Nature Blog Network

Grumpy blackbirds

Not many birds on the feeders this morning and those which did come were somewhat bullied by a grumpy male blackbird chasing them all off. Pity he didn’t pick on the squirrel who was cleaning out the food whilst Mr Blackbird was policing the area...

Talking of blackbirds, there was an interesting article by Dominic Couzens in the April issue of Birdwatching magazine describing evidence that blackbirds use acoustic (possibly ultrasonic?) clues rather than visual ones whilst worming. This study apparently involved some birds being blindfolded and/or exposed to white noise.

Which begs the question…how on earth does one blindfold a blackbird?

Meanwhile up on Saunder Height the meadow pipits were out in force.

on spring

At last the sallow or ‘pussy’ willow at the top of the lane is in flower, finally indicating that spring is here. It has been joined by the lesser celandine (related to the buttercup) and the first common horsetails are beginning to peek through the grass. The first bumblebee of the season appeared on Saturday. Housemartins have been spotted but no swallows or swifts yet... Interestingly the (cultivated) cherry trees are in blossom in the town half a mile away but the one is a neighbour’s garden is yet to flower.

catkins thumbnail horsetail thumbnail


Time to look at some of the lower plants which are fascinating but complex. Lichen are compound organisms containing a fungus and alga. The fungus usually cannot survive apart from the alga and the compound organism is very different from that produced by the alga alone.

These are the three lichen easily found on the lane - there are doubtless many others. All identifications are given in good faith but are ‘as seen’ and are not based on microscopic study. Please correct!

Candelariella vitellina thumbnail Lecanora atra thumbnailPlatismatia glauca thumbnail

Candelariella vitellina Lecanora atra Platismatia glauca

In another sign of spring, a house martin was seen today and a curlew on the moor on Easter Monday.