March 2022

Overwintering Swallows

Swallow by Amy Lewis

Swallows have started spending the winter in Britain instead of migrating 6,000 miles to South Africa, according to the British Trust for Ornithology.

The change in behaviour is one of the most remarkable signs yet of the warming world being caused by climate change, according to the BTO’s chief executive, Juliet Vickery.

Dr Phil Smith Wildlife Notes: February

Marram circles at Devil's hole

On 1st of the month, my spirits were lifted by the first Snowdrops in flower on Range Lane, while Jays called from the woods. Seedlings were already germinating on an area of bare sand created where a large Sea Buckthorn clump had been taken out by the National Trust. I was intrigued by circular marks on damp sand in the Devil’s Hole caused by the lashing of Marram leaves in the stormy winds. The following day, I went to see the new scrapes in Ravenmeols Local Nature Reserve excavated in areas also cleared of Sea Buckthorn by the National Trust. Two of them are shallow and gently shelving – ideal for Natterjack Toads. Two others are deeper and less suitable for Natterjacks but should attract other wildlife, including dragonflies. A real highlight was a bush of the nationally rare Don’s Willow which I had previously missed, probably because it had been partially concealed by Sea Buckthorn. Its flame-red stems were unmissable and I was able to confirm its identity by the arrangement of buds and the shape of dead leaves underneath the bush.