Little Paxton, Cambridgeshire.March 2009.

I spent a couple of mornings trying to capture the cormorants and herons gathering nesting material. I positioned myself where some of them would bank round whilst on their way back to the nest, or on their way out to forage for twigs and branches.

The sheer size of some branches they were holding were large enough let alone trying to deal with flying with them. Some would land in the water to retrieve dropped twigs/branches or land with what they were carrying and then after some repositioning they would take a long run up and take to the air circle round then return to the nest.

And with all the birds present i did not see one feeding, they were all too busy collecting material for their nests. There was a single male smew in the bay close to where i was set up, but it could be elusive at times and just vanish amongst the tangle of tree roots.

There were a hand full of herons around but they only used the same flight paths as the cormorants on a few occasions, but they were very vocal and territorial, seeing off cormorants on the same nesting branch as them.

The geese were very vocal and actively aggressive towards opportunists muscling in on their girls. One pair of Canada geese were locked in combat for some time, both gripping each other by the neck and thrashing the wings at each other.They looked exhausted as one finally let go and departed very vocally announcing its disappointment in losing. And it was nice to hear chiffchaffs for the first time this year too.

March 2009.

This cracking Herald moth was found whilst i was on night shift, in Hertfordshire. There were no other moths found, but the weather had turned a bit colder than the week before.

Beeston Bird Ringing group.Bedfordshire. March 2009.

It was hoped that a good morning would provide plenty of birds now that milder weather had taken a hold. We were not to be disappointed. My dad picked me up and we arrived at beeston just before 9am. Luckily for us they had kept something back from a previous check before we got there. How glad we were they did, when they produced, ''drum roll please and Ta Daaaaa '' a green woodpecker from the bag, glad it wasn't a rabbit. What a cracker to see close up.

This male chaffinch was feisty and would not let go... poor jackie, she always gets them.

After the events of last time with the starlings it was good to get a lovely conditioned bird. The colours when the sunlight hits them is fantastic up close, and photos don't do justice to what your eye sees.

When the goldfinches were ringed we were given the opportunity to compare male and female birds. Looking at the red on the face you notice that it goes slightly beyond the eye on the bird in the front, this is the male, and although close in some examples it was good to see this definite pair. They also seem to be one of the most shy of birds when being ringed. They don't utter a sound but almost bow their head as if embarrassed.

There were good numbers of greenfinch being caught and a few males were more canary like in colour, they were so bright.

A great sight was a pair of goldcrests trapped in the same net, they turned out to be both males, but later a couple more were trapped and we were given good comparisons of male and female. The male being more orange on the crown with the female just yellow on the feathering.

How about that for colour, this male goldcrest was stunning.

With the female on the left, the orange feathering is mostly hidden beneath the yellow gold above on the male.

The moth trap had been placed out overnight and the mild weather drew in more than expected. These two hebrew characters show the difference in their colouration.

This is an early grey, and was a nightmare to photograph until placed on this tiny piece of bark.

This is a clouded drab (above) and a great find was this lead coloured drab(below).

There were good numbers of common quaker (below) in the trap along with two small quakers to boost the tally up.

Westcliffe on Sea.Sunday 8th March 2009.

Sarah, my dad and I got to southend/westcliffe early on Sunday 8th to try and connect with the regular ring billed gull. There was a fair sized flock opposite Rossi's ice cream bar and so we parked up and started scanning.

There were mostly black headed gulls with commons mixed in and we located just 3 med' gulls, a 2w and an adult pair. The 2w only had one leg, but coped with keeping its balance in the increasing wind, although by now sarah was too cold to stand on the front and so decided to scan the gulls from the warmth of the car.

It was 2 hours or more before the ring billed gull turned up and proceeded to drift up and down the front with the black headed and common gulls. With the sun opposite the direction of the wind the photography options were not good, with the gulls facing into the wind and the sun illuminating their arses i had too pick off my shots and hoped id get some to show for the trip. The ring billed gave good views for us all, with bins and scope, and was a new tick for sarah. It then drifted after a short time further along the shoreline and was lost in the glare of the sun, and after ten or so minutes it had not returned to the same spot, and with the parking ticket run out it was time to head home.

Wrestlingworth, Bedfordshire. March 2009.

During the first week of March i spent quite some time searching the fields around my village for a ringtail Hen Harrier. On the first night Sarah and i were successful as we both saw it coming into roost just as the light was disappearing. I then saw it leave the roost early the next morning at 06:37 and head off towards cambridgeshire. I saw it that night on the Tuesday of the 3rd but it moved away from a dog walker and was lost heading towards cockayne hatley. Despite a lot of leg work around the surrounding fields i did not see it again, but whilst out on the Wednesday evening looking for the harrier a short eared owl was seen hunting the fields between wrestlingworth and cockayne hatley, a lovely replacement for the non-showing harrier. Unfortunately i have not seen the short eared' again, a couple of days later i received an email from residents in the village who live along Bragg's lane ( the lane/track which leads to the roosting place of the harrier ) and they had viewed the hen harrier a few days earlier sitting on their fence at the bottom of the garden, what a sight that would of been.

Bedfordshire March 2009.

Sarah and I took a walk round the Lodge RSPB buildings and in one of the pools we noticed a lot of birds coming and going, either drinking or bathing. Amongst the five or so species were a few siskin coming down to the pool, so we patiently waited for their return and i was able to get some shots . The bathing shots would of been great if the light was not shielded by a wall but i was still happy with what i got.

Another shot of the barn owl i have been watching the last couple of weeks, very hard to get in the right place and it tends to venture off some way too, worth just a glimpse though.