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Nature Notes April 2017

What a wonderful time of the year as the natural world awakens once more. We have seen a splendid show of Snowdrops and Crocus already this spring and right now Daffodils are at their best with great banks of golden blooms along many of our roadsides and in the Churchyard and our own gardens. It was good to see the Spring work on the farm progressing after the wet start to March which made the soil too heavy to work on. The three fields in front of Hall Farm and Wood Farm have just been sown with Spring Wheat. The recent few warm days should increase the soil temperature and give the seed corn a good start. I am a little mystified, why the birds have stopped singing. Three weeks ago we had Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Great Tit singing daily but they have stopped, do they know something about the weather and we are to have another cold snap soon? I know my hearing is not as good as it use to be but I am certain this is the situation and mother nature is telling us winter is not over yet and there is a sting in the tail. This is all the more remarkable as In a normal year the first of the returning Spring migrants, the Sand Martins can be seen over the mid-Cheshire Meres around Marton and Winsford in the last few days of March and the first few days of April. Whilst talking about bird song I must mention the local Starling who is very good at mimicking. It has perfected the call of the Buzzard. It catches me out many times, you hear the call close by look up to see a Buzzard only to find the Starling sitting on the house roof. I am pleased to report that I have heard the Green Woodpecker calling again this Spring, up in the park opposite the Church and also at the back of Wood farm. Its call, known as a ‘yaffle’ is very distinctive and cannot be confused with any other bird. In late Autumn I spoke about the gathering of hibernating Ladybirds, now all these insects are coming back to life, our house and the Church have plenty. A request, please put them outside as they are one of nature`s predators of greenfly and a friend to the gardeners among us. The first Butterflies and Bumblebees are on the wing and hopefully within three weeks the first Swallow`s and Cuckoo`s will be back, this is something to look forward to as usual. Andy Ankers