BSNHS

©BSNHS 2014

There is a good chance of seeing this butterfly in March especially on warmer days. It will have gone into hibernation in places such as wood sheds and log piles during the autumn. It is interesting because it makes a rasping noise using its wings when disturbed, this is supposed to deter predators. It will be looking out for the young growth of Nettles on which to lay its eggs.

This bird used to be only a migrant to this country arriving in spring. In more recent years it has been noticed that many more of them are overwintering. This could be due to the fact that they often visit bird tables for supplementary feeding but it could also be a symptom of global warming. The photograph shows a male bird.

This Ladybird is one of the first to be seen in the year. They will have hibernated in small clusters under the bark of various trees and in similar places. These ladybirds are not carnivorous and feed instead by scraping mildew off leaves such as the Sycamore.

This moth is one of the first to emerge from hibernation during spring. It will have fed off the bloom of Ivy in the autumn and will now be seeking out the blossom of Sallow and Blackthorn.

A bird which is breeding at this time of year is the Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow. These sombre little birds are quite common in our gardens. They are secretive nest builders early in the year and lay beautiful blue eggs. Early naturalists used to sing the praises of the Dunnock due to its shy and retiring but industrious nature.

What they overlooked was that Dunnocks are not only highly territorial that they are also highly promiscuous. One female will mate with many males and often the chicks in her brood have different fathers. In order to try and ensure that the male bird is the father he will peck at the females opening to try and remove sperm placed there by the previous bird. They may mate over 100 times a day!

Although March is always associated with intense Hare activity in terms of boxing and chasing, the breeding season in fact lasts from mid-February to mid-September. The peak of activity in March is due to the fact that all the females come into season at the same time. The fact that the crops are low at this time makes the mating activity all the more obvious.

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Peacock butterfly

The Blackcap

The Orange Ladybird

Dunnock

The Dotted Chestnut Moth

Brown Hare


Willow warbler & chiffchaff