March

Chiffchaffs may have overwintered and will be singing on sunny days.The first summer migrants that are usually noted by mid-month are wheatear, sand martin and Sandwich tern. Garganey, common tern, yellow wagtail, willow warbler and sedge warbler may arrive by the month’s end.

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. At the beach reserve there will be hundreds of black-headed gulls (with their dark brown hoods) and Sandwich terns prospecting on the islands of the saline lagoons. Look and listen out for the Mediterranean gull with their truely black heads and cat like call. The winter ducks will be paired up and displaying in their bright plumage, look for wigeon, shoveler, pochard, tufted duck, gadwall, teal, and pintail.

Hundreds of wading birds such as oystercatcher 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 and sea ducks such as common scoter 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 grey willow and alder will be out as will be the almost non-stop flowering gorse.

If the weather is mild more bumblebees and butterflies such as 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.