As the snow has turned to rain, here at Loch of the Lowes the water level rises and rises and rises. Luckily our local wildlife if very hardy and doesn’t seem daunted. We’ve had good numbers of ducks and large flocks of geese coming in to roost on the loch at night, as it is almost entirely ice free, except for a few edges. We’ve had Beaver and Fox sightings on the reserve, and a lovely flock of Long Tailed Tits on the Beaver/Otter camera- keep your eye for these lovely gregarious birds this winter.
Our Red Squirrels are still super active and even sparing energy for frantic chasing each other around the trees. One squirrel had an altercation with a mallard yesterday, when it dropped its prize walnut, which the duck quickly tried to grab, only for the squirrel to squeal in protest until it was released so he could reclaim it!
We’ve had lovely sightings of Redpoll and Brambling on your feed station as well as the usual hordes of finches and tits. One noticeable increase this autumn has been the huge number of coal tits: the British Trust for Ornithology has speculated that this huge upturn in numbers of these birds in gardens is because the tree seed crop this year (on which they usually feed) has been so disastrously poor.
In fact it has been such a bad year for hedgerow and woodland wild foods in general, that it has never been a more important time to help your local wildlife this winter- here’s how:
- Provide some food, preferable a good mix of types for all species. If weather is really hard ( ie frozen) something high energy (fat balls, suet blocks etc) is especially helpful.
- Please remember to keep your feeders clean to prevent disease- clean once a week.
- Provide clean water, daily in frozen weather, for wee birds to drink and preen in .
- If you have Red Squirrels about, consider providing them with a nut feeder too- ask us for DIY designs or pick one up from our shop.
- If you have nest boxes up, please don’t disturb them now ( it’s too late for cleaning) as many will be used as weatherproof winter roosts by birds. If you have a nest box camera, switch it on to see if anyone is asleep inside. If you don’t have boxes up, it a great time to add them to your garden now.
- Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, take it easy on the roads this winter– many animals like deer are attracted to the winter salt and easier grazing on roadside verges so collisions are a real threat- don’t create more road kill!