Finished with winter

Looking at the weather forecast for the next few days, winter hasn’t finished with me but I’ve certainly finished with it! With only two days of February left, that means only two days left of meteorological winter, I can’t wait for spring to take over.

My last task of the season was on Saturday when I did a final winter bird survey at Bagmere Fen, the Cheshire Wildlife Trust site I monitor. Unusually for recent weekends, Saturday (and Sunday for that matter) was picture perfect – bright, clear blue skies, with a light frost firming up the soft ground beneath. The survey only takes around an hour but its a lovely way to spend a bit of a morning, wandering through a nature reserve looking for the sights and sounds of wildlife.

The survey brought no surprises but winter was much in evidence in the species I saw, with fieldfares and redwings moving through, visitors from Scandinavia for the colder months, and a few groups of starling. I have heard that there’s sometimes a starling mumuration at the site but I’ve yet to see it despite a handful of dusk visits to a nearby watchpoint.

There was disappointment as I haven’t recorded willow tit at the site again, in either of the winter visits I’ve made over the last few months. It’s a key species for the site but I only seem to record it once a year or so over the course of my six annual visits. This is quite a contrast to my recent visit to south-east Poland where these birds and their marsh tit cousins were some of the most frequently seen species.

Well, just two more days of official winter and my busy spring will begin. I’ve got more surveys at Bagmere to do plus another lot out on the Cheshire sandstone ridge, osprey and peregrine nest protection shifts, plus some trips out into nature around and about.

…but I must also remember to push through on my resolutions to do more photography and mountain biking…I’m just hoping the winter weather gives way to springlike conditions soon! Now I must go and find my snow shovel!

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