Nature Notes – February 2019

By February 2, 2019 Wildlife

Snow was the big news this week, but what else is going on on the meadow?

Brown and cream bird, perching on a branch.

Song thrush, Turdus philomelos.

A medium sized passerine bird standing on partially snow covered ground. It has orange-red patches unter its wings.

Redwing, Turdus iliacus.

Birds are feeding, and calling, in large numbers. The thrush family generally prefer to feed on the ground and blackbirds, song thrushes and redwings are all hopping around the willow cathedral in search of food.

Small, orange breasted bird perching on woven willow branches.

Robin, Erithacus rubecula

Small blue and yellow bird perching on thin, straggly willow branches

Blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus

 

Smaller birds fly in mixed groups, feeding on the willows and surrounding trees – particularly oak and alder. Robins, blue tits and great tits hop over and through the columns and arches, feeding from the young branches and signalling their alarm at passers-by.

A small gull with partially black feathers on its head standing on muddy ground with snow in the background.

Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus

 

A slightly different kind of bird, the black-headed gull, is beginning to get its summer plumage. In the winter, their heads are white with a small black dot. These are the gulls that are often noisily flying around the oak barn.

 

 

 

Teasel combs backlit by sun.

Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum

Small, slightly spiky green leaves in a rosette.

New teasel growth

In places where the snow has cleared, the new growth of plants is visible. A short search near the base of last years teasels will yield the rosettes of the new plants. They look a little like spiky lettuce leaves. Last month only the hazel catkins were open, but now a few of the male alder catkins have joined them.

Brown truncated triangular box attached to a large tree trunk.

New Owl Box!

Finally we need to say thank you to TDBC for putting up our new owl box, and to Keith for making it. We hope it will be occupied this year!

 

 

-Enjoy the weather, whatever it is! Hester