I have made some signs for Fir Tree Farm to help combat some of the issues that we have had with dog owners that continue to disobey signs asking for all dogs to be kept on a lead. I guess adults are like children, just bigger. If you tell them not to do something, they'll still do it. Steve suggested that instead of telling them not do something, why don't we tell them why they shouldn't do it? Being a teacher, it was quite embarrassing that this was Steve's suggestion and not me own. Anyhow, the information signs were duely made and handed over to Alan to be put up around the site.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Whilst the sunshine was still glorious, the temperature wasn't what it had been early in the week but it was still well above average. We had a period of weather like this in March last year, dry and warm, one of the consequences was that the reed beds on Rimrose were pretty dry and in that week we lost a quarter of Fulwood and half of Brook Vale to arson. As of yet, that hasn't happened at Brook Vale but I haven't had a chance to get to Fulwood, so thats on my 'To Do' list for tonight. Whilst fire is a useful regeneration tool in reed bed management, burning annually is not common-place and actually poses a problem, especially at Brook Vale where encroachment from Himalayan Balsam is steadily damaging the reed bed.
On Wednesday morning, The Mothership had texted to say she'd had a Willow Warbler outside the homestead and whilst walking between the pond and the pines at Kings Moss, I had my first of the year. The warbling song is always a welcome addition to the soundtrack of any walk heralding the arrival of another of our Phylloscopus warblers. A Chiffchaff was also very vocal by the pond, coming quite close overhead and it was clear to see that the individual was ringed - probably one from the weekend.
There was big change in the amount of greenery up on the plantation, even in comparison to last Saturday. The Hawthorn in the hedge where we feed the Yellowhammer was greening up nicely and we disturbed four birds feeding on the freshly-ploughed field. Reed Bunting were also quite vocal and within five minutes of re-filling the feeders, the Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch were back and feeding confidently. Watching these birds squabbling over the best perch at the feeding station left me wondering when we will ring our first Sparrowhawk at Kings Moss, one had already escaped from the net by the pond.
Cowslip (Primula veris)
A total of three Buzzards were seen late on, the female Kestrel flew into the nest box and popping in at the farm, the Barn Owl was also in the nest box, although shifted from her usual position. Is she ready to lay?
Unfortunately, Moxey hasn't managed to get out this week as he's been extremely busy, putting in a few supply shifts and being the taxi driver for my little sister who is back from university for Easter. Tomorrow will be our last chance to post a total for our Top 10 for March......stay tuned!