Saturday 4th March 2017:
Not much of note from today's visit to the Common other than a bit of bid movement. I observed a flock of 27 Fieldfare that flew over heading ENE and 2 Mistle Thrushes heading E. It's quite possible that the former were on their journey back to Scandinavia, as these birds that have wintered in the UK will migrating back during the next month or so. It was also nice to hear a ♂ Blackbird in song for the first time this year. The Common's many Dunnocks, Robins and Wrens were also in good voice.
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Monday 6th March 2017:
A mild sunny day saw 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on the wing along the main embankment between the lower and upper terraces of the Common. On the bird front: 3 Common Buzzards were up soaring overhead and Green Woodpecker was also noted. A Treecreeper was present in the wooded area that runs alongside The Bog.
What was also interesting to see during this visit was the amount of active Caddisfly larvae that were present in one of the pools near the rear of The Bog. In it's larval stage the Caddisfly surrounds it's body in a case that it constructs from materials such as plant matter or grains of sand (depending on the species).
Caddisfly Larva (Limnephilus sp.)
Also of interest during today's visit was some Winter Polypore fungi that I found growing on a dead branch.
Winter Polypore (Polyporus brumalis)
Wednesday 8th March 2017:
Today saw a return to the gloomy overcast weather and for my visit I decided to walk a circuit around the upper terrace from the main car park. The highlight was flushing 3 Meadow Pipits from the Broom scrub at the end of the now cleared plantation area. Also during this walk I found some nice examples of Moss Bell fungi.
Moss Bell (Galerina hypnorum)
Saturday 11th March 2017:
Today I decided to cover the section of the Common on the cook's nursery side of the Worcester Rd. The skies were again overcast but the temperature felt very mild. At the stand of mature silver Birch I observed a Chiffchaff flitting about and singing sporadically. The first of the summer migrants had returned. Hearing it's song made it felt like Spring had finally sprung! Also at the Birch stand was a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. The male bird was drumming occasionally against a dead Birch trunk.
It was a pretty good day invert-wise too as I recorded an Orange Underwing moth flitting around over some of the younger trees in the smaller birch covered area. 3 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were noted and a number of Buff-tailed Bumblebees were also active.
Sunday 11th March 2017:
I returned to the Cook's side of the Common, this time with my sound recorder in hand. There were now 3 Chiffchiffs singing from different areas in this section of the reserve and I managed to record one of them (click on SoundCloud player at bottom of page) before the peace was shattered by a kid on a mini moto bike and one on a mini quad bike tearing around. Grrrr, so much for all the notices on the gates to the site!
I decided to head over to Hillditch pool for some relative peace and quite. I sat for a while just listening to the bird song when I was treated to the strange quacking like sound of a Common Toad croaking from the pond's fringes.