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Julie's Nature Column - Winter 2015

Jan 22, 2016

With Autumn ending and now going in to winter, it has been mild so far and although winter can be cold and the place looks bleak, wildlife is still very active. I have seen a change in the Buzzard's
range of territory, coming much further down to the south end of the site. There are quite a lot of pigeons around Queens Mead which might be easy pickings for a Buzzard. I have constantly missed photo opportunities, but managed to get this photo the other day.


The deer have finished rutting and will now concentrate on feeding and keeping warm. Deer hair is hollow which gives them very good insulation. On a sunny cold morning you will often see them
warming up in the sunshine lying beside a tree which they use as a shield against any cold winds. This time of year I regularly go out on my tractor to put their feed out and as you can see some of them are quite used to me.



There is a lot of bird activity at the moment, flocks of Goldfinches and Siskins love the seeds on the Alder trees. I've seen Goldcrests and a Treecreeper and whilst I'm trying to get photos I hear the
Kingfishers up and down the waterways. Sometimes I don't know which way to look first. Herons are still around the site checking out the best places to fish. This one is sitting on the white footbridge.


Getting back to the mild beginning this winter I am still seeing plenty of mice and voles and I was surprised to find this toad yesterday which would normally be hibernating. Let's hope the
winter isn't too harsh in the months to come and that I will have plenty more photo opportunities to share with you.


Julie Matthews
Nature conservationist
Royal Gunpowder Mills



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