I like to practice what I preach, so I checked back in on the current issue of Nature’s Home to see what species I’d picked out for the Wild about month-by-month pages as “must-sees”. You must remember that when Anna and the rest of the team ask me to supply these, it is back in the autumn, so there's a little bit of forward-thinking required.


Keep your Nature's Home handy for wildlife-watching tips over the next 10 weeks (Mark Ward)

January went very well indeed it seems! Visiting the Ouse Washes to enjoy wild swans a couple of weekends ago, meant that I spent a long time scanning through the vast flocks of ducks and geese and I picked out the sleeping, belly-barred forms of Russian white-fronted geese among all the greylag geese.

If you are a regular, you might have read about my encounter with a weasel in my garden that is still the highlight of my year, so far.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time looking at wet twigs and stems for tiny micro-fungi. This has led to all sorts of strange looks as I rummaged and rustled in a reedbed and delved into the debris beneath the huge coniferous trees here in the garden at RSPB The Lodge. It has been well worth the cuts to hands and fingers, the strange looks and filthy fingernails because I’ve found some absolute little gems – 30 new species in fact! It’s now the time of year for the bigger microfungi too, such as cedar cups and scarlet elfcups so keep looking.


How well can you do from Nature's Home's February list of species to see? (Mark Ward)

I’m feeling pretty smug about February too as the mild weather has meant mistle thrush song has been fairly regular and last week’s blog proved I had well and truly had my fill of cranes, including a little bit of display and dancing in the fields.

The one thing I haven’t done and must sort soon is visiting the coast, so “Search the tideline” and "scan flocks of pink-footed geese" is missing. Time to book those last few days of leave I think...

How's your wildlife year going?
It’s a great time of year, with the days notably lengthening and birds on become more and more regular. The cherry blossom is out on my tree and I’ve already seen my first bumblebee and butterfly of the year, so every day will bring a change. Enjoy – and don’t forget to let us know what you’ve seen by emailing natureshome@rspb.org.uk or posting a comment below.

Anonymous
  • Very nice! Cold weather has been a real rarity this winter here in Eastern England, meaning the bird life has been a bit static. Still only the one waxwing has visited us here in Sandy, but I know there are quite a few in Scotland.

  • The cold weather at the end of January and start of February brought a flock of Fieldfares to my coastal NE Scotland garden, not seen here for 20 years. Still a lot of holly berries left but I think they will go back inland soon as the temperature is rising. I put out apples but the Fieldfares are ignoring them. Flocks hung around my fallen apples all winter in Fife before I came here.I love their bickering.