Total monthly rainfall was 45.5 mm with a maximum daily rainfall of 11 mm on March 10th. The rainfall during the month was rather moderate, which is not unusual at this time of year. There was no measurable rain at all from the 20th to 31st. Maximum temperature on the warmest day was 18°C on March 30th, while on the coldest it was 8°C on March 12th. There were light frosts from the 26th to 29th of the month.

Nature Notes March 2019

 

Total monthly rainfall was 45.5 mm with a maximum daily rainfall of 11 mm on March 10th. The rainfall during the month was rather moderate, which is not unusual at this time of year. There was no measurable rain at all from the 20th to 31st. Maximum temperature on the warmest day was 18°C on March 30th, while on the coldest it was 8°C on March 12th. There were light frosts from the 26th to 29th of the month.The weather plays an important part in encouraging the blooming of the wild flowers, and we found some early first-sightings from the middle of the month.  On the 15th, dandelions began to make an appearance, while on the 20th wood anemone emerged in the woodland and some very early cuckoo flowers started to bloom around the garden pond and the lake. On the 21st we found four English bluebells, the first of too many to count by the month’s end. Marsh marigold flowered by our ponds on the 22nd, and wood violet first appeared on the 26th, and carpeted large parts of the ride by the 31st.

On milder days, especially when the sun shone for any length of time, a variety of insects became active, beginning with whirligig beetles on the back woodland pond on the 5th. Beside the same pond, and on the same day, hordes of sturdy, but tiny black spiders ran among leaf-litter on the woodland floor.  Also in the wood, two queen buff-tailed bumblebees meandered noisily beside the paths on the 7th. A long delay followed until, on the 25th, several bee-flies appeared among celandines in the woodland ride, and a queen red-tailed bumblebee “hugged the ground” along the woodland edge. We also found a seven-spot ladybird among nettle on the 29th, and a queen wasp indoors on the 30th.

It was a poor month for moths, which even failed to be attracted by our lighted windows and porch. Butterflies, however, which had been hard to find before, found the sunshine and 15°C temperature on the 24th to their liking, and a speckled wood basked in a patch of sunshine among dead leaves on the woodland floor, while a male brimstone flew beside the boundary hedge in our front eastern meadow. Our first comma was disturbed from a sun-trap alongside the wood on the 25th, a small tortoiseshell on the 29th, and a very early orange tip in the garden on the 30th.

Other creatures seen were a small common toad beneath a reptile shelter on March 19th, a grass snake slithering from the field into the lake on the 24th, and frog spawn in the lake on the 26th. Our wild-rabbit-watch produced some improvement this month, when a single rabbit was seen on the6th, 11th, 29th and 31st, and two were seen on the 19th.

Finally, the progress of shrubs and trees throughout the spring was as follows:

  • March   5th – Leaves started forming on hawthorn.  
  • March 11th -  Catkins appeared on hornbeam.
  • March 13th – Catkins appeared on poplar; buds were bursting on dog rose and field maple.
  • March 17th – Leaves formed on weeping willow and catkins appeared on goat willow.
  • March 22nd – Buds started bursting on wild cherry and silver birch.
  • March 24th -  First leaves on hornbeam.  
  • March 29th – Blossom on wild cherry.
  • March 30th -  Buds bursting on horse chestnut.