Spring has Arrived!!
To my mind, the arrival of the first swallow is always a sign that spring has definitely arrived. Several swallows have been seen in the Cree Valley in the last week or so and the earliest reported by a CVCWT member was 15th April.
Migrants are in general late this year and for the first year i can remember, i did not see a migrant in March. The first chiff-chaff finally arrived at Kirkmabreck, Creetown (one of CVCWT`s new management sites) on the 4th April followed by a wheatear on the 9th. The first willow warbler was again at Kirkmabreck on the 15th and these have now moved up the valley.
Blackcaps are now fairly commonly found overwintering in the area, staying at low levels and taking advantage of bird tables. They move back out to their breeding areas around now and i had one in my garden where they always breed on the 16th.
The other positive sign of spring is the emergence of insects from hibernation. Queen bumblebees appear to take advantage of the abundance of willow catkins at this time of year. My first buff-tailed bumblebee was on the 6th of April this year, which again is late.
Butterflies also emerge and peacock and small tortoiseshell have already been seen. A green-veined white butterfly was at the Wood of Cree on the 19th and an orange tip male (with the orange wing tips) was seen on the same day at Stronord. The late appearance of Cuckoo flowers this year, the food plant of the orange tip, may have detrimental effects on this species this year.
One of the open woodland specialists of the Cree Valley woodlands, the Tree Pipit was heard singing on the 19th at Knockman Wood.