Sunday 26th February 2017:
I started the visit by heading straight to The Bog (ahem). There was no sign of any Snipe today but it was a welcoming sight to see that the Frogs had spawned there since my previous visit. 2 Common Buzzards were up soaring over the lower area of the common.
Spawn of the Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
From The Bog I decided to avoid the Sunday crowds and head over to the much quieter Hillditch Pool & Coppice. There were good numbers of Redwing present in the wooded areas surrounding the pool, one of which decided to take a bath in the muddy shallows. Also noted were 2 Goldcrests, a Treecreeper and a ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Tuesday 28th February 2017:
There wasn't much happening on the Common this visit due to the dull, cold weather but a Great Black-backed Gull that came over mobbing a Common Buzzard was an unexpected bonus addition to my site year list.
From the common I once more headed over to Hillditch for a mooch about. Birdwise, the most interesting sighting was the 2 Cormorant that flew over heading SW. One I did notice during the walk was a few small groups of Crocus that were just coming into flower. Although not a native UK species these naturalised plants certainly add a splash of much needed cover.
Early Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)
Wednesday 1st March 2017:
Although it was another dull overcast day it did feel noticeably milder. I started this visit with a renewed sense of optimism and was duly rewarded with the sight of 7 Common Buzzards up over the common gradually drifting west.
Whilst walking on the Cook's Garden Centre side of the common I also spotted a Ruby Tiger moth larva moving hurriedly across the grass track. A pleasing find and a sign that it was a bit warmer today.
Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa) Larva
Crossing over the A4025 that cuts across the common I was saddened to see a dead Badger at the side of the road. It is worth recording as it shows that the species is present in the area but the loss of such a great creature is sad all the same.
Over at the Rush Pool the Common Frogs had been very busy producing a mass of spawn which measured approximately 2ft x 2ft (that's just over 0.6m x 0.6m for you metric types).
Common Frog (Rana temporaria) Spawn
Thursday 2nd March 2017:
A rare sunny day on the common saw my wife and I undertake a bit of a walk (after visiting Cook's to buy some plants). I was hoping to perhaps see an overwintering butterfly on the wing but it wasn't to be. There were however plenty of Honey Bees visiting the Gorse flowers as well as a single queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). My first bumble of the year.
On the bird front it was reasonably quiet although the nice weather meant that Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were all observed up over the common.