Change is all around

by on Feb.16, 2009, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

There has been a noticeable change in the weather over the last couple of days with much warmer temperatures clearing away the snow that had fallen so hard at the end of last week. We may even avoid any frosts over the coming nights too. Being out and about over the weekend we saw our first snowdrops of the year, blanketing the ground in swathes of green and white as they did indeed push up through the snow and frozen ground to make us all think of spring. Skeins of Pink-footed Geese were heading north over Druridge Bay yesterday, perhaps already departing the wintering grounds in Norfolk, and Martin demonstrated his ability to pick up flyover birds on call as he pinpointed a small movement of Skylarks, presumably now dispersing from the large flocks in which they spend the winter (it’s a shame he isn’t so good at picking up the close range voice of his wife…). It’s noticeable too that the evenings are staying lighter for longer and dawn is getting earlier, giving all of our wildlife more daylight hours in which to feed up for the biggest change of all; getting ready to breed and raise the next generation. Collared Doves are cooing and preening on our extension roof, and spending more time near to last year’s nest.

With this in mind we were pleased to hear of proposals to reintroduce set aside; the scheme where farmers are encouraged to leave part of their farms free from production to enable nature to take over, which provides plenty of food for some of our most endangered species such as Yellowhammer, Grey Partridge, Tree Sparrows and Skylarks. Introduced when European farmers were producing too much food, it was abandoned as food production became more critical. Reintroduction is planned on a voluntary basis, so let’s hope that room can be found for a little bit of nature to find its way back into our agricultural landscape to help support and conserve those declining species that were once so common.

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