The month started well, on an albeit sunny but very cold and windy morning, with the sight of a pair of bullfinches in the damson trees. You can’t miss them, well the male actually, who has a brilliant red chest and black head, whereas the female is a sensible grey with a black head, which provides excellent camouflage.

Every year the bullfinches visit these fruit trees, to eat the buds, but there still remain plenty of damsons in the summer, so it is a great joy to see these splendid birds.

A couple of gold finches were also feeding in the trees at the same time.

These sightings contrast with the rather poor species count that was taken at the same time only seven days ago, for the Big Garden Birdwatch.

Spring presses on regardless of the weather, which has been cool and wet for the most part this month. However, the crocuses at Little Marshfoot are in full bloom, the snowdrops are splendid, and daffodils are in bud. For later blooming, the hyacinths are just peeping through the soil.

Again on the 22nd a pair of bullfinches were enjoying the damson tree’s buds, and farther afield, during a walk on the Cuckoo Trail the drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard loudly, a long tailed tit and a buzzard were spotted, as well as the more common robins, blackbirds, and a song thrush. Wild primroses are just about in bloom and lovely green leaves of the the Arum Maculam (aka ‘Lords and Ladies’ or Cuckoo Pint) are widespread.

In the fields opposite a good size flock of starlings is dining on the beetles and other bugs in the horse manure.