< January >
Look out for Grey Squirrels this month as they chase each other around the trees, as the female attracts the males by scent. They in return attempt to woo her and defend her honour from the others, but only the fittest will succeed to mate with her. Badger sows start to give birth at the end of the month. Frogs start to head for ponds to spawn. Now is a great month for surveying for Water Vole and Otter as the vegetation dies back.
Birds flock together in the cold weather, from the tiny wrens, groups of Long Tailed Tits, to huge numbers of knot on the estuaries and the spectacular Starling murmurations. Sparrowhawks are more easily spotted taking advantage of these flocks, as the fallen leaves no longer hide these assassins assaults. Whooper Swans (the national bird of Finland) can be seen feeding at reservoirs such at Welney in Norfolk. Look out for Waxwings feeding on berries, Bramblings on beech nuts and flocks of Fieldfare and Redwings as they feed on any remaining fruit on the ground or on the hedgerows. Also listen out for Song Thrush as they sing from high perches.
Hazel catkins start to stretch out their golden tassels and you may find their tiny red flowers if you look closely. Snowdrops can be seen pushing up through the leaf litter along with the yellow flowers of Winter Aconites.
Insects are few and far between at this time of year apart from swirling gatherings of gnats, but check your outbuildings and you may find Peacock and Small Tortoishell butterflies or Herald moths hibernating.