January Nature Diary
Christmas is over and we are into a new year. This is the month where we often get snow or cold, frosty weather and we can see the true beauty of nature. Most trees are bare but with a good tree book you can still identify trees such as oak, ash and silver birch by their tree bark and their buds.
Sometimes you can see new early flowering plants beginning to emerge and even be brave enough to flower such as dandelion and lesser celandine.
Birds are desperately trying to stay alive by looking for food. This is where you are so important by keeping the bird feeders full or putting out scraps on the bird table. You may hear thrushes, robins and great tits singing for their territories now and they may be joined on bright sunny days by blackbirds and greenfinches.
Remember to look at making your own bird food and bird feeder on this website!
In the countryside, flocks of fieldfares and redwings look for berries and other foods. On flooded grasslands,especially those that are permanently flooded during the winter, ducks such as teal and long tailed ducks, waders such as lapwing, mute swans and even geese can be seen.
I think one of the most beautiful artwork in nature at this time of year is a spiders web covered in frost and ice. You can really see the clever design made by the spider although it is not good for catching prey as the web becomes easier to see.
Occasionally in winter sunshine a swarm of gnats can be seen dancing in the air..
All species of amphibians and reptiles hibernate in winter but in the South Western areas of Britain where it may be slightly warmer, the common frog spawn may start to appear in ponds. At this time, newts may start moving towards their breeding ponds.
Mammals such as bats and hedgehogs may come out of hibernation to search for food if the temperatures become milder. Badgers also come out in milder weather to feed. These animals use the same paths as generations of badgers before them. The paths are easy to spot as they are fairly straight even if a barbed wire fence is in their way, and sometimes the stiff hairs are caught in the wire twists. So look out for this. You can tell that it is a badger hair by the fact that unlike your own hair, the strand when you roll it between your finger and thumb the hair feels rough as if it is square and does not move smoothly.
So get your books out and look at what you can find in January. There is still plenty to see!