COLUMN: Don’t miss out on these seasonal sights

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In this season of sometime wintery – not quite spring weather – it is tempting to just sit indoors and ignore the world outside. But you’d be missing out on some great sights and brilliant things to do. So wrap up warm and make the most of this misunderstood season.

Wetland reserves are still full of birds like ducks, geese and swans. This is a good time of year to try and catch the great crested grebe‘s mating ritual at places like Willington Nature Reserve. The birds pair up, and perform like a pair of ballet dancers, bobbing for pondweed and rising up out of the together. Other winter visitors include redwing and fieldfare, often seen along fields and hedgerows.

The living bird tables at Woodside near Ilkeston and the Avenue at Wingerworth are good places to spot all sorts of species in winter.

No matter where you are in the county, there is a good chance you might still catch the exotic looking waxwings with their punky crest as flocks descend on berry-bearing trees, often in supermarket car parks. You’ll see more blue tits and other hole nesting birds about now as they are looking for nests. Encourage them to make your garden their home by leaving out food and water, and help them out by putting up a nest box or two.

It’s not just birds getting romantic after Valentine’s Day – frogs are getting amorous too. Take the kids for a wander around your local pond to see what else is waking, many of our reserves have pond dipping platforms. Keep an eye out on your travels and you will see the first signs of spring as plants like snowdrops and lesser celandine brave the weather to poke out their heads.

If you’d like a little help getting the kids engaged in the natural world, why not come along to some of our fun events. We’ve got playgroups for Nature Tots at Matlock Bath and Buxton, wild play sessions for older kids in Matlock Bath and family forest schools at Carsington. For more visit: