The usual venture out to the coast to scout through gulls and ducks was on the cards for February, with the weather being as odd and unpredictable as usual, there was little else to do. Sammy and I arrived at Rhossili midday last week and after some lunch, we positioned ourselves on a bunker just under a little ledge so that we were out from the wind, with the tide being so high and there being quite a cold snap, there’s been plenty of Common Scoter around with us counting 4,700 odd birds. But the greatest thing was locating two Long Tailed Ducks just in a couple of small groups. Winter is a great time to spot large numbers of ducks and some unusual species thrown in. There’s still Siskins singing high in the conifers and Goldfinches around, but Spring is right around the corner there’s now Cetti’s Warblers singing and Blue Tits checking out the nest boxes in the garden. A great thing about this month has been putting out the Small Mammal feeding station, there’s been activity inside with peanuts being nibbled and the moss being pulled into one corner, so the camera trap is going out again to try and capture the visitors.
February or late winter is a great time to take some time and take a gentle stroll to look for Fungi. Some common species which are appearing across the place now are the Scarlet Elf Cups. They are wonderful little things that grow in damp places on forest/sheltered places, they’re usually small and grow individually but you’ll no doubt find plenty around in groups. They’re a personal favourite of mine as they bring a sense of beauty to the fungi world, that appeal to the non-fungi loving people among us, they’re just almost fairytale like as opposed to your usual brown-like fungi which appeal to those who wish to see the appreciate it. Another species which is fairly common and definitely an abundance of around my place of work is Turkey Tail. It’s one of your brown fungi but there are many details and the overall shape is beautiful, it reminds me of a rose petal shape but instead coils round with swirls of brown.
Garden-wise, February is the month where I plan what is being planted and grown throughout the year. I tend to hoard seeds that I buy after each planting season because you can get some good deals, a pack of Begonias for 6p? Thankyou! This month is brilliant to look through supermarkets and warehouses for reduced Spring flowers, it’s worth looking up some of the families you’re interested in beforehand and check whether they are evergreen or perennials since there’s not a lot of use buying dying seasonal plants unless you’re looking to harvest the seeds or bulbs. I visited B&Q and picked up four perennials for £2! They’ve been planted and should emerge next year. I’m planning on sowing more scented flowers this year as I usually rely on my Lavender doing the smelling in the garden. It’s also a good time to remove all dead seasonal plants from containers ready to turn over the compost, put in some compost nutrients and get ready to plant this year’s seasonals.