April began with relatively mild weather and good numbers of birds were feeding around the garden and on the feeders. Species included siskins which I hope will stay around and breed here this year plus a pair of mallard on the Big Pond where a heron also visited daily and on one occasion two herons arrived together. In the evenings two or three bats emerged from under the house roof but I still have no idea what species we have here. At the end of the first week a female blackcap was seem in the back garden and as the earliest of the dandelion flowers went over a single linnet arrived to eat all available seeds. Other visiting birds included two treecreepers who regularly disappeared into a crevice in the old willow next door, so I am hoping they will have a successful nest there. The weather grew warmer at the end of the week and the garden at the back of the house was full of wonderful cowslips, their subtle scent filling the air in the evenings.
A pair of red-legged partridges roamed the garden during the second week popping in and out of the hedge bottoms in search of a safe nest site. The weather became a little cooler and some welcome rain refreshed the borders. Several bird species obviously had nests around the garden, in particular two pairs of blackbirds and several dunnocks which find the large sedges I grow in the long borders especially good nesting places. On the 14th a male redstart appeared in the garden. This tends to happen in the second week of April every year and is always a thrill to see. They are stunning birds and I feel privileged that they stop off in my garden and find food and shelter here for a couple of days before moving on to their nest site. Another bird that was very active early this month in the garden was yellowhammer – a pair in fact with the male singing from the top of one of our thick hedges. Hopefully there will be a nest in the garden again this year. At the end of the second week of the month a single swallow was seen in our area but none were seen over the garden itself, plus it is sadly some years since we had a nest in the porch.
As we moved into the third week of April the male redstart was still with us although the weather turned cold and windy. two starlings quite unusual Birds here visited the bird feeders and also had a bath in one of the mini ponds. the next few days were warm and spring like and the first orange tip butterfly appeared around the garden plus a speckled Wood. as the week's progressed more orange tips appeared making it easily one of the best springs we've had for this species for some years . other butterflies began to appear in the warm weather including peacock small tortoiseshell and a gorgeous female brimstone which was laying eggs on the Alder buckthorn on the edge of my Meadow. in the big pond both common and great crested newts were plentiful and plants around the pond edges started to grow rapidly. the weather was warm and sunny for the whole of this week which was lovely and a spring seemed to erupt all over the garden it became obvious that this was a vole year for us with bank voles scuttling about in the long grass and Borders all over the garden. Queen bumble bees were also very numerous. on the 20th two swallows flew around the house and to chiffchaff and a black cap was singing Around the garden
the warmer weather was soon behind us though but all the local Warblers continue to sing . other birds especially Robins were frantically feeding young in nests in the hedgerows and both male and female bullfinches said on the dandelion seeds in the lawn full stop overnight on the 26th and 27th of the month we had a Ferocious storm. it was wet and very windy but thankfully there was no damage around the garden as they had been the same time last year when one of our old hawthorn trees fell apart. as we move towards the end of April the weather improved again and it was warm and sunny until the end of the month. chiffchaff , yellowhammer and the local blackbird sang constantly and the whole garden seemed alive with wildlife.