After the excitement of the eclipse – Labrador Bay was a great vantage point to view the phenomenon – spring is slowly springing on our slopes and in our hedgerows.

The star of the show – the Cirl Bunting has had a good winter with flocks of 30/40 gathering around the two feedings areas. The males are now in pristine plumage, singing vigorously and beginning to set up territories. Although aggressive on territory the feeding areas are neutral zones, though pairs tend to feed close to one another. Song is everywhere and those males by the busy road sing the loudest! We are hoping for a good year, aiming to better last year’s 21 pairs – only time and weather will tell.

Since Easter, Birdsong is increasing in volume and species: Skylarks above each field; green woodpeckers yaffling; great spotted woodpeckers drumming; chiffchaff, song thrush, blackbird, blue and great tits, greenfinch are back; linnet, chaffinches all joining the chorus. As yet no blackcap, though buzzards are displaying overhead and ‘mewing’ as many as six at a time in the thermals. Long-tailed tits are nest prospecting amongst the white blackthorn blossom. Kestrel and sparrowhawk are around; so far the latter have appeared to leave our cirls alone.

There is no sign of the peregrines at the moment, they were seen during the winter but there has been a lot of erosion on the cliff side edge – this may be a factor.

A few butterflies are about small tortoiseshells and peacocks being the most obvious – let’s hope they will use our nettles again for their eggs/caterpillars. I did see one speckled wood and one early wall brown, both pristine and newly emerged.

Soon we will have the added pleasure of a carpet of bluebells in the plantation wood, plantation field and valley field with the added attraction of interspersed early purple orchids.

On Easter Monday whilst consuming one of Wayne’s (he mans the ice cream van) ‘99s’ a red kite did a fly-past of the car park!

Lots to see worth a visit – I am happy to do walks by arrangement, please phone 01392 432 691.

John White – Labrador Bay Volunteer Warden

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