January has been a less than exciting month for me personally, but there’s plenty of wildlife activity going on that makes up for it all!
Over the Winter period is a great time to get out and look for large numbers of ducks, geese and swans. Places like WWT Welney or WWT Martin Mere have great numbers of Whooper Swans arriving to their reserves along with thousands of geese. Waders arrive to the UK in numbers are a spectacle to watch feeding along our shorelines, living in South Wales, I have the pleasure of watching large numbers of Waders along the Burry Inlet and able to spot some colour rings. A large variety of gulls also arrive to the UK, these include the white-wingers like Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull and Caspian Gull. Look for a gull roost and pick your way through the gulls trying to spot some of the beautiful birds, Med gulls also come into roost in large numbers so worth looking for some colour rings on them!
For something a little more closer to home. During the winter and something I usually do in January, is to clear out nestboxes and remove any old material ready for the breeding garden birds to start choosing their breeding site. It’s also a great time to fiddle with any nestboxes, for example, I’ve been cutting holes in some of my boxes to fit some box cameras and also preparing some projects for 2017 which includes installing the Mini mammal feeding station and another great project which is a Hogitat.
At the start of the year, it’s always worth putting out fatty foods for your garden birds. I’ve been using the SPC Wildlife Fat balls, very berry suet pellets and dried mealworms to help my garden birds through the winter. This month I’ve had some new visitors to the garden now that I’m putting out more fatty foods, I’ve welcomed Long-tailed tits and a Song Thrush to the #GardenWatch garden. I’m drawing up some plans to create a fatty feeding station in the garden where the larger birds should have some difficulty getting to which means the products won’t be eaten straight away and the smaller birds will have a chance. January time there’s been more Goldfinches, Siskins, Firecrests, Goldcrests and your more larger birds such as Starlings, Fieldfares and Redwings will be calling and feeding around open spaces and may even catch some in your gardens.