What's Been Seen This February?

Dave Bennion

From blue tits to robins, and curlews to bittern - the wildlife at Brockholes this February has been unprecedented due to the warm weather. But what have you seen on the reserve in the last month?

The sun has been shining, and the snow has been falling. The weather has not only been confusing for visitors, but also for our wonderful wildlife.

Unseasonable weather in February has resulted in some record early sightings of certain species, and high numbers of others.

Butterfly

Ken Hayes

The warm weather led to the early blooming of willows and coltsfoot across the reserve. In turn this provided food for an unprecedented emergence of butterflies, bees and hoverflies.

Many of these species had never been recorded at Brockholes in February before and it seems likely, for the mining bees in particular, that many will be the earliest ever emergence dates in Lancashire.

In this extraordinary period 13 species of bee, 5 species of butterfly (and an unidentified White butterfly), three species of hoverfly, Common Wasp, 7 spot, 10 spot, Kidney Spot, Orange and Harlequin Ladybirds and numerous fly species were recorded on the reserve. [Thank you to John Wright for this detailed information.]

Frog Spawn

Trevor Southward

Frog Spawn has emerged, Ringed Plovers have appeared, and Sand Martins returned, with the earliest record in 11 years! They normally appear around mid-March and disappear again in October.

Robins are in abundance, with coal tits and blue tits fluttering around the reserve. Another record was the sighting of a Marsh Tit, for the first time at the Brockholes site in more than 20 years! Regular visitor, Bill Aspin, along with ornithologist contacts deciphered the Marsh Tit following the initial sighting from visitor, Bob Entwistle.

Kingfishers have been spotted around both lakes and it turned out our lovely Bittern friend had another Bittern friend, as two were spotted on site for the first time. Curlews have been seen in their hundreds, flying high above the reserve, and Goldfinchs are starting to make more of an appearance around the Guild Wheel path.

Who knows what March will hold on the reserve, but we are looking forward to whatever surprises come our way.