Bumblebee in crocus. Photo: David Turner

Who would have guessed, on the first day of February, when snow appeared for a few hours, that by the end of that same month we would enjoy summer conditions with temperatures reaching 20ºC most afternoons?

By 12 February, bees were busy collecting nectar from blue crocuses and irises, and the garden was filled with yellow brimstone, admiral and small white butterflies.

Pine ladybird. Photo: David Turner

I managed to photograph a pine ladybird before it disappeared. This was a first for my garden; the pine ladybird is small and difficult to spot and it clearly likes the four conifers in my garden.

I also photographed doves, magpies and squirrels with mouthfuls of nesting material. Grey squirrels start preparing early, and doves and pigeons are known to nest in winter months. In fact, during the month I found both a broken and complete pigeon’s egg on the decking; I guess these were attacked by magpies.

Frogs making whoopee. Photo: David Turner

Two frogs were together in the pond on 22 February, but as yet I’ve seen no spawn. It is early days yet as frogs can spawn up to mid-April. It is particularly good to see the frogs; I have not seen any for nearly four years. I am unsure why; the pond is healthy, otherwise I would not have such great success with dragonflies.

Fox and his new den. Photo: David Turner

A new fox den appeared on the same day, 22 February, in the wooded area of the garden. I’ve set a trail camera to record all activity, but at the moment, the foxes are just resting at night before moving on.

Bees-nest remains. Photo: David Turner

One of the next boxes I cleared out contained a bees’ nest. I knew that bees were collecting material from a rotting Judas tree stump on the lawn, but I did not put two and two together at the time.

I was highly entertained this month watching a dunnock trying to mate with its reflection. It would fly to my glazed door, then stand on the handle and peck at its reflection. In the end I pulled down the blinds, hoping that it would find ‘another’ mate!

Blackbirds continued to enjoy many apples this month. Some birds tend to eat a lot of fruit during the winter months. Other birds in the garden this month includes male and female great spotted woodpeckers, jays, goldfinches, a female blackcap, a male sparrowhawk and magpies.

A bit about the author

David Turner has lived in Whitley for 45 years. His wildlife-friendly garden is 100% organic, which has allowed a lot of wildlife to use it, including foxes, mice, birds and all manner of insects.

He is still working on his 2018 annual garden wildlife book, and intends that there will be online version.

  1. David Turner on Twitter and the Whitley Pump
  2. The natural and social pictorial history of a house in Whitley
  3. RSPB
  4. UK butterflies