Typically the first butterflies to emerge from hibernation in spring, brimstones flit along sunny banks and hederows.
Often seen in farmland fields, hares can be observed 'boxing' as part of their courtship. Grab your binoculars and head out to see them at Trumpington Meadows, Pitsford and other reserves adjacent to arable fields. (Note that Pitsford is permit-only.)
Look out for male herons putting on a courtship dance to attract a female. There is an active heronry at Titchmarsh Nature Reserve.
Great crested grebes also have an elaborate courtship dance. Watch as the males and females mirror each other on the water, diving down and rising up in perfect unison. Visit our Nene Wetlands reserves to see them.
Frogs breed before toads and you may see great jelly masses of early frog spawn in ponds in February. Toad spawn appears somewhat later, in long pearl-like strings.
Hazelproduces female flowers and male catkins at this time of year. The tiny flowers are bright pink.Take a close look along the hedgerows to see this minute flower waiting to catch pollen released by the catkins.
Five days of building. One million LEGO® bricks. Fourteen Brick+Build sessions. Hundreds of visitors.17,000 GoPro images. The Great Fen LEGO® build was a big success, and gave us the chance to introduce our work at the Great Fen to some people who may not have known about it - and the end result was spectacular. Watch a short video of the event here.
Photo: LEGO® fox by Caroline Fitton
Monitoring and Research
"The Trust at its Best"
Over 120 volunteers, staff, trustees and Wildlife Guardians gathered in Cambourne last weekend to discuss our ongoing Monitoring and Research work. Brian Eversham gave the introductory talk, and highlights included a report by Ian White (Peoples Trust for Endangered Species) on the national dormouse monitoring scheme and the success of our Brampton Wood reintroduction, talks by students on birds and the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, and the prize giving for the Opticron volunteer photographer competition winners.
Positive comments included: "It was very interesting for me to see how the research and the conservation are linked." "The event was well organised and very informative." "This was the Trust at its best." "A great day at the @wildlifebcn Monitoring and Research Conference. Lots of exciting projects happening in the three counties!"
The Best of Social Media
Bedfordshire Reserves Officer Beth Aucott posted some photos of a hard day at the office with the caption "Sooo my Friday started better than yours...". Grazing sheep are essential for grassland management and so our conservation staff and graziers put a lot of effort toward their care. Please remember to keep your dogs on a lead when walking anywhere near livestock.
Wildlife Training Workshops
A reminder of our upcoming workshops
Freshwater Bivalves, Saturday 11 March from 10am – 4pm with Alex Pickwell and Nina Birkby at Old Sulehay nature reserve. A species level identification workshop for bivalves currently present in the UK, focusing on identification, but also including ecological requirements.
Heathland Lichens, Sunday 12 March, 10am - 4pm with Brian Eversham. Some of the largest and most beautiful lichens grow on heathlands, and indeed are an important part of the vegetation.
Water bugs, Saturday 18 March from 10am - 4pm with Kevin Rowley and Graham Warnes. An ideal introduction into identifying aquatic invertebrates, whether you are formally recording, pond dipping with children or just interested in understanding more about what's in your garden pond.
For more information and to book, contact Juliette Butler on 01604 774031 or by email.
Photo: various lichen by Brian Eversham
Singing with Nightingales
This spring! A series of unique musical events including at Grafham Water, Cambs. Explore the details
A Guided Walk at Grafham Tim Fryer is a volunteer at Grafham and will be helping look for a good selection of water birds. Wed 1 March, 10am - 12pm Details here
What Nature Does for Britain Illustrated talk by Tony Juniper, President of the Wildlife Trusts. Brampton, Cambs Wed 8 March, 7:30 - 9:00pm Details here
Nesting An illustrated talk by Peter Holden MBE, looking at the amazing variety of structures and strategies used to protect eggs and young. Bedford, Beds Wed 8 March, 7:30 - 9:15pm Details here
Marvellous Mammals Look for mammals at Trumpington Meadows - perhaps you'll see some boxing hares. Thurs 9 March, 6:30 - 8:30am Details here
The Fascination of Birdsong An illustrated talk by Terry Barnett, explaining his fascination with bird songs and calls. Tuesday 14 March, 7:30 - 9:30pm Details here
Saving Hedgehogs Andrew Jackson of Brackley Hogwatch will tell us about the work of his organisation. Towcester, Northants Monday 20 March, 7:00 - 9:00pm Details here
2017 Photo Competition Over the next few months we'll be accepting entries for our new photo competition. The theme of this year's competition is The Changing Seasons, and each entrant can submit up to four photos. The winning entries will be featured in our 2018 calendar. Good luck!
Photo: Spotted flycatcher at the nest by Richard Bowler