The seasons at Kelling Heath
The changing seasons as seen at Kelling Heath.
Things start to get busy at this time of year; the warmer weather encourages more people to holiday and the wildlife to stir after the quiet winter. Plants start to grow, green shoots push through the earth, buds swell and leaves open on the trees. The slopes on the northern side of the park look beautiful covered in bluebells. Bats, adders, toads and hedgehogs wake up from hibernation. The frogs and toads are busy laying spawn in the ponds, frogs lay their spawn in clumps, toads in strings. A few weeks later thousands of tadpoles can be seen warming up and feeding in the shallow edges of the ponds. Some birds return from their winter in Africa, and soon get busy singing to set up territories and attract mates before they start building nests and laying the first eggs. This includes the unusual nocturnal bird, the nightjar which, lives on the heath and its strange churring call.
Summer is very busy at Kelling Heath; a lot of you come on your holiday during this time! The wildlife is fairly busy too; the birds are bringing up their young. Keep a look out for dragonflies laying eggs in the ponds on warm days. Adders, lizards and slow worms bask on sandy patches in the sunshine warming up.
Things are a little quieter in autumn, apart from a few spooky goings on around Halloween! A walk in the woods is lovely at this time of year as the leaves start to change colour and fall, every week there are changes. Lots of fungi grow at this time of year, they are actually there all year, a lot of threads hidden under ground, and the part we see is the fruiting body, a bit like a flower. They are fascinating to look at, all different shapes, sizes and colours. Lots of plants have seeds and fruits at this time of year including oaks with their acorns, chestnuts, beech masts, blackberries. A lot of wildlife is busy eating whilst there is so much food, fattening up to survive through the cold winter. Squirrels and Jays are stashing acorns and chestnuts to eat later. Bats, adders, hedgehogs and toads get ready for hibernation, they sleep through the winter! Swallows and other birds fly off to Africa for the winter and other animals such as rabbits and foxes grow thick coats to keep warm.
This is a quiet time; the holiday park is closed for a couple of months. The woods seem bare except for the holly trees and pines, though the squirrels are still around. Because there are so few people around red deer, roe deer and muntjac seem to spend more time in the woods, they can often be seem on a walk there. Winter is a time for certain jobs to be carried out; most tree felling work is done whilst no birds are nesting and people are out of the way. We spend this time making changes and getting ready for the following holiday season.
Look around where you live - what changes can you see happening through the year?