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The arrival of Spring

The arrival of Spring

First of all please accept my apologies for the lateness of this blog, but it has been a very hectic time at the Abbey with new computer servers being installed and moreover just busy all round and I have been otherwise engaged the past few weeks.

Anyway, spring has finally sprung in the Abbey and although the daffodils have now all but disappeared there are now beautiful displays of bluebells to be seen all throughout the grounds with a particularly spectacular ring around one of the larger trees next to the Abbot's Kitchen.

Swathes of cow parsley are now dominant in the Wildlife Area as well as in other areas. This plant is a very important source of pollen for the multitude of insects that are emerging at this time of year, a bit more of which later.

We have nesting blackbird, song thrush, great-spotted woodpecker, carrion crow, wood pigeon, collard dove, dunnock, wren, long-tailed tit, jackdaw, moorhen, nuthatch and chaffinch which I have noticed, no doubt there will be plenty more species tucked away unassumingly somewhere around the Abbey.

Most of the blue tit boxes, that are placed around the whole site are occupied. The drake mallard is still on the fish pond and seems very tame indeed. A peregrine falcon has been spotted recently on nearby St John's Church and can be heard calling sometimes, so keep your eyes peeled when in the grounds as it may well be observed flying over and possibly even hunting over the grounds.

The warmer weather the past few weeks has seen a huge emergence in all of our invertebrate wildlife, several species of butterfly are now on the wing: peacock and brimstone being the most numerous along with small tortoiseshell, orange tip, comma, red admiral and speckled wood (pictured) which I took in the grounds last weekend. Bees have been putting in an appearance with buff-tailed, early and red-tailed bumblebees.

Quite a few solitary bees have been seen as well, most noticeably tawny mining bee and ashy mining bee. These bees whilst not being communal like their bumblebee cousins will nest in sometimes large colonies of individual nest with an individual female bee digging her own nest burrow and taking care of her single larvae. Other insects of note have been the dark-edged bee fly and about a dozen plus species of hoverfly and the odd common wasp.

Well that's it for now, enjoy the Abbey and the sun while it lasts...

Mark Huntington.

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Added: 12th April 2017