NATURE

Appleshaw Nature Watch

Read the latest Appleshaw Village nature diaries by wildlife expert Rob Read

March 2021

An Ode to Spring

March is a time of change in the wildlife calendar, and it can be a busy time of the year as a result. By the time you read this the birds will be nest building, frog and toad spawn will be decorating our ponds and ditches, and the landscape will be taking on a much more colourful hue with the fresh greens of new growth and the first of the year’s wildflowers in bloom.

Here are a few things to look out for this March

Appleshaw village is blessed with a large amphibian population with toads, frogs and various species of newt all finding a home in the village. At this time of the year, these animals will be making their way from their terrestrial wintering sites to their breeding ponds. This often involves them in crossing the roads through the village that fragment their habitat. The fact that this happens as darkness descends and coincides with the homebound traffic, does nothing to improve their chances of making a successful crossing, and thousands of these animals are killed on roads across the country.

Appleshaw Toad Patrol has been helping to mitigate the loss of amphibian life by patrolling the roads for the first hour or two of darkness, collecting these jaywalkers in buckets and seeing them safely across the road. Let’s hope these efforts result in our ponds teeming with tadpoles again this year, ensuring a healthy population is maintained into the future.

The village also boasts a diverse range of birds, some of which are resident year-round, others which arrive for the spring and summer months. By now, most will be busy with family plans for the year and nest building will be in full swing. The Blue Tits in our garden have found the nest boxes I put up in the winter and are now busy ferrying in all manner of twigs, grass, moss and similar nesting materials.

Get up early and you will be blessed with the increasingly loud dawn chorus as the avian world vies for territory and mating partners. The Robins and Blackbirds are the first to break the dawn silence, but it’s never long before the tiny Wren wades in and delivers its unmistakable song, vocally punching well above its weight.

The Robins and Blackbirds are the first to break the dawn silence, but it’s never long before the tiny Wren wades in and delivers its unmistakable song, vocally punching well above its weight.

And any day now the first of the Chiffchaffs will be heard delivering its onomatopoeic song along the sunny edges of Ramridge Copse as it arrives from more southerly climes.

Primroses and Lesser Celandine will start to add their hues of yellow to the landscape and the blossom of Wild Cherry and Blackthorn will soon also add their cheer.


About the Author

Rob Read is a photographer, author and the founder of Purple Crow, a nature website which aims to bring people closer to the wonders of nature by sharing wildlife facts, commentary, trivia, musings and prose from expert contributors – all illustrated against a backdrop of stunning wildlife photography.

Rob is also the founding director of the Bird Photographer of the Year competition.

About Appleshaw

Appleshaw is a village and
parish in the English county
of Hampshire. It lies directly
on the border with Wiltshire

Contact the Editor

editor@appleshawvillage.com

Parish Council
Contact Details

Appleshaw Village Hall Appleshaw, Andover
Hampshire, SP11 9BS

Village mobile: 07902 989797
appleshawparish@gmail.com