The worst of the winter seemed to be before Christmas. Snowdrops are looking good now and lots of daffodils are already out.  There is warmth in the sun. However, there is a wind that still feels rather chilly. Cormorants start nesting whatever the weather. Trevor has counted 36 nests, which is similar to last year. I noticed an Egyptian Goose on Heronry the other day. They nested on the northern pits last year. Are they going to nest further south this year? Time will tell.

Martin has been having a regular count of 40 tufted duck on the Heronries this winter. Now how many of those are going to stay and nest?

Small birds are also collecting nesting materials. One of our blackbirds is disappearing into our conifer hedge, so they have made a decision. I was talking to some-one recently, who had noticed that some small birds were carrying nesting material and then dropping it, as if they were not sure what to do with it. Maybe the weather isn’t quite right for them at present. You may be noticing blue tits going into your nest boxes. The British Trust for Ornithology say they are being territorial in March and will not start nesting until April. interesting to watch.

Bird Ringing will be starting soon, so we had a work party, last weekend, in the Sanctuary to ready the runs for the ringers. Now try and say that quickly! Let’s hope this year’s ringing is as successful as last years.

Also, this last weekend, 10 of us had an enjoyable morning on Winter ID of trees on the reserve.  There were some deep discussions going on by the end. One of our conclusions is that trees like to hybridise!

Great to see Bumblebees again. They are enjoying the nectar and pollen of Lonicera and other early flowering plants in my garden. I also enjoy the scent.

Brimstones are on the wing. So, has anyone seen a tortoiseshell butterfly?

I certainly haven’t seen a dragonfly here, as yet. However, if you would like to hear about Dragonflies at Paxton Pits, it would be worth signing up for the on-line Spring Meeting of the British Dragonfly Society on 11th March. Steve Cham, co-author of one of the best Dragonfly guides is talking on: 
“Why is Paxton Pits Nature Reserve (BDS Hotspot) so good for the green-eyed (Norfolk) Hawker? Observations of its Natural History outside Norfolk.” The meeting is free, although they always like a donation!

Now, if you want to go and find something small on the reserve, try looking for the Winter Stalkball- Tulostoma brumale. It is under 1 cm tall! Some have been seen recently on the left hand side of the path near Hayden Hide in the gravel near a spindly Turkey oak. I haven’t managed to find it myself yet! Thanks to Helen Swain who took the photo. Another fungus, I haven’t seen this year yet is the scarlet elf cup. Has any-one else seen any on the reserve this year?

We always like to hear about your wildlife sightings on the reserve. Please email them to us on or leave a note in our wildlife sightings book in the Visitor Centre.

Ann Thomas

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