Monthly Archives: April 2015


St Mary's Headland

Over the past few weeks I have been putting in quite a few visits to St Mary’s wetland and the headland area in the hope of catching up with spring migrants. The migrant birds have been trickling in slowly (whilst I have been there anyway) with Wheatear on the beach, Sand Martin and Swallows hawking over the wetland and Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler in the scrub.

Ivory Gull

In late March this splendid Ivory Gull was in with a flock of Herring Gulls at the car park on the headland. This record shot hardly does it justice – its ivory and oatmeal-coloured plumage was beautiful.

Meadow Pipit

As always, there are plenty of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Linnets and Reed Buntings on the headland and in the fields next to the wetland area. Sometimes the Skylarks and the Linnets are so noisy it makes it hard to listen out for anything else.

Reed Bunting

One morning I spotted a fox poking around in the wetland area, presumably looking for its breakfast. I have seen it a couple of times and suspect it actually lives in the scrub in the wetland area.

Red Fox

Last week the Grasshopper Warblers arrived in the fields beside the headland. There were two or three birds reeling in the early morning on both Tuesday and Thursday but try as I might I just couldn’t see them!

With all the focus on St Mary’s I had been neglecting Holywell until this weekend, when I caught up with the American Wigeon. Luckily it had hung around and was still feeding to the left of the public hide on Sunday morning.

The scrape also yielded my first Common Sandpiper of the year, whilst quite a few Sedge Warblers were hiding in the rapeseed fields around the pond and I also spotted my first Whitethroats of this year in brambles beside the bridleway.

I love spring!

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood Butterfly

I saw my first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year today. At the end of last summer they were by far the most numerous butterfly so hopefully this will be another good year for them.

The warm weather has been good for the early Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock species but I have not seen too many Whites on the wing yet. What a  beauty this one is though!

Loved Up

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

The recent warm weather has been good for the butterflies that overwinter in their adult forms. There have been many Small Tortoiseshell on the wing lately, as well as a few Peacock and Comma.

Peacock Butterfly

The dry sunshine has allowed them to get on with their courtship, unfettered by rain or cold.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies

On my work patch I spotted several pairs, nestled close together with some rapid wing fluttering going on. The male will also drum his antennae on the hind wings of the female and after some afternoon basking, both butterflies will retire to mate on or close to the larval food plant (nettles for these butterflies).

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

I absolutely love this time of year!

Common Toad

Common Toad - bufo bufo

I almost stepped on this Common Toad on the path by St Mary’s wetland on Saturday. On its to way to breed in the pond but out in broad daylight, rather than moving under cover of darkness.

Common Toad - bufo bufo

Common Toad - bufo bufo

Common Toad - bufo bufo

Common Toad - bufo bufo

What a handsome creature! I especially like its orange eyes and the texture of its skin. It’s been a while since I have seen a Toad so it was nice to see this one. I am sure there will be quite a few more out and about on their way to breed now that it is spring – I can’t wait!