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Nature Notes Nature Notes for the month


Although cold frosty and sometimes snowy days still occur, the advent of March and the longer daylight hours leads to optimism that Spring is on its way. After yet another quite hard and this time, long winter, it is a relief to see the first flowers in the hedgerows. As I write this, snowdrops are showing well but will have come and gone by March to be replaced by celandines and the first primroses. Early morning birdsong is another reminder of imminent Spring; mistle and song thrushes have been


Fast Rabbit Farm


Garden created in sheltered valley with natural stream. Several ponds and lake, partially wooded, rockery, extensively planted, extends to 12 acres plus new woodland planting and walks. Car park. Some level walks


chorusing the morning for some weeks but are now joined by blackbird, robin and dunnock. If you are lucky, you may also hear a few snatches of redwing song before they head back north and east, eventually crossing the North Sea back to their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. Our resident birds will soon be joined by the first summer migrants, typically sand martin, chiffchaff and wheatear early in the month and the vanguard of many other species such as swallow and willow warbler at the end. Those well known almost charismatic summer visitors, ospreys, will be gearing up to start their long trek north from their West African wintering grounds. An insight of how far and how quickly they travel can be gauged from the satellite tracking of individuals on Roy Dennis’ excellent website, www.roydennis. org.


Sand Martin On arable land such as around


Open Sundays 11am-5pm March to November Bank Holiday Mondays


Admission £3.50, Children 50p


Parties welcome by appointment. Disabled: Please phone prior to visit www.fastrabbitfarm.co.uk


PLANTS FOR SALE


Ash Cross, Dartmouth Tel: 07813 504490


BTD033


Soar Farm near Salcombe, Skylarks will be rising high in the sky singing as they go before looping and gliding back to ground. This is probably one of the best places in South Devon to look for hares, a mammal I have always found difficulty in locating in South Hams. Another harbinger of spring is seeing the first butterfly of the year. Bright yellow brimstones are the first to actually emerge from pupae and can often be seen along woodland rides and country verges. These can be joined by other species such as peacock and small tortoiseshell that have successfully overwintered. Despite the cold, some will have made it and a faded red admiral was enjoying the sun at Exminster marshes on 12th!


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