March can often be grim but this one took some beating; it was the coldest March since 1962, persistent high pressure over Scandinavia pulling in winds from Siberia. At least we were lucky with the snow which smothered large parts of the country on 22nd, deep drifts causing chaos. Here, there was only an inch or so and it didn’t last long.
With temperatures averaging 3.6 degrees C below normal, it was not surprising that most spring flowers and migrant birds were in short supply. Snowdrops were still in full flower at the end of the month, something I have never seen before, while the usual dune annuals were almost non-
One or two Wheatears were reported from mid-
Hoping to find a spring Chiffchaff, I strolled through the Ravenmeols woods on the last day of the month. None was to be heard, though a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming away on a hollow tree and I counted 36 Redwings on the nearby school playing fields. Plenty of Daffodils were blooming on the woodland fringes, again garden cultivars rather than the native species, while the first Lesser Celandines were showing on Range Lane.
One of the month’s highlights was a West Lancashire Wildlife field trip on 30th to Lunt Meadows to see the new wetland project. Steve White of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust guided us round this 70ha site which will be used for flood storage during high rainfall. It will also be managed as a nature reserve, with extensive reed-
Management to maintain the richness of our wonderful dunes never stops. I was pleased to see that volunteers had removed a large area of scrub choking the life out of the Montagu Road dune-
Despite the conditions, a few other birds were on the move, a visit to Ravenmeols on 5th being rewarded with three Waxwings trilling away on top of a dead pine. Equally interesting was an influx of Jack Snipe in mid-