Our native woodlands will be four years old next month. The amount of ground cover is increasing and more wildlife is finding shelter and security among the trees.
We have a healthy deer population (too healthy some would say!) that feed across the reserve and usually retreat to the conifer woods as walkers appear in the morning. More recently, small groups of roe deer have been remaining in the new woodland under the cover of gorse and bracken. These are mainly pregnant does that will be starting to put on weight.
Dog-walkers, please be sure your pooch is under your control.
Woodcock are also finding the young woodland to their liking and several have been spotted across the reserve. There is a small resident population in Scotland, but most sightings will be of winter visitors from Scandinavia. This year, the colder winter up north has pushed greater numbers into our region.
Woodcock have amazing camouflage and most walkers won’t know they are there until they burst away, heading for the security of the conifers. If you do happen to spot one, savour the moment – they are the most beautiful of birds.
It is early February and the song thrush is rehearsing for things to come. Often sitting low in the willows, or in the gorse, he is exercising his vocal chords, singing quietly in short bursts and refining his melodies like a back-stage opera singer.
Over the next few weeks his voice will strengthen and he will be pitch-perfect. He’ll be sitting on the highest tree he can find – lead singer is the avian chorus that will ring out across the Kipp!
If anyone would like to join the volunteers who look after the nature reserve, please come along to one of our work sessions – we meet at the top entrance at 9.30 am on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays in the month.