Thursday, 24 May 2012

The end of another academic year... and Spring sightings!

I'm back!

It's been a long, hard slog this year but I'm delighted to say my 2nd year is behind me - bar the small matter of the results.  I think it is fair to say that we all noticed the upwards shift in academia between the first and second years.  Modules completed this year included: Biological Surveying, Principles of Habitat Management; Landscape Ecology and Assessment, and; the utterly dire Academic and Professional Development.  Highlights of the year included small mammal trapping, use of GIS software, field trips and landscape ecology lectures.

In terms of crazy weather - we've had an exceptionally dry and warm March, followed by an exceptionally wet April and now we're into May - currently the sun is shining bright and an Orange-tip butterfly has just flown past my window but who knows what the remainder of the month will hold!

Following submission of the last of my assignments I took a wander round Norsey Woods to see the Bluebells before they disappeared.  It was a lovely day although it was very muddy underfoot.  Lots of lovely wild flowers to be seen and a very handsome Buff-tailed Bumblebee (below).

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Green Alkanet
Yellow Archangel
Greater Stitchwort

Red Campion


In addition to these there were numerous birds singing in the trees including Blackcap and Chiffchaff - both of which I was delighted to be able to spot in amongst the foliage!

Last week saw the arrival of our garden fledglings: House Sparrow, Starling, Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove.  The picture below shows one of the Starlings attempting to feed itself.  It was quite comical to watch as it struggled with when to open and close its beak.  Most of the food ended up out of the tray.  One of the adult Starlings spent a lot of time singing the most melodious song and looked very much like a bird of paradise with his head raised and his throat warbling.

And finally, my very first 'Wildlife Diary' has been published in the May issue of the Essex Field Club newsletter.  It was a very exciting day when it dropped through my letterbox yesterday.  A big hello and welcome to any EFC readers that make it through to my blog!

Don't forget you can follow my ecological wonderings (and other stuff) on Twitter using the link to the right - or tweet me @NicolaShearer - very original, I know!