The Garden Diary

March (Part 2) 2003

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16 March - On another brilliantly sunny day there were numerous bees about although none landed where I could photograph them. What I did spot was this moth, resting on a piece of timber.

The nearest my guide books could suggest is a Grey Arches, but the timing and location is wrong. A look on the internet came up with a much better match - the Early Grey, which is a common Spring moth.

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It looks as though the crows are nest building in the oak tree that is in the corner of the Brickfields Park nearest to our house. This is the first time this has happened there.

While Sheila and I were having lunch outside for the first time this year I looked up and spotted a Buzzard flying over - a very rare sight. It was very high, and the sun's position meant it wasn't possible to get a good look at it, so I could not tell whether it was a common or Honey Buzzard.


17 March - Another glorious day has started on a good note with the Thrush having a bath at 8.40am. This is the first time I have seen this, and it follows a dash around the ponds as the male Blackbird tried, unsuccessfully to chase it away.

To regard the Thrush as a regular in the garden for the second Spring in succession is marvelous after an absence of too many years.



18 March - The marvelous weather continues, although there was a cloudy start to the day, it soon cleared and in bright sunshine the temperature got up to 15C in the afternoon.

I mentioned the crows nesting the other day. This afternoon, while Sheila and I sat outside again, one of the crows came to the top of the Leylandii and spent some time removing what appears to be a length of bark. The main picture shows it silhouetted against the evening sky as it prepared to head off to the nest where its partner was already busy.

In the garden I am still waiting for the first Daffodil bud to open. I missed the opening of the first flower on a Lesser Cellandine on the weekend - it was hidden away under a shrub beyond the pond.

The picture shows how well the Oxlip is doing at the moment. Right next to it the first Forget-me-not has started flowering.

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Just after I had taken the Crow photograph I spotted a large (Queen?) wasp having a late afternoon sunbathe, but by the time I had changed the 'front end' of the camera it had flown off.


20 March - The great weather is continuing, with a high today of 15C. Mind you the temperature drops quickly in the evenings. I have to pour hot water onto the birdbath most mornings to melt the ice.

At last there are more Lesser Cellandines flowering, although there are still only a small number compared with what I expect to see.



Buds on the small Willow (that is growing in a container, buried in the ground behind the big pond) have started bursting to reveal thits first catkins.


The Wood Pigeons are still intent on getting to the Ivy berries, and the task is becoming increasingly difficult.

As I watched today this one fell out of the branches several times as it tried to reach the choice berries.



I nearly trod on this bumble bee as it sun-bathed. It seemed quite dopey.



22 March - We have been out all day, taking advantage of the sunshine with a visit to the coast.

When we returned in the early evening there was a Sparrowhawk in the garden just before dusk - I rarely see it here this late in the day. It was here for nearly fifteen minutes, perching high up and swooping down every-so-often in an effort to flush some sparrows out of the santuary of the Hawthorn. At one attempt it succeeded and chased a sparrow out of the garden. It was back within a minute, so I assume the sparrow escaped. Eventually it gave up and headed off down the road.

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23 March - A very mild day, with a high temperature of nearly 19C.

I haven't yet seen any butterflies, but tow moth sightings need to be noted.

A Common Plume Moth appeared on a window last night, and tonight this Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria) moth came into our kitchen. At first glance it looks like a butterfly because of the way it folds its wings when at rest, but its feathery antennae show it to be a moth.

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25 March - This week I am spending most of my time at the top of a ladder or a scaffold tower as I take advantage of the good weather to replace the guttering around the house.

For the last week or so I have heard the songs of Greenfinches but have not been able to see them. Today, this one sang for ages as I worked on the guttering, staying long enough for me to get my camera to capture this image.

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A Wren again escaped my camera today as it sang loudly in my neighbour's Birch tree. This time I was wearing rubber gloves and handling wood preserver, so could only stand, watch and listen.


27 March - I've had no chance to take any photographs the last two days.

As I worked on the guttering I heard the drumming of a woodpecker for the first time this year (from the direction of the Brickfields Park). The song of the Greenfinches is heard frequently through the day.

Today there have been at least two species of solitary bee active in the garden and visiting the bee hotels.

2003 Garden Diary Index.........Beginning of March..... .bNext Chapter (April)