Simon Thompson: Summer Warden Weeting Heath NNR
|Weeting Heath NNR, photo by Simon Thompson|
Quite a start to the season! I don’t know who was more shocked to be surrounded by two inches of the white stuff; the rabbits or me. It’s been a cold but picturesque few weeks and now that the icicles have melted and the sun is making a brave effort to break through the icy north-easterly blasts, it’s great to see that the weather hasn’t blown away people’s enthusiasm for visiting the Brecks.
Lots of fearless fleece-clad visitors have enjoyed our three-mile forest walk this Easter weekend, providing great opportunities to go hunting (in the least violent sense of the word) for woodlark amongst the young pines. Quite sensibly those stone curlews which have now made it back from their wintering grounds in Southern Europe and Africa are keeping well out of the wind and are proving elusive… but there’s no point in watching wildlife if you don’t like a good challenge! Only a short while spent in the hides has usually rewarded visitors with green woodpeckers, common curlew and lapwing busily feeding on the Heath and the exploits of the rabbits and stoats always make for entertaining viewing. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be digging a new pond in front of the woodland hide, hopefully it will draw crossbills down from the pines to drink and bathe and provide some excellent photo opportunities.
In spite of a distinctly wintery feel in the air, spring is on its way here at Weeting. Two brown hares were sat on the heath basking in the late evening sun yesterday and I’m very happy to report that the first two chiffchaffs of the season were spotted this morning; perhaps I can pack away the thermals at last…