What to Look For
The first summer migrants are usually noted by mid-month are wheatear, sand martin and Sandwich tern, and garganey, common tern, cuckoo, yellow wagtail, willow warbler and sedge warbler may arrive by the month’s end. Chiffchaffs will be singing on sunny days.
Despite the short days some birds will have started their breeding season – ringed plovers will be displaying on the beach, great crested grebes will be going through their elaborate courtship on the pits and the cormorants will be nesting at Castle Water. However, if the winter is cold many birds will be forced south, so flocks of many ducks, especially wigeon, shoveler, pochard, teal, and perhaps pintail may be present, a rare one to look out for being the smew.
Hundreds of wading birds such as oystercatchers and dunlin feed along the shore and congregate to roost on the sea bank at high tide. This is also the best month to see huge numbers of gulls gathering to roost along the beach at dusk. Migration may be evident offshore. Watch out for large flocks of Brent geese heading east. Sea ducks such as common scoter and red-breasted merganser may also be on the move.
Further signs of spring this month will include the first flowering of; coltsfoot, scurvy-grass, early forget-me-not, blackthorn, rue-leaved saxifrage and, at Camber Castle, wallflower. The flowers of willows and alder will be out.
If the weather is mild more bumblebees and butterflies like brimstone, small tortoiseshell and peacock will be flying and more moths will be on the wing on milder nights such as herald and angle shades.« February | April »