April has been a fascinating month for the wildlife on the farm with the dry weather giving the whole month a feel of summer. The Oil Seed Rape burst into flower between the 6th and 8th and changed the colour of the whole landscape. Hawthorn and Horse Chestnut have started to blossom as well giving insects and butterflies a plentiful nectar supply.
|Hawthorn in flower|
A Snakes-Head Fritillary appeared in flower on the village green on the 10th and Lesser Celandine and Marsh Marigolds were flowering about the same time. On the 1st Brimstone Butterflies were spotted at Westhorpe and Great Ashfield and Peacock, Orange Tip and Large White and Small Whites have been about all month. Two Barn Owls were disturbed in the dutch barn on the 1st and evidence suggests that they are regular visitors to and preparing to breed in another one of the boxes on the farm. A Sparrowhawk was hunting through the farmyard on the 3rd and Buzzards were circling over the farm on the 16th and 17th.
|Marsh Marigolds in Westhorpe|
On the 19th I found where the Buzzards are nesting and will keep watching from afar to see if the breed successfully. Little Owls and a Kestrel have occupied the same perch on the wires above the long grass along the farm drive through the month. In the Wheat fields there are very good numbers of Skylarks displaying and singing and Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps have continued to sing through the month. By the 18th the flock of Yellowhammers and Linnet that have been feeding around the lagoon had dispersed to set up their breeding territories and the first Mallard ducklings were at Westhorpe Hall on the 8th. There have been fledgling Blackbirds and Robins seen in the garden and on the bird tables from the 28th.