Welcome to the first newsletter of 2017 – a Happy New Year to you! The last entry was titled “Winter 2016” and, of course, it is still winter now – but it’s been a pretty good one: we have actually had a run of clear weather with a few hard frosts. This has allowed for some fun photography with clear views, sunrises and sunsets!
For me, the signs of Spring become obvious soon after the Winter Solstice on the 21st: so much change in nature depends on daylight length rather than temperature (photoperiodism!) causing hormone levels to change in birds and mammals which then begin to display territorial behaviour and ultimately breeding. Birdsong is an obvious example and I know that quite a few people find birdsong identification frustratingly difficult, so let me help you out with that!! Just book me up for a walk and let me know that you want to learn more about bird songs and calls – it’s a subject that I love!!
Many mammals also become more vocal and territorial in winter: foxes particularly where you might hear dog foxes “bark” and vixens “scream” throughout the dark hours. I managed to sneak up on a daylight mating session of foxes recently wherein the pair where still “knotted” which helps ensure fertilisation but looks and sounds rather painful!! Mammal watching is also something that I can offer with great pleasure BUT it is notoriously unpredictable! Day time forays are most likely to help you identify “sign”: trails, footprints, kills, setts and earths etc rather than sightings of what made them, whilst nocturnal ventures will often result in hearing plenty of calls and the odd sighting via my high powered lamp! Both are very worthwhile however, and every walk will throw up huge interest in nature! So if you fancy a mammal walk, just ask and we’ll make it happen!
That’s all for now – please spread the work folks: if you know of anyone else who might fancy a countryside activity with Jonnie Taylor please pass on my details and perhaps sign up for the newsletter and give me a LIKE on Facebook!! I get some great feedback from people who receive gift vouchers and then experience a little adventure in nature, walking, foraging, bushcraft or, very often, a blend of all!