‘Tales from the Shack’ – the monthly update on what’s happening in the natural world on the wider estate

Posted by CDoyle on 31/01/2020

The 35 acres of Beale Wildlife Park sits within the wider-estate which runs alongside the River Thames. The estate is home to a variety of wildlife native to the UK which is monitored by a team of volunteers, one of whom, Rob will be writing a regular blog on the changes in nature around the estate throughout the year.

Called ‘Tales from the Shack’, Rob writes his blog from the small shed within our Education Centre area.

Tales from the Shack

Daylight hours are now lengthening and down on the rookery things are happening a pace. Rooks are one of the first birds to start nesting, this usually means spring cleaning last years nests. The older more experienced birds will be in the middle of the rookery giving them every opportunity to steal twigs from nests towards the outside that are occupied by the younger, less experienced birds.

Rooks and crows are quite similar in appearance and easily misidentified leading to inaccuracies in common phrases, a ‘scarecrow’ is there to keep flocks of rooks away not the more solitary crow and ‘as the crow flies’ refers to the rooks daily sojourn from their roost to feeding grounds and back (up to 40 km), not the crow in its localised territory. Doesn’t quite have the same ring though does it, ‘scarerook’, ‘as the rook flies’……no!!

Nature’s calendar: February 

The last official month of winter but the coldest in England and Wales due mainly to the Atlantic ocean being at yearly minimum temperature, February is however usually drier and less windy.

Most Blue Tits will have partners by the end of the month and frogs will start emerging from hibernation with just one thing on their minds, you got it, breeding!  Sweet violets will be flowering along with Mistletoe. Grey herons are early breeders and will now start nesting in earnest. Towards the end of the month the first butterflies may be seen, look out for the Comma, Peacock, Small tortoise shell and Red admiral.

And finally, the first Blackbirds can be heard singing …..is spring just around the corner! Let’s hope so.

Rob

Beale Wildlife Park is now open on a 'first come, first served' basis.  Please read our Covid Briefing before setting out.