It’s garden-tidy-up time.

Keep a look out for hibernating amphibians as you tidy up your garden ready for winter. Frogs, toads and newts will find sheltered places to hibernate in hedge bottoms, compost heaps, under stones and in log piles and are best not disturbed. Take particular care if you are planning to clear out a pond: frogs and newts will sometimes overwinter in the mud at the bottom.

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More about acorns…

…and squirrels.

Here is a video, taken from BBC Earth’s Spy In The Wild series, about squirrels caching acorns.

The header picture was taken in the park by DKG

Hornets

An astonishing video of European hornets in flight.

Video by nature photographer, Lothar Lenz, published by Caters Clips.

Broad bodied chaser

Have you seen the male broad bodied chasers fighting for territory in spectacular aerial dog fights over the pond? There were at least ten of them yesterday, as well as two females laying their eggs in the pond’s shallow margins. If you’re passing, pause and watch; here is a video to help you with identification.

Header picture: broad bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) © Simon Knight.

Most of the reserve’s grey squirrels will have two litters of young this year. The first litter was born in the spring, and is now ready to be weaned in preparation for leaving the nest and the care of their mother. Here is a video of a family of young squirrels, on the edge of independence, trying to persuade their mother to feed them.

Header image by DKG

It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week

During this year’s Hedgehog Awareness Week, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society is asking people to turn their gardens into safe havens for hedgehogs. Our gardens are a stronghold for hedgehogs, perhaps the key to their survival as a species, and we can make their lives so much easier with just a little effort.

SMMS Guru Source: Saving Britain’s Hedgehogs | Athena Films | Channel 5

Bird table ID

The header picture is a male chaffinch (CC0).

Red kites again

Message from Ian, Sunday April 18th:

A Red Kite appeared over Sleepers Field and settled briefly on top of the Oak in the hedge between Sleepers and Cornfield before continuing towards Lambrok Meadow. I spoke with a nearby walker who said it joined up with another over Kestrel Field; we seem to have a pair that have included the park in their territory!

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Park nightlife

Wildlife photographer Simon Knight has been sneaking up on our badgers. Click the green button for a little peek into the park’s nightlife.

Header picture: badgers at a bird feeder in Lambrok Close: by Jude Summers

Buff tailed bumblebees

The aerodynamically unlikely buff tailed bumble bee queens are out of hibernation and, buzzing around between the park’s spring flowers. Here is a video about their surprising flying skills:

Nesting

At this time of year, the reserve’s blue tits are looking for nest holes in our old trees. The ash tree at Fiveways harbours a nest every year and the newly fenced oak near at the bottom of the Arboretum seems to have attracted more than one pair already.

Here is a video of a female blue tit building a nest while, outside, the male guards the site from marauders and thieves.

Video from The Nest Box
Header picture by Simon Knight

Rooks in February

Before the end of February, the nature reserve’s rooks will have started collecting building materials for their nests. Here is a video that shows us what kind of behaviour to look out for:

Video by Film Studio Aves;
Header picture (CC0) pixabay.com

On the twelfth day of Christmas

The park’s twelve drummers drumming are great spotted woodpeckers. They begin drumming at the end of winter as part of a courtship ritual in which the male marks out his territory and advertises his presence by drumming his beak against hollow wood 10 to 20 times in just 2 seconds, and the females replies briefly as she enters his territory.

Here is a video:

Video recorded in March 2019 by George Ewart

Woodpeckers

We have both greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers on our species lists but it is many years since the single sighting of a lesser spotted woodpecker in the park. Here is a video from the BTO to help you tell the difference between the two.

It’s garden-tidy-up time.

Keep a look out for hibernating amphibians as you tidy up your garden ready for winter. Frogs, toads and newts will find sheltered places to hibernate in hedge bottoms, compost heaps, under stones and in log piles and are best not disturbed. Take particular care if you are planning to clear out a pond: frogs and newts will sometimes overwinter in the mud at the bottom.

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No Humans!

Here’s a thing worth thinking about over your coffee of a Sunday morning.

The header picture is of the path through the copse between Sleeper Field and Sheep Field.

Swallows, swifts and martins

All summer long, swallows, house martins and swifts have hawked and hunted for winged insects over the park. The swifts have already begun their migration, the swallows will leave next and the house martins will go last of all.

Here is a short video to help you tell the three species apart.

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