Willife Column: The spring season is now in the air

The last couple of weeks have seen some odd weather with warm, sometimes hot, days and very little rain.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:00 am
Bat by Simon Doncaster.

At night it has been exceptionally cold with some quite heavy ground-frosts due to the clear skies. So a bit of a mix but the hot sunshine has meant spring definitely drawing nature back to life.

I had my first feeding bats over the wildlife garden just last week.

They were active in nearby Oakes Park up until late November, but these were the first since the colder wintry period.

Both pipistrelle and the larger noctule bats were hawking insects around the trees one early evening, a sure sign of the changing seasons.

Around the garden both greenfinch and chaffinch have been singing their distinctive songs; and that is a welcome sound since both are now much reduced in numbers visiting my feeders in winter.

Did you know that birds like chaffinches have regional accents to their songs? So a French chaffinch for example, has a distinctly ‘French chaffinch’ accent!

The nearby woods have a great spotted woodpecker drumming regularly and joined in the higher treetops by both mistle thrush and a nuthatch.

Lower down in the dense holly areas of this small wood there are also both chiffchaffs and blackcaps singing.

I like to think that the blackcaps might include the female which over-wintered in my garden; that would be nice.

Close by I have also heard willow warblers and garden warbler in song and have had a few swallows flitting by as well. Both house martins and sand martins were at Clumber a few weeks back.

Starlings are once again nesting under a missing ridge-tile on a neighbour’s house and the other side have jackdaws at home in the chimney stack.

Another property nearby has house sparrows nipping under a loose tile rather than using my ‘des-res’ purpose-built sparrow boxes.

The blue tits seem to take more interest in their special nest-boxes than do the house sparrows.

But even they don’t seem to have committed so far; maybe they are all too spoilt for choice.