The Friends of Paxton Pits write for The Hunts Post

Jacqueline Hill took this photograph of a robin at Paxton Pits.

Jacqueline Hill took this photograph of a robin at Paxton Pits. - Credit: JACQUELINE HILL

The floods remain a topic of conversation around here. The road into St Neots from Little Paxton opened for a few days, only to shut again, but has now reopened.

Like, the human population, wildlife adjusts and makes the most of it. There is a feeling that spring is around the corner with the buds and catkins on the trees.

Walking around the top of Heronry North a few days ago, there was pussy willow out. Did you know that willow has been used since ancient times as a medicine?

We have seven species of willow on the reserve. Crack willow (Salix fragilis) is the most common. This was prized for its slender, flexible stems which have used for many years to weave baskets.

 The bee orchids are showing their wintergreen leaves. Is it going to be a good year for them? Will the winter wet stop them growing?  Something to look forward to seeing in a few months.

There do not appear to be many water birds on the pits at present, as they have to go off and search for food in unfrozen areas. However, there seem to more smaller birds around, as they start showing off and singing.

The sweet song of the dunnock and the Robin’s change of song from winter to spring for courtship were all noticeable as we walked around in the bitter cold recently.

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Other birds are thinking of moving on. We have had a lot of redwings around this winter. Their contact call ‘tseep’ tells you they are around, never staying long in one place. There have been up to 90 in the meadows by the Visitor Centre.

However, it has been difficult to find a fieldfare. I wonder where they are. Soon they will be off to breeding grounds. Some nest in northern Scotland, but most go into Scandivania and Iceland.

I am now looking forward to seeing more insects. Before this last cold period, I had honeybees in our garden on the early nectar of Mahonia and Lonicera. There were a few ground beetles out as well, such as the metallic green ones. The weather is turning warmer this week, so I intend to look out for more. Please let me know or any other sightings at friendsofpaxtonpits@hotmail.com

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