Swans look as though they are serious about nesting on site this year. Howard and Sheila have got in their food in preparation. They also report the continued presence of the Water Rail, round and about the area where it had its original hidey-hole. The Little Grebe seem to have gone; they've probably taken most of the available food, and the Mere has shallowed a bit from its recent deep level in the prolonged rain. All the early bulbs are well up already, and the Snowdrops are showing definite white blobs at the tops of the shoots. Won't be long now!
Dabchicks still with us, but: seem to be more elusive than usual. Think they have taken over a big hole where an ivy covered tree has gone over at the tunnel end of Alban Way bank. The ivy provides good cover for them. The Kingfisher seems to be taking advantage of their: activities underwater, and spends longer: than usual periods fishing from the fallen tree. Loads of small songbirds about the bird feeders. Snowdrops nearly out, and Dog violets showing quite a bit of blossom already. Bulbs are well up despite the recent hard frosts.
All sorts of birds out in the clement weather. The two swans still have not taken to their des res, but they are getting nearer. Among notable sight ings... .Siskin, Greater spotted woodpecker, Kingfisher, Little Grebes, (Dabchicks), Goldcrests, plus all the usual other avian inhabitants. Lesser Blackbacked gull overflew earlier in the week, and Howard and Sheila report Cormorants in the Verulam Angling Club. Tony reports a large pike in the Ver: (2 Sightings.)
Next report (February 2003)