Moving forward into March and the thought of Spring and just a little bit of wildlife around the corner, the memories of snow faded away. It was a mixed bag of weather, to be expected, with some misty foggy days and beautiful sunshine making it feel warmer even if the thermometer didn't mirror that!
It was a welcome sight to see that the harsh weather and banked up piles of snow on the road verges had not perished the Early Purple Orchids that emerge every year along the back lanes. This year there actually seemed to be double the amount of plants just starting to come up.
Moving into the second half of the month I was able to get my moth trap out and start the year list off, not expecting many species I was happy with the species I added.
There was a movement of birds starting to move about and the prominent one I was keeping an eye out for were Ravens. A number of reports were being circulated of one or two Ravens around the neighbouring villages, and on one morning I narrowly missed out on a pair over the Plantation wood along the clifftop fields, typical I walked the other direction that morning! But on the 21st whilst in the garden I heard the unmissable 'gronking' call of one passing along the coastline, excellent, I could now add it to the patch list and also the garden list, and if that wasn't good enough I had another bird fly over the garden and a possible sighting of a third later that day!
Things ramped up a notch from the 25th of the month, I saw my first returning Sand Martin from the garden. With warm weather and blue skies the raptors started to move, I had 8 Common Buzzards over the house at one time and a lot of Red Kites were moving along the coastline, 5 passed in one group.
The very next day, the 26th, started in a bit of a panic! There were 3 Common Cranes moving along the coast heading my way, now these birds are not new for me here, I have seen a couple of groups but they have normally been heading away from me, and what happens most times is that they totally cut off this stretch of the coastline and head straight inland after Cromer back to the broads. The last sighting I read was at Sidestrand heading towards Trimingham!! Frantically searching the skies from the garden I thought I had missed them/drifted inland before me.....then they appeared low over the fields heading closer and this time I grabbed a few photos of them facing me for once.
A passing female Marsh Harrier finished the day nicely.
On the 29th we saw our first Swallow of the year, soon to be followed by quite a few more and Sand Martins by the end of the month. On the 30th I had a male Siskin on the feeders, my first one to actually feed in the garden, it was joined on another day by female type.
So March was turning into a great month, but the icing on the cake came on the last day of the month....a male Hen Harrier passed low south past the house whilst I was sitting in the garden during the afternoon, I had missed female ( ring tails as they're known ) hen harriers before, tending to head across further inland, so actually seeing a male from the garden was a fantastic sight.