Saturday, 18 February 2017

The wrong kind of nice.

It was a nice day today but the wrong kind of nice for me. Nice days in February should be crisp and cold not pleasantly mild and touching on being warm. Our seasons have become messed up, to say the least, with winter increasingly being a thing of the past, spring is often cold and wet, summer is increasingly an unsettled none event while autumn is becoming more like summer than summer.

Temperatures are forecast to be well above average for the next few days and while that may help me save money on my heating bill it won't do our wildlife any favours. It is likely to be warm enough to bring some butterflies, moths and bats out of hibernation prematurely and cause them to waste valuable energy. Basically some of our wildlife will get off to a false start and things will get out of sync.

Anyway I went for a walk with the dog this afternoon and as soon as I got into the park I noticed that a pair of Great Crested Grebes were back on one of the lakes, and they were displaying. Sods law I hadn't got a camera with me so I nipped back home and picked one up. I thought I was going to be treated to the full courtship display and weed dance but while there was some weed carrying it was a case of head waving rather than dancing.

The grebes moved out of range after a while so I continued my walk and checked out a nearby field of winter cereals for roosting Common Snipe. The winter cereal crop is starting to put on a bit of a growth spurt but I was still able to pick out 7 Snipe and there could have been a few more.

I first noticed snipe roosting in this field last November (post here) and they have used it all winter or what has counted for winter so far. I have never heard of Common Snipe using a field of winter cereal as a regular roost site before and as far as I am aware this is the first record of such behaviour. Snipe duly recorded and photographed I headed for home and was treated to another performance by the Great Crested Grebes as I passed through the park.

Yes, it was nice afternoon weather wise but the wrong kind of nice for mid-February. Still it was great to see the grebes displaying and that the snipe are still roosting in the cereal field.

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