January 2020 – Reserve
6 Feb 2020
Our Reserve Manager, Richard, reflects on January
Testing periods of wet weather may present challenges out on the reserve (path closures and plant loss) but what is the effect on wildlife? For wildfowl it’s boom time with the extra flooded land providing new feeding areas. For others like small mammals it’s a quick scramble, and maybe a swim, to higher ground. In general, wildlife is much more robust than we expect and will quickly bounce back from heavy rainfall. After all, flooding is a natural process which helps to clean debris from reed beds and deposit silt on low lying land. Unfortunately, it’s human pollution than causes the issue as often excessive nutrients can be washed into our rivers presenting problems for lakes and other water bodies.
Duck numbers fluctuate wildly over January as birds become more mobile. Some days we may see only a few wigeon whereas on other days there can be over 100.
Away from the floods, we have spotted deer and hare tracks through the woods as well as badger diggings along path edges.
Despite the weather, birds are starting to sing again. Blackbirds, song thrush and tits can be heard along with the first drumming woodpeckers.
On the farm our winter feeding programme has been attracting plenty of linnets and chaffinch, with an occasional reed bunting, yellowhammer and even brambling popping in to feed. From the farmland hide roe deer can be seen in the crop and red kite, buzzard and marsh harrier can be spotted drifting over the fields.
To find out more about the species you can find out on the reserve, head to our Wildlife Education Centre next to the shop, you’ll find a list of what was spotted last year and species you may be able to identify during your visit. Alternatively, you can view our 2019 February records here.