Finally, to trees and birds. Whilst broadleaved trees are dormant, coniferous trees and evergreen shrubs are providing plentiful habitat for birds and small mammals, such as various Finch and Tit species, the more rare Brambling and, of course, our favourite Robin. On some broadleaves, winter berries still remain, albeit slightly frozen and mushy. Species such as Hawthorn, Rowan and Dogwood provide good shelter and food in the winter months, when food isn’t as abundant as in the summer. Look up on into the tree crowns or hedgerows and try and spot some birds building their nests – from the end of February until the end of July, it is official bird nesting season. As the weather warms, catkins are beginning to form on trees such as Alder and Hazel. Catkins are thin, long clusters of flowers, that allows the tree to reproduce and develop seeds.
The sight of catkins, Snowdrops and a flowering Stinking Hellebore are good indicators of the start of the new growing season. See you in March for the next instalment, when lots more wild flowers, fungi and trees will be emerging.