Wildlife this month - January
Flocks of fieldfares and redwings are still to be found in the fields and hedgerows and may be more frequently seen in gardens and orchards, as the stocks of wild berries will now be running low.
January and February can be ‘the lean time’, when natural food is scarce and hard to find. Keeping bird feeders topped up is more essential now than at almost any other time of year. Shelled peanuts, sunflower hearts, niger seeds and fat cakes will feed a good array of species if the weather is hard. Old fruit scattered on the ground will feed blackbirds, redwings and fieldfares. Try to keep some water available too – both for drinking and bathing.
Some of the native birds will have started to stake out their breeding territories and, particularly on bright and sunny days, thrushes, robins, blackbirds, finches and titmice will be singing to proclaim their rights. Listen out for the drumming of woodpeckers – this is not associated with feeding but is their way of announcing their territory. Great spotted woodpeckers may even be seen drumming on the metal caps of telegraph poles in an attempt to outdo their competitors.
It is often this month that great tits and blue tits begin searching for nest sites and well located nest boxes will attract attention from prospective parents. Rooks too will be tidying up the nests in their rookeries in preparation for the breeding season to come
The first of the year’s flowers appear this month in the milder areas. Look out for the first snowdrops and celandines. Catkins may also begin to appear on hazel trees
Newts & frogs:
Depending on the weather, the first newts and frogs may be moving towards their breeding ponds in the south of the country.