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Happy New Year from our TAPS wildlife watchers

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

Christmas seems ages ago now but hope you all managed to have a good time. Well the weather has certainly been colder with some morning frosts, and our little birds here at Dereham have been tucking in, especially when the ground is frozen, as they can't get the bugs out.

We are pleased to announce the return of two of our favourite birds this month; the long tailed tit and coal tit. It’s been lovely to see them again, we hope to see more species as the year goes on.

Long tailed tit

Long tailed tit

There are of course plenty of winter visitors around Norfolk, especially on the coast, which we have found out by watching our weekly local bird sightings. Claire was lucky enough to see a waxwing the other week, which is a winter migrant and visits us from its breeding ground in the pine forests of Scandinavia. They are pretty little birds, with a rather cute head tuft.

Like us, some of you may have been enjoying Winterwatch on TV. We've been enjoying their live cameras as well as the nightly look at what’s been going on with Chris and Michaela at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk, Iolo at the Isle of Mull, and Megan at Castle Espie. We’re sure you'll agree there's been some amazing sights!

Our wildlife camera has been very quiet, a few rabbits (which we love) are all we have to report. We now have a few bird nesting boxes ready to go out, kindly made for us by the woodwork group, and a squirrel box. We will be choosing where to put these in the next few weeks, as birds will be looking for places to nest. It's important not to put nesting boxes too close to feeding stations as the feeding birds could disturb those nesting, and attract unwanted attention from predators. The height of the nest boxes is also important as they need to be a safe distance from the ground.

Today, as hopefully many of you will, we are taking part again in the Big Garden Birdwatch. This is important as it tells the RSPB the amount of garden birds in the UK, and which ones are becoming endangered.

In general the winter has been pretty mild, but this can be confusing for our flora and fauna as plants have been coming out earlier and animals think it's time to mate. Claire saw a very tiny little toadlet (about 3cm) on her walk the other week, which seemed a bit early? Hedgehogs have also still been seen when they should really be hibernating. If you have hedgehogs, please put out food for them as they need to keep their fat reserves to keep them going.

Well that's all we have to share this month but remember, as always our motto is ‘keep watching for wildlife and help where you can’. Do also keep your eyes peeled as a white tailed eagle has been spotted around Norfolk this month. You can't miss them, they are huge raptor birds, we've included a photo to help with your spotting. Please share if you do see it.


The TAPS wildlife watchers

The TAPS wildlife watchers

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