Nature Notes March 2022

Total monthly rainfall: 33 millimetres. Maximum daily rainfall: 11 millimetres on March 2nd.

There were 9 days when measurable rain fell, and 10 days when cloud-cover reached 100% for at least part of the day.

Maximum temperature on the warmest day was 20C on the 23rd and 24th, and maximum temperature on the coldest day was 6C on the 6th and 7th. A grass frost occurred on the 15th , 24th, and 25th; sharp frost on the 21st, and hail and snow on March 31st. Otherwise, the only moderately windy spells were 11th-13th  and 19th March.


The first wildflower to bloom this month was the dog’s mercury along our roadside verge on the 3rd, followed by the first lesser-celandines on the woodland ride on the 6th. Wood violets began appearing beside the wood on the 22nd, wood anemone and bluebells on the 23rd, and snake’s head fritillary and ground ivy on the 23rd. Shepherd’s purse in the vegetable garden, and cuckoo flower beside the lake bloomed on March 23th, with greater-stitchwort in the ride on the 26th.These 10 flowers brought our total to 18 for the year so far.

Five species of butterfly appeared during the month – a peacock disturbed from among the logs in the woodland log-shed on March 2nd, and another by the woodland edge on the 19th; a red admiral beside the woodland hedge on the 14th; a brimstone flying along the drive on March 21st; a speckled wood in our woodland ride on March 25th, and a comma along the edge of the shave on March 26th.

Other insects this month were a red-tailed bumblebee beside the wood on March 16th; two bee-flies among celandines in the ride on March 17th ; a diving-beetle in the back pond on March 24th, a whirligig beetle also in  back pond and a 7-spot ladybird on nettles on the 25th.   

We have not seen any toads or frogs so far this year, but we did see a grass snake swimming on the back pond on the 26th March. There was nothing seen beneath our reptile shelters during the month.

New wild bird sightings were represented during the month by a kestrel hovering beside a hedgerow oak on the 17th, two grey-lag geese on the lake on the 21st, and a sparrow-hawk in our shave on 25th March to bring our total to 34 species. We continued to be visited daily by one or two herons, frequently by cormorants, and regularly by varying numbers of crows – including a murder of around 20 terrorising an unknown group of other birds in the woodland tree-tops on March 13th. We also witnessed a succession of starling murmurations during the first-half of the month.

Spring tree and shrub leaf development progressed as follows:

Buds began to open on March 7th on dog rose; blackthorn on the 7th; goat willow on the 13th; wild cherry on the 19th; silver birch on the 23rd; horse chestnut on the 27th, and field maple on the 31st…

Elder first leaves commenced on March 2nd, followed by hawthorn on the 7th; dog rose on the 12th; blackthorn on the 17th; wild cherry on the 21st; silver birch on the 24th, and horse chestnut on the 27th. The huge surprise was the unexpected discovery of many red berries on one holly tree.