skein of Pink- footed Geese moved north west through the valley this morning. The Waxwings were there again today, lovely views of them in the early sunshine on this frosty morning.
The Snowdrops look at their best in local woodlands. These at Gilling are growing in company of Acconites whilst nearby the leaves of Ransomes or Wild Garlic are growing fast and already filling the damp woodland air with their scent. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are proclaiming their territories with very frequent drumming at the moment. Song Thrushes are singing with great gusto joined increasingly by Chaffinches. I have heard very little Blackbird song as yet.
Found 20 or so Waxwings in a local village today. They were descending to feed in a cotoneaster which surprisingly was still laden with berries. Good to see and hear these beautiful birds again. The last I saw in this area were in Helmsley on 13th December 2010. After this time most migrated south out of the area. I have been expecting to see them on their return journey. The next month or so could well see good numbers passing back through the area as they prepare to cross the North sea on their journey back to the remote forests in which they breed.
A Hebrew Character was by the light this morning. The Hebrew Character overwinters as a pupa with the adult fully formed inside. Once emerged it will feed at sallow catkins.
On this mild day when temperatures reached 11 celsius some insects emerged. We have had well over a week of cloudy, misty and cold weather with occasional rain and a covering of snow on 19th February. Today’s spring sunshine was very welcome indeed. A pair of male Dotted Border moths were by our outside light this morning and Two and Seven Spot Ladybirds were emerging from hibernation around our window frames.
We have had almost continual visits from Redpolls and Siskins in the last few days. They feed almost exclusively on niger seed provided in a special feeder. Niger is also eaten regularly by Marsh Tits, Tree Sparrows, Chaffinches, Bramblings and even Pheasants who pluck the tiny seeds from the ground beneath the feeder.
Most of my work to be shown at The Wykeham Gallery Stockbridge can now be seen at http:/www.wykehamgallery.co.uk/wildlife2011/The exhibition runs from 26th February- 12th March 2011.