Both budburst and the first Chiffchaff in Hillhouse wood – Spring in getting into its stride

Fieldwork for the Track a tree phenology project is now providing me with plenty of excuses to pay frequent visits to Hillhouse wood.  The warm weather over the last few days will drive bud burst, so I need to ensure that I don’t miss it.  On 10 March bud burst was visible on parts of my Hazel coppice, so I knew that this would progress rapidly.  Sure enough, my visit on 13 March revealed that buds were now bursting on all parts of the stool.  In fact I was a little surprised / relieved to find that there was not any leaf break.  At least, in my third year on the project, I am becoming a little clearer on how to spot the appropriate signs of when each of these two stages is happening.

While in the wood I was pleased to hear the first Chiffchaffs ‘singing’ their two tone, somewhat monotonous ‘song’.  I was also very pleased to hear the resident Nuthatches calling, while overhead a group of four Buzzards soared low over the tops of the trees.  This is the largest group I’ve yet seen here – another sign that their numbers are growing as they re-establish a breeding population.

As the weather was most clement, I decided to nip over to Fordham to see what is happening on our meadow flower establishment trial plots.  ‘Not a lot’ was the immediate finding – although some of the bare earth plots did have just a few new seedlings showing.  While I was there I decided to check one of the pot centroid GPS co-ordinates that I’d measured back in the Autumn, and which had looked a bit odd. I was somewhat taken aback to find that the co-ordinates shown on my new phone were quite different to those I’d measured previously.  I don’t think that this is supposed to happen, but have no idea why, or what to do about it.  I’ll have to do some Googling.

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