Local sightingsReturn to the list of reports
- Long-tailed Tits had already been noted nest-building during the latter stages of January.
Right:Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus
The nest that gave them their 'old' name of Bottle Bird
These are now nesting on average two weeks earlier than they were 25 yeas ago
- a total of 19 Lesser Black-backed Gull moved towards roost over the village late afternoon.
- House Sparrows remained a regular visitor to gardens off Station Road.
- Blackbirds were obvious in many gardens, the late winter / early spring movement back to northern breeding grounds perhaps already taking place; most noted being males.
- Dunnocks were singing their tinny serenade from many hedgerows and even higher song posts.
- Lesser Celandine were already brightening many hedgerow bases.
- Canada Geese were occasionally joining the other wildfowl on the source of The Test.
- Snowdrops were to be seen throughout the Parish, gardens, roadside banks and woodland edges being amongst the favoured spots to find them.
- three Buzzard were again over the Town Meadow / Primary School area, two of which lingered for some time. Also in the air, later in the day, were Lesser Black-backed Gull in their pre-roost movements.
- Robins though vocal early in the day were not as obvious in their winter garden retreats.
- over wintering Chiffchaff remained about the wetter woodlands.
- a Pale Brindled Beauty was found on an office window at the school mid-evening. Stinking Hellebore were in flower on the southern side of Whitehill.
Right: Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus - Whitehill, Mike Duffy
Possibly the first to be found in the Parish
- another frosted start to a clear and sunny day. Three Red-legged Partridge were again in fields opposite Southington Close. A flight of 121+ Jackdaw moved low over the school late afternoon, when small numbers of Linnet were heading in to roost.
- a Collared Dove in the east of the village had been noted on a nest since the year started.
- a Muntjac and a Tawny Owl were on / by the B3400 on the Overton side of Rotten Hill early morning.
- the Muntjac was again on the grass verge of Rotten Hill early morning.
- a noticeably heavy frost remained in places for much of the day. A Little Egret moved off east from the garden of Southington House late morning, a pair of tufted Duck being on the main pool there. A Buzzard was seen circling over Court Drove in the wintry sun. A Great Spotted Woodpecker reappeared in gardens at Lower Ashe.
- two 'roosts' of hibernating Harlequin Ladybird off Southington Lane numbered 30+ between them, a cock Pheasant was also noted roosting in poolside trees. A Buzzard was once again over the village early afternoon.
- Brambling had been noted visiting a Two Gate Meadow for much of the year, the flock peaking at some 20 birds.
- the partially albinistic Blackbird appeared again in Woodlands where a female Sparrowhawk excited the less mobile species.
- flowering Dog's Mercury remained hidden, the green flowers not alerting many to their presence.
- after the initial burst of butterfly activity in January no further sightings had been reported by this date.
- a second partially albinistc cock Blackbird was seen in Woodlands. A Magpie was a rare visitor to a Station Road garden. Primrose were seen in flower in Court Drove whilst Long-tailed Tit were frequenting nearby gardens; the latter's ponds already holding frog spawn.
Right: Common Frog, Rana temporaria - Mike Duffy
Spring is on the way!
- White-tailed Bumble-bees were out early in the day, though there was no hint of sun.
- mild conditions were hinting at spring on the way, or global warming!
- overnight rain left some roads partially flooded to at least dawn. A Golden Plover was heard over the Town Meadow area mid-evening. The strongest earthquake ever recorded in Britain was noted elsewhere during the latter night.
- sheep were now in the field south of Southington House. A vocal Black-headed Gull over the village mid-afternoon was soon followed up by 29 Lesser Black-backed Gull moving north-east. The Tufted Duck population on the pools at Southington had grown to three whilst a Mute Swan was nearby, on The Test.
- a female Blackcap, in Woodlands gardens, was the first bird noted over wintering.
- the extra day to the month was not a herald of extra sightings!
Contributors: Dave Athea, David Cluett, Mike Duffy, Timi van Houten, Alison Hutchins, Bryher Hutchins, Jay Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Veronique Kerguelen, & Fenella Swinscoe.