Spring is already on it’s way…………. Cliffhanger February 2013

1 Feb
Our wildlife is incredibly resilient to the seasons and all that can happen, if given enough time to recover. This winter, so far, has given us a good covering of snow and even more rain but in spite of this, some local residents already have spring on their mind.
Our local common frog and common toad will be spawning soon with lots going on in February. Another local resident getting ready are our local Grey Herons which can be regularly seen along the Cliff. Heron’s breed in groups (called Heronries) and egg laying can start at during February although March is more common. Given there are about 13,000 breeding pairs of Herons in this country, Heronries aren’t very common but one you can visit nearby, with an observatory, at Lower Moor Farm which is near Oaksey, just the other side of Malmesbury. It’s run by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and, I have heard, you can sometimes see Otters in the lake between the observatory and the Heronry.
With spring on the way it’s time to get those nest boxes built and out in the garden so here are a few tips:
  • place them in sheltered locations out of prevailing wind, rain and direct sun
  • don’t put them near bird feeders
  • ensure, if possible, that predators can’t get access, especially cats
  • mix open fronted nest boxes and ones with holes to attract different birds, but don’t put them too close together
  • try and get them up by mid to late February when birds start to inspect possible nesting sites
And please keep feeding the birds. We have seen an influx of birds from northern Europe as natural food supplies there are low. Waxwings are around in reasonable numbers (although I haven’t heard of any in the village) and this year we do have Blackcaps. These birds migrate to southern Europe in the Autumn but this winter we have Blackcaps arriving from further north. The photo is a male Blackcap (the females have a mid brown ‘cap’) that arrived last spring. If you do see any on your feeders please let me know on geoff_carss@hotmail.com.
Blackcap on 6th April 2012 - Sherston

Blackcap on 6th April 2012 – Sherston

And finally for those with an interest in birds there is one, possibly two, Green Sandpipers overwintering on the Sherston branch of the Avon upstream of the Cliff.
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2 Responses to “Spring is already on it’s way…………. Cliffhanger February 2013”

  1. sherstonwildlife February 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I had two people contact me today who both live near Sandpits Lane and the allotments – both having seen Blackcaps in their gardens. One paid was in the garden for 2 weeks before being chased off by a paid of Pied Wagtails. It also appears there are Redpolls in the village. While it’s not surprising it’s good to hear they are around as they aren’t very common.

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  1. Buzzard, shelduck, and blackcap | Dear Kitty. Some blog - February 5, 2013

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