On the Wild Side.

23 Feb

Ben Waddams writes in ” The Journal ” about wildlife around Shropshire and the Welsh borders. This post is about the wildfowl  during the winter months.

Winter can be the most beautiful time of the year in these areas but difficult for wildlife, whether it is very cold or very mild. But generally speaking what can one see and do during the winter months that perhaps you can’t at other times of the year.?

Well with a county blessed by some fine watercourses, January is a great month for ducks,geese and swans Wildfowl are both numerous and the drakes are in their brightest and best plumage of the year.. Huge flocks of migratory geese are a common sight in some coastal areas but there are treats to savour inland too. Whooper swans are regularly seen at places such as Venus Pool now and an early start can be both exciting and beautiful to behold.

For some of our less common ducks, including, pintail, goldeneye,, long-tailed duck,  red-breasted merganser and goosander, the Severn and the meres as well as other ponds and lakes can be a magnet for few individuals. When  snow falls it provides a wonderful opportunity to study animal tracks, frost can also turn up a few pretty prints. It may not be the most welcome substance, but mud is easy to come by at this time of the year, and badger, deer fox and even otter evidence can be observed, or even better, plaster casted.  Rooks, jackdaws, carrion crow and ravens gather at communal roosts. Their aerial acrobats at dusk may not be on the same scale as a starling murmuration but can be almost as spectacular.

Courtesy Ben Waddams.




Pintail Duck


Golden eye Duck.


Red Breasted Merganser.


Whopper Swan


Young Deer.


Beautiful Fox.


Spotted Woodpecker.


Great- spotted woodpeckers begin drumming on dead wood  as part of their territorial display. A morning walk through a quiet oak woodland is almost guaranteed to produce a sighting or hearing. Another famouse bird to start its courtship in winter is the tawny owl. These fabulous birds of prey are at their noisiest  from December and can be tracked down on a moonlit night by listening for their various calls.

To attract the aforementioned species to your garden, why not make your own bird feeder or buy one. Either way feeding garden birds at this time of year can make a real difference to their survival. Most garden birds are insectivores but, for obvious reasons , have to switch their diet in the winter. Having seeds and nuts  readily available for them in your garden is a great help.


Tawny Owl. Courtesy of the RSPB.


Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “On the Wild Side.

  1. Anne

    February 25, 2017 at 12:30 am

    I love birds, Rita, and we are lucky enough to have a large wetland and lake near our home, and which we walk around most days, winter or summer. We have a couple of pelicans who have made the lake their home as well as various ducks, swamp hens,swans, herons, and cormorants. In our home garden we have bird feeders all year round…and six bird baths. Plus an indoor cat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ritaroberts

      February 25, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Sounds wonderful Anne, I too love birds. I have a cockatiel in the house whom I let out of his cage a few times a week, he is well behaved. And John has an aviary in the garden, but I think you already know that as I have blogged about it some time ago. We have the occasional buzzard fly over and maybe a vulture. Other than that its sparrows and the occasional blue tit. I think all the wildlife is the other end of the island. We are East of the island.



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