March, 2014

Wildlife

Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Notes on nature

We love nature... from every little bug on a blade of grass to birds, butterflies, otters and oaks!
  • Monday's magic moment: on your marks...

    Sparrows. Everywhere, aren't they?

    They've come out on top in the Big Garden Birdwatch results again, and the ones in my new garden appear to be doing their best to keep their species top of the charts!

    I've just moved house and one of the first things I've done is give it a little clean and freshen up. The sparrows that frequent the garden, feeders and surrounding areas are doing the same.

    I've watched them all weekend carrying grass, feathers and twigs around - it's more interesting than cleaning, after all! They're clearly building a cosy nest ready for raising this years chicks.

    And the spring weather has clearly spurred some of the other birds on too. This morning I spied the local starlings doing the same, obviously not wanting to be left behind! I imagine the chaffinches and blackbirds won't be far behind.

    Have you seen any birds getting ready to nest this spring?

    House sparrow carrying nest material (Image by Mike Lane (www.rspb-images.com)

    This house sparrow carrying nesting material was snapped by Mike Lane and is one of thousands from RSPB Images, our online photo library. Take a look and fill yourself with the joys of spring!

  • Monday's magic moment: back from Africa!

    They're back! Wheatears are starting to arrive back from their winter quarters in Africa. This fabulous photo was taken by Nigel Blake at a regular stop-off point for migrating wheatears in Hertfordshire, and comes from our RSPB Images library.

    Though wheatears mostly breed in upland areas in the UK, they can turn up on almost any open land during their migration (even football pitches and playing fields).

    Wheatears that migrate a little later in spring tend to be birds heading back to Greenland to breed, and they undertake the longest non-stop sea crossing of any songbird.

    Other migrant birds arriving back in Blighty at the moment include chiffchaffs, little ringed plovers, sand martins and swallows. What have you seen?

  • Monday's magic moment: toad-fish

    How surreal is this little guy! Suspended in clear water, this tiny toadlet measures barely a centimeter in length, but already it has that characteristic face which reveals its identity as the common toad.   

    Infant common toad by Ray Kennedy

    This choice was inspired by the sight of an adult toad languidly swimming across open water in Fen Drayton this weekend (living dangerously with so many wading birds around). I realised that it's around this time of year that frogs and toads will be laying their eggs.

    Well done to Ray Kennedy of www.rspb-images.com for this cracking image.

    If you've been lucky enough to have frogs or toads spawning in your pond we'd love to hear from you.