Monday, 31 March 2008

Spring has sprung...

...the grass is riz,
and our Border Reiver
was about his blogging biz

Warmth in the air
Out with the lark
Summer time is hear
Nearly 8 before dark

Spring has definitely sprung down here in the warm south west. Saturday morning had an hour down at Sand Bay. Winter birds are dwindling, but a couple of Wheatears were a nice find. The one on the right is a juvenile (I think). It crept about in the rubbish on the beach so hard to spot. But it has a mottled buff/white head which made me think juvenile rather than female. But any suggestions welcome. Later in the garden had a singing Chiffchaff in the tree, and then this buff tailed bumble bee which kept coming into the consrevatory to talk to my bi-coloured muscari.

Sunday : I'll let the pictures below of Priddy Mineries up on the Mendips do the talking with this posting. What a glorious, glorious time of the year to be up there. Because I went to bed an hour before I got up due to the arrival of BST, I found myself on the Mendips at 7am, 6am old money!! Glorious.

Reflections in Blue

As it was so early explored this pool, which usually is a waste of time. However today, 2 Chiffchaffs, my first Willow Warbler (126), a Reed Bunting, and a number of Skylarks on the hill display/courtship flying. The air was so still birdsong everywhere, but cutting through it all, a Raven, Cronk-Cronking from a tree perch about half a mile away, letting all and sundry know he was there... can there be anything as atmospheric as being on the hills and hearing a Raven's call, drifting over the valley.

Eventually though the populous of Somerset started to arrive, and the atmosphere was lost. I then headed to Chew Valley Lake to look for the Gargany, not found. But a duetting Little Grebe pair were wonderful (completely ingnored by a sleeping Tufted duck)

Other signs of Spring. In the garden at Dorset yestrday, 3 butterflies; a Brimstone, Small White and Painted Lady, 2 seven spot ladybirds, a red tailed bumble bee and bizarrely a common wasp. And a Swallow over Wick St Lawrence as I drove home yesterday afternoon.

March Wasp......

Postscript : After writing my blog, thought I'd add this link to Shirl's blog http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/2008/03/spot-birdie.html as those of you interested in birds, can view a presumed leucistic Siskin. I have checked with a colleague and he's confident this is what it is.


  1. Hey, Border great to see signs of spring like this :-)

    I have seen the odd bee around but I hadn't realised that painted ladies were out now. I thought the peacock butterfly was the first to be seen. I will keep an eye out for the ladies now!

    Great photos of Priddy Mineries :-D

  2. Hi Shirl, thanks for the comment. As Painted Ladies are migratory they are just arriving, have to say this is a very early sighting, normally April. But seasons are all over the place these days. Nice seeing the Brimstone too. I'll get back to your e-mail asap, just checking.

    Happy Birthday for tomorrow

  3. What a wonderful early morning you had. Sounds like it was magical.

  4. Certainly was - and completely snow free OC !!

  5. Hi,
    This second Wheatear couldnt have been a juvenile as all of last year's juveniles would have moulted into adult plumage by now. Do you have any other pics of it?

  6. Oh and the first bird is a female.

  7. Cheers Rare Visitor

    Maybe sub-adult/non breeding could be a better description. I've sent you 2 other photos by e-mail to you, may not be best views in the world, but it was a skulker in the debris. Will look forward to any thoughts.

    Oh and yes the lady was my second female of the year (should have said that in the posting)