The first few weeks of the new year have been quite hectic for our small team in wildlife enquiries. Here are just a few of the topics we have been talking about in recent weeks.
Unusual garden visitors
Lots of birds made a move into gardens and parks during the cold weather this winter, some of them causing plenty of confusion. We had a few reports of moorhens in trees which surprised a number of people, however it is a recognised behaviour for them to roost and sometimes nest in trees as well as feeding on berries. Winter thrushes have been making plenty of appearances as well as blackcaps, goldcrests and the bird of the winter so far, the waxwing. With over 3000 birds reported in the UK this winter, you have a very good chance of connecting with one of these birds. Keep your eyes peeled at any car parks where they have planted ornamental trees that still have berries on them!
Those of you who have put up nesting boxes may have seen birds going in and out already. This has been reported to us regularly this winter, most people were surprised to see birds taking an interest in nesting especially due to the cold weather. Some of the birds will only be using the box as a roosting place, some may be seeking a quick snack on invertebrates that are sheltering in the box and whilst others may be prospecting for a site to raise their family when spring arrives. It is unlikely that many of the birds will be breeding just yet but many of them will be making a start with nest building. It won't be long before all the real activity kicks off so keep watching. If you have not cleaned out your nestbox and birds are already investigating it, don't be tempted to clean it now, wait until the autumn.
Where to Watch Birds
As the winter in the UK is the time of year for a number of wildlife spectacles we have been assisting people with advice on where to go to see these amazing events. Starling murmurations on the Somerset levels have again been popular as have the pink-footed geese at the Wash.
Big Garden Birdwatch
There is lots of positive discussion going on around the biggest wildlife survey which takes place this weekend. If you have not had a chance to do it before then get involved this year. You can get involved via our website here. From our community polls we already know that the favourite birdwatch biscuit is the digestive and the bird topping the birdwatch wish list is the waxwing, but which species will be increasing and which will be decreasing, if you have any thoughts on this please comment below.