Nature of Britain Calendar: January

Updated Friday 21st December 2007

Follow the Nature of Britain's seasonal hints and tips.

Hazel catkins Creative commons image Icon larces under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license Hazel catkins

Do one thing

Plant a wildlife friendly shrub or tree. Hawthorn, blackthorn, guelder rose and field maple provide food, nesting sites and cover for small mammals and birds.

What to look for

Snow, rain, hail and sun make January an unpredictable month. Hazel catkins blow in the breeze pollinating the tiny crimson female flowers and snowdrops spill out of copses.

On lakes and reservoirs, rafts of winter wildfowl include pochard, tufted ducks, mallard, and wigeon. Mistle thrushes sing from treetops on gusty days and over reed-beds and shrubberies; huge flocks of starlings swirl in the evenings.

It is fox breeding season and on still evenings you may hear the unearthly scream of a vixen calling to attract a mate. Roe deer, fallow deer and muntjac are easier to see with the trees bare of leaves, especially early in the morning or late afternoon.

Insect life may seem hard to find, but droneflies, which mimic bees, bask in the winter sun. Look under logs for invertebrates such as woodlice and centipedes, but don’t forget to replace logs as you find them. On elder trees look for the dull purple ear fungus, which looks and feels like a clammy human ear!

Did you know

The mountain hare’s coat turns white between December and March. The Peak District, including the National Trust’s Derwent Valley and Kinder Scout, has seen a steady increase in the mountain hare population, but numbers are declining in Snowdonia and Scotland.

Habitat of the month: Coasts

When all is quiet inland you can be sure of plenty of activity on the seashore.

Seaweeds grow all year and marine snails don’t hibernate so now is a good time to head to the coast and look in rock-pools around Britain. Padstow, January 2011 Creative commons image Icon ennor under CC-BY-NC-SA licence under Creative-Commons license Padstow

Photo opportunity: Coastal scenes

The days are short but dramatic scenes are waiting for the hardy.

Try using a wide-angle lens to take in the big picture. A polarising filter can make the scene come to life by increasing contrast and picking out cloud formations.

Month-by-month

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

OU on the BBC: Rules of Life Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Rules of Life

Catch up with Aubrey Manning's survey of the survival instinct on BBC Radio 4.

Article
OU on the BBC: James May's 20th Century Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: James May's 20th Century

The science of the century that shaped the world we live in today.

Article
OU on the BBC: Rough Science 4 Death Valley - Meet the Scientists Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Rough Science 4 Death Valley - Meet the Scientists

Meet the scientists from the BBC/OU series Rough Science 4, and read the inside stories of the challenges in their diaries

Article
Keeping Britain Alive: The NHS in a Day - Episode 3 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Garden Productions article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Keeping Britain Alive: The NHS in a Day - Episode 3

Episode three this week shows the vastly different contexts in which the NHS operates; urban and rural. 

Article
Protecting Our Parents: Nowhere to go Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Protecting Our Parents: Nowhere to go

The final episode explores the problem that, as the years go on, being cared for at home won't be possible, yet places in care homes are already in short supply.

Article
OU on the BBC: Mark Steel Lectures - Programme guides Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Mark Steel Lectures - Programme guides

Find out more about the historical figures discussed in the award-winning BBC/OU TV series The Mark Steel Lectures.

Article
OU on the BBC: Hilary Devey's Women at the Top Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Hilary Devey's Women at the Top

In this new two-part series, Dragons' Den entrepreneur Hilary Devey explores why too few women are appointed to the highest positions in the business world

Article
OU on the BBC: Ever Wondered...? - Perfect Worlds Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Ever Wondered...? - Perfect Worlds

Have you ever wondered what a perfect world would be like?

Article
OU on the BBC: Wastemen Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

OU on the BBC: Wastemen

Join the people who work round the clock to cope with the vast swathes of waste produced by modern Britain, as we meet the Wastemen.

Article