What wondrous wildlife was spotted in February?

Emma Jayne Sharples 

Despite the somewhat damp and dismal weather experienced during the month of February, there have nevertheless been some superb wildlife sightings out on the reserve. Here are some of our top sightings from February.
Bank Vole

Leslie Price

To start this month at Brockholes Nature Reserve, a curious bank vole was observed foraging amongst the foliage in Boilton Wood. These marvellously inquisitive little creatures really are a sight to behold, as they quietly go about their business. With their rich chestnut brown complexion, these small and unassuming rodents can often be overlooked amongst the plenitude of other wildlife out on the reserve. However, should you get the chance to see one up close, make sure to pay attention to one of the woodlands most interesting inhabitants. Also, spotted this month, and in direct contrast to the humble bank vole, was one of our largest visitors the buzzard. Buzzards are regularly seen soaring high up in the sky above the reserve, on the lookout for prey. With their imposing wing span and resplendent flying style, this impressive bird of prey is most definitely one of our most spectacular visitors.

Oystercatcher

Trevor James Southward

Additionally, another exciting visitant which has rather wonderfully frequented Brockholes Nature reserve this month, is the remarkably unique oystercatcher. With its piercing red eyes and blood orange bill, this marvellously peculiar bird provided a much needed splash of colour out on the lakes and water bodies of Brockholes, in what can otherwise be a rather drab time of year. Although usually a coastal bird, they can regularly be observed much further inland as they attempt to take advantage of more readily available food sources. Remaining on the banks of meadow lake for a moment longer, a heron was also spotted wading amongst the reeds in their distinctly noble fashion.

Goats Willow

Trevor James Southward

Finally, despite the substantial flooding of Brockholes which has taken place this month, this has done little to prevent the reserve showing the first signs of spring. To the delight of many of our visitors, plant life of all varieties has begun to spring up across the reserve, signifying the change of seasons and hopefully the arrival of more temperate weather. The first of these many examples, is the majestic butterbur, with its magenta like complexion and complex structure this intriguing plant really is something unique. Additionally, the much beloved snowdrop has begun to pop up across the reserve in its usual rapid fashion. Snowdrops thrive in shaded woodland areas, making Brockholes the perfect place for these delicate flowers to flourish. Finally, the goats willow has begun to blossom with its bright yellow complexion radiating amongst its damp woodland surroundings.