Misty Mornings, Hibernating Hogs and Wildlife Wonder!

Crisp mornings, silvery spider webs and frosty lawns… Autumn is fading into winter and it’s ‘see your breath’ cold as you step out in the morning.

Winter guests arrive

As we’ve waved goodbye to the visiting birds of summer you might think our skies would be quieter. But it’s time to welcome winter guests like geese and swans. Birds arrive in their millions from colder lands; Scandinavia, the Arctic and Northern Europe. While we’re wrapping up in winter woollies, visiting migrants will be basking in the UK’s balmier temperatures. Food is now easier to find here than in their homelands, but they will head back there to breed come springtime.

redwing-copyright-alban-wincott

Copyright Alban Wincott

Watch for the flash of orange-red on the sides of redwings, a colourful thrush-sized bird. Or spot a sociable gang of fieldfares, up to a hundred in size, hoovering up hawthorns from hedgerows. And there are more of our nation’s favourite birds around too – robin numbers are swelled by migrant populations from the eastern European cold.

Hedgehogs hunker down

Check your bonfires on 5th November for sleepy hedgehogs who have bedded down ready for winter. Hogs are seeking out places to hibernate until at least March.

hedgehog-curled-in-leaves-copyright-tom-marshall-crop

Copyright Tom Marshall

Check every section of your bonfire as hedgehogs head into the middle. Use a broom or pole rather than a sharp fork and listen for hissing – the sound made by a disturbed hedgehog! Of course the best plan is simply to build your bonfire on the night, just before you plan to light it!

Nurturing a Love of Nature

Hoping to create a new generation of wildlife lovers, Katie inspires children every day! Katie works as an Education Officer at a Nature Reserve – making a difference to children’s lives whatever the weather.

“All year round I get children and their families outside, learning all about nature on our doorstep. Children visit us on school trips learning about birds on our reserve or how to measure the weather. We take troops of children to build dens in our woods, get them looking under logs for bugs and dipping nets in our pond to see what’s lurking there. There’s nothing better than seeing amazed children looking at the newt they just caught, seeing its bright underbelly and its webbed feet. It’s brilliant how they forget that they’re scared of spiders, especially when they hold that pot with one in really close to their face to count all its legs.”

Copyright Toni Wight

Teeny Tots and First Words

Katie also gets to work with littler ones in Nature Tots toddler group and Nature Babies messy play group. “It’s wonderful watching visiting children grow in front of my eyes. When they first join Nature Tots they’re unsteady on their feet and unsure of their muddy hands too. But after a few weeks they get stuck in, traversing over our stick-strewn woods and make teeny tiny dens for our animal puppets. Thanks to joining the group as a baby, memorably one of our tots’ first ever words was duck!

Louise Barrack, Communications Officer

#hedgehogs #hibernation #migration #seasonalchange #learnoutdoors #firstwords #autumn #frost

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