As the hazel catkins go over, the catkins on the alder trees on East Common are at
their best, although many have been blown off in the high winds. Alder is unusual
among broad-leaved trees in having its seeds in cones which remain on the branches
among the next year’s flowers. The recent sunny days have tempted out a few hibernating
butterflies and queen bumble bees have been working the early flowers. Frogs have
appeared in our garden pond but no frog spawn though some has already been seen elsewhere
in Bedfordshire. We haven’t heard of any local toad movements yet. A small toad was
dug up on West Common during the hedge planting by the school children on 25th February
so perhaps they are still in hibernation, waiting for some wet and warm nights to
encourage them to head for their favourite ponds.
February has been a good month for birds on the feeders in our garden. For the last
three weeks the usual tits, nuthatches, finches etc have been joined by a male blackcap.
For us this is the first to visit so regularly at any time of year. This species
is mainly a summer visitor to Britain but has been seen increasingly often in winter
during the last decade or so. The current BBC Radio 4 series “World on the Move”
contains some fascinating information on migrations of different sorts of animals
around the world, including a bird that flies non stop some 7000 miles from Alaska
to New Zealand!
Nuthatch on feeder
Alder Catkins on the Common
See February’s Nature Notes
The Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - website: