Wildlife update by visitor ranger Sophie Rolfe

The end of March already, the sun is shining, summer is on the way. There are signs of the seasons changing – the early butterflies are out, the odd bumblebee has been seen bumbling around, some of the early wild flowers are flowering, and the first sand martins have been spotted around the box on Lynch Lake.

Some of the avian highlights in March included:

  • Sand martins (first spotted on 14th March – a little later than last year from memory)
  • Mediterranean gull
  • Marsh harrier
  • Whooper swan (seen on 28th Feb, but worthy of including)
  • Chiffchaff – listen out for their repetitive “chiff chaff” call
  • Great crested grebe – watch out for their courtship displays, which include head shaking, paddling until they’re standing upright on the water and throwing pondweed at each other…whatever floats your boat I suppose!
  • Pochard
  • Reed bunting
  • Little egret
  • Grey wagtail

Other highlights:

  • Butterflies: comma, brimstone, peacock, small tortoiseshell (useless, but hopefully interesting, butterfly fact - the name “butterfly” is thought to have originated from the butter yellow colour of the male Brimstone, once known as the butter coloured fly. This ended up being shortened to “butterfly”.
  • Bumblebees – most of the bumblebees around at the moment will be Queens who have overwintered and are now looking for a nest site to start this years colony.
  • Trees coming in to leaf and flower – the willow catkins are coming out, blackthorn is in blossom and hawthorn is in leaf.
  • Some of the early flowers are either flowering or close to. Primroses and cowslips are coming in to flower along Ham Lane, bluebells are starting to think about flowering in Bluebell Wood, and patches of lesser celandine are around adding splashes of colour. 

As ever, please keep us informed if you spot anything exciting on your April walks and share your photographs with [email protected].