Maggie’s Spring notes

You may know Maggie Frankum – she is our resident bumble bee expert and has been involved with wildlife for many years.  From her house on Chapel Lane Maggie is sending me notes of what she has seen.  I am posting these in chronological order for your enjoyment and delight.

26th March

Some things associated with this current lock down situation are good – my daughter Alison went for a walk down Aylestone Meadows this morning, near the canal at St. Mary’s Mills, and saw something she would never have seen had she been at work. It was a grass snake whizzing off in the long grass before she had time to take a pic… – its years since she saw one when taking school holiday sailing lessons on a lake somewhere Watermead way.

Not content with just that, she also heard a yaffle; [green woodpecker] and definitely saw and heard a chiff chaff calling overhead  [not a willow warbler].

Also here at home [and Alison on the alloIment], I have seen butterflies:-  FIRST BRIMSTONE of 2020;  FIRST PEACOCK of 2020;  Small tortoiseshell and a Comma.  Bumblebee queens – yet to i/d the species

That’s all for now.

Keep watching! Keep smiling.

25th March

It is cold outside this morning but the sun is shining – I wonder what I’ll spot today.  A gull came and landed on the traffic camera post at the junction.  I couldn’t see the colour of its legs [too far away] but its wings seemed darker than the usual black-headed gull wings.  What might it have been?  Lesser Black backed???? Lots of bumblebees about – queens B. terrestris, some with pollen loads; also brown male Anthophora plumipes [Hairy-footed flower bees] chasing each other around, and any black females they can find.

Lots of little birds about – a gang of bluetits, great tits, long tailed tits. a wren; pair of robins etc. – it’s so quiet at the junction [hurray!] with less traffic and children going to school [as my mum used to say – yawping and yelling like fishwives]-  and you can actually hear dawn chorus bird song clearly along the main road.  What have you heard or seen in Knighton recently?  I get the grey heron checking out local ponds & fishes;  A kestrel was seen in a garden on Welford Road [don’t think it was a sparrow hawk – with their yellow legs.]  Entertaining squirrels magpies, crows; blackbirds, etc love fat balls and hide the containers around the garden. I have lots of gardening to catch up on [slowly]; seeds to plant etc; and its so good to have a garden or an allotment to tend.

24th March

An extra record for sunny yesterday afternoon …….FIRST COMMA of 2020  foraging Lesser Celandines and Wood Spurge  [this spreads everywhere but looks good].- in the front garden

23rd March

Hi everyone,

the pair of mallard quacks are back on the pond after a 3 day gap.  They potter up the lawn looking for a friend [me?] to give them food.  They are un-shooable!

Last night ca midnight gone, two foxes trotted around chapel lane corner onto Welford Road.  The dog fox was closely following the vixen……

A small size coloured  butterfly seen in the  sunshine yesterday  – likely a Small


Lovely sunshine today , o/n frost; cold wind