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What a beautiful start to the year. The estate is covered in snow. It looks like Narnia! We’ve been busy checking all our ponds. If they ice over toxic gases can build up in the water which may kill fish or frogs that are hibernating at the bottom. So we’ve been carefully making holes in the ice surface. Remember the RSPCA advice, “…never tip boiling water straight onto a pond or break the ice with force, as this can harm or even kill any fish living there.”

We’ve also been leaving out food for the birds who may be struggling to find enough berries, insects, seeds, worms and fruit. The RSPB advise, “You can feed birds calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seeds and good-quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps like mild grated cheese, cooked rice and porridge oats. A supply of water is also essential for bathing and preening. In freezing conditions birds become more dependent on water provided in gardens, since many natural sources are frozen over. The most effective way to keep the water in your garden from freezing is to pop in a light ball that will be moved by even a gentle breeze and keep a small amount of water ice free – a ping-pong ball is ideal.”

We’re also getting ready to join the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch on 26th and 27th January. Make sure you sign up too!

And remember you can come and spot birds here on the estate and visit our wildfowl on our reserve here at Bentley every weekend during the winter. We’re open Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30am to 4pm.