I feel I should start by clarifying that I don't have anything against Mondays. In fact, I generally get on very well with them. But just occasionally they make me feel a little crotchety.
But you know what? That's totally okay. Because even in moodiness it's possible to find beauty as this great shot of a double rainbow against a gloomy grey sky shows.
Whether you want to brighten your mood, or wallow with me, there are plenty of photos on RSPB Images to suit your mood this Monday morning.
What sort of mood are you in?
On a stroll around The Lodge today, it felt like spring! There was warmth from the sun, birds were singing all over the place, and a surprising number of insects had ventured out and about.
If the weather's good for you this weekend, watch out for creatures like honeybees (as in the photo above), bumblebees, ladybirds and maybe even butterflies. The bees and butterflies will appreciate any early-flowering plants you have. We've got loads of wildlife gardening advice for you in our Homes for Wildlife project.
Have a great weekend!
I'm sure that it's not escaped your attention that this year is a leap year? And, if this photo by David Tipling is anything to go by, our hares are getting into the spirit of things!
They're easier to see at this time of year, before the farmland crops and grasses grow tall. And keep your eyes peeled for boxing females, March isn't far away, so they're sure to start sparring in earnest anytime soon.
As well as this one, there's thousands of other brilliant nature images over at RSPB Images. Taken by some of the UK's top nature photographers, they're all available to buy, too!
As we’re coming to the end of the BTO’s National Nestbox Week, this weekend is the perfect time to put up a nestbox in your garden.
Get your nestbox
Firstly you will actually need your nestbox. Take a look at our online shop – we sell a range that suits every taste and budget. To celebrate National Nestbox Week there's 10% off all nestboxes. So make sure you buy yours before 21 February. Our range is also available at our reserve shops.
Perhaps making one is more your thing? On our advice pages there’s lots of information to help you build your own bird des-res. And it’s a great activity to get the whole family involved with.
It’s not just small birds that use nestboxes, we’ve also got plans to help you build kestrel and owl boxes, we sell swallow and house martin nestcups, and you can find out how to provide for swifts too.
Location, location, location
Where you site your newly acquired, or lovingly handmade, nestbox is important, and varies for the species you are trying to attract.
Generally though, face the box between north and east, avoiding strong sunlight and the wettest winds.
Make sure there’s a clear flight path to the nestbox, without any clutter directly in front of the entrance. Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and bounce clear. For all the information, see our website.
Keep your eyes peeled
Once your nestbox is in location, it’s up to the birds. Many garden birds are now on the hunt for nest sites, so hopefully your box will soon become home to a new family.
Some are already nesting however; let us know if yours are!
Have a great weekend.
You might think that it’s the calm before the storm out there in your garden. That the blackbirds and robins are quietly going about their business in readiness for the upcoming breeding season. But, believe it or not, some birds will actually be putting the finishing touches to nests and settling down to lay eggs. Yes, really!
There’s a few early starters you may find in your garden:
As well as being very territorial and chasing away any interloper, robins have actually been found nesting in every month of the year! Usually it’s from early March, but there’s no reason why you won’t spy your garden friend nesting right now. In fact, we've already had calls telling us about nest building.
Look out for song thrushes too. These speckle-breasted songsters also have a prolonged breeding season, and again have been found nesting in most months.
Keep an eye out for blackbirds. Now, like robins, they start nesting in early March, but we've had reports of nest building and, incredibly, already having feathered chicks.
An urban thing?
It’s been suggested that perhaps it’s an urban thing, what with more hiding places, mainly in garden shrubs, and potentially warmer temperatures than the countryside. This is certainly the case for woodpigeons, with urban pigeons beginning to lay eggs in February. We've had news that their cousins, the much daintier collared doves, are already breeding. They can, in fact, breed all year round if the conditions are right.
Down at the park
Away from your garden, a trip down to your local parkland pond or reservoir may well result in spotting more birds on eggs.
Great-crested grebes can lay eggs anytime from mid-February and, in exceptional cases, even earlier! They build their nests from weeds and twigs, where they’ll hatch out 3-4 stripy youngsters. If not nest-building yet, look out for their elaborate, dancing courtship display.
Take a look in the trees too for a massive, untidy nest. This could well be the work of grey herons. I always think they look a bit ridiculous in trees, but this is where they choose to nest, safe from any ground predators. After laying their eggs during February, 25-26 days later three or more Mohican-hairstyled punks will hatch out. We've seen the herons repairing nests from our viewpoint in Verulamium Park, St. Albans. For the next two months we'll be showing you the goings on at the herony, so why not pay a visit if you're in the area?
What’s breeding in your garden?
Have you seen any evidence of early breeding? Is there a robin in your nestbox? Have you seen a heron sitting on a nest at your local park? Make a comment and let us know what you’ve seen and where you’ve seen it...