Nature Calendar: January
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
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.
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.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 10th September 2007
Last updated on: Friday, 21st December 2007
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