February ended with the third big Atlantic storm of the month, bringing more high winds, but not as much rain as forecast. The river was at the top of it's banks at this point and all the lakes were pretty much full, which isn't good for wading birds.
Despite the storms the early spring progressed with blossom in the hedges and hawthorn leaves beginning to appear. Great-crested newts were already active at the end of February so it is worth looking for frogs and toads on the move any day now. Chiffchaffs were heard singing at Stirtloe but these are probably wintering birds that will move on before the summer migrants arrive this month.
March 1st: Great crested grebes, pochard, sparrowhawk, heron, cormorant, coot, shoveler, blue tit, mute swan. Big murmuration of starlings over the village at 18:00. (Mike Thomas)
|Mute swan on Hayling Pit.|
March 2nd: An evening walk around the Meadow Trail resulted in not seeing a single starling but we finished just after six. However, we found a roost of 12+ greenfinches with more arriving. Goldfinches, kingfisher, stock doves, song thrushes singing, long tailed tits, grey heron, mallard, gadwall, tufted duck, greylags, moorhens, coots and a Cetti's warbler. Jackdaw roost still very active but no rooks seen.
|Goldcrest sunning itself.|
|Siberian chiffchaff. (Compare with the European one above,)|
"2 male blackcaps were singing well at the southern end of Hayling, and are probably newly arrived as I didn't see any over the winter period. Chiffchaffs were calling from numerous spots around the reserve, while four buzzards and three red kites circled over the meadow and Heronry South. The lakes were all very quiet."
March 26th: The welcome and increasing rare sound locally of a female tawny owl calling at 01:59 last 'night'...on the green towards the river outside our house. Of course, I couldn't see it! (Mark Brandon.)
NB. THE VISITOR CENTRE AND THE HIDES ARE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
THIRD THURSDAY WALKS AND ALL EVENTS ARE CANCELLED. PLEASE KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER VISITORS.
March 27th: A single sand martin flew over us towards Haylng and onwards on 27th, and a little egret flew over the trees alongside the river for a 'garden' year tick on the same day. (Mark Brandon).