Tom Gray’s Nature Notes: Delayed fieldfares spotted

Tom Gray
Tom Gray

It is my wife I have to thank fror her report on the flock of hundred or more Fieldfares that she encountered assembled on nearby overhead telephone lines as she drove past Craigmead on her way home over the Lomond Hills from the service in the Royal Chapel in Falkland Palace last Sunday.

Presumably their return to Europe by these large migratory thrushes has been delayed by the recent cold and windy weather, thus disrupting their normal schedule for crossing the North Sea.

You may have noticed one or two ladybirds emerging from hibernation, but on our recent sojourn south into England we were amazed at the numbers we counted when stopping in Back Lane, Walsingham, to identify the red spot on the roadside vegetation as a Seven-spot Ladybird. Without moving further we noted a dozen or so. Presumably this was a mass emergence induced by a bit of sunshine, though there was yet no sign of the Greenfly that would be required to sustain such a population of predators. From Norfolk we headed across country by train to Chipping Campden, where there were fewer, but still numerous ladybirds to be found, but our eye was quickly taken by dense green balls of vegetation suspended in the otherwise leafless branches of trees in the middle of the town. These were clumps of the tree parasite, Mistletoe, which I have only ever found once in Scotland, and that on the trees within the grounds of the Gallery of Modern Art Museum in Edinburgh. Strangely, I recently found it listed as the flower representing Clan Hay. Thanks to the reader who let me know of his first sighting of a Glenrothes Swallow of 2012 as being on 16th April.