With the current mild weather there are lots of signs that Spring is springing - lets hope we don't get a sudden cold spell to confuse everyone!
Yesterday the wardens saw their first curlew and lapwing of the season up on the bog and also heard a skylark calling high above.
A pair of ravens were circling with aerial acrobatics above the rocks and there is plenty of oystercatcher Spring-time activity on the reservoir! From the main car park we've seen a large flock of redwing, fieldfare, jay, goldfinch, greenfinch, pied wagtail, jackdaws and blue,coal and great tits. A woodpecker was drumming away in the background and mistle thrush heard singing in the fields. Mountain hare are still visible with a telescope or binoculars as their coats are still patchy white and stand out against the gritstone.
At Binn Green the feeders have been alive with greenfnches, goldfinches, chaffinches and brambling as well as redpoll, nuthatch and mistle thrush.
The peregrines have been spotted above Ashway Gap soaring high on the thermals, a dipper has been seen on the edge of the watercourse and unusually there have been a few sightings of a treecreeper which we haven't often seen in this area.
There are also water crickets to be seen in the pools around Chew Brook.
Thanks to Ken - one of our volunteers and local naturalist, for the following fascinating Spring snippets and photos (as well as the water cricket photo above!):
Its a great time to watch out for dunnocks in your own garden, as they flutter around like mad to attract a mate. These little birds are a pretty, velvety grey-brown and have a lovely song as they pair up.
Its also an important time for flowering trees like the willow, which provide a vital food source for early insects like bumblebees and hoverflies. There are some of these coming into flower in the wood beside the picnic area at Ashway Gap - the flowers are just soft, furry buds at the moment but will become beautiful yellow flowers like the ones below.
As well as willow, look out for tiny hazel flowers which develop into hazelnuts and larch flowers (below) which develop into cones. Again these are grogeous to look at and great for birds like siskin (male pictured below) which we see at lot at Binn Green.
Trees make wonderful overwintering sites for some insects like these harlequin ladybirds who shelter under the bark and in crannies.
If you can want to help early season wildlife in your garden try planting something like mahonia or even gorse which seems to flower all year and provides a great source of food for all sorts of insects. You can also have a look at the RSPB website for lots of tips and ideas http://homes.rspb.org.uk/
Happy planting, happy watching, happy Spring!