News – Page 5
Waxwing on a Rowan Tree
Birds of a feather flock together
Whilst walking along a country lane recently, I heard the wonderful sound of a flock of Goldfinches. It was one of those cold murky days when you have to force yourself to go out so I could barely see the beautiful markings of these birds at the top-most branches of the tree they were on. There must have been about thirty of them, all tinkling away as Goldfinches do. It is such a magical sound to hear. The collective name for Goldfinches is a ‘charm’ but I think a ‘tinkling’ is just as appropriate!
At this time of year birdwatching can be brilliant as many species flock together. Look out for flocks of Siskins too which you may find at the top of birch trees. Late afternoons can be great for seeing Starlings doing their murmurations but you will probably have to visit reedbeds to see these amazing displays. Sometimes I have seen them flying around the village before sunset and it could be that some are roosting in trees. The most impressive birds to see are flocks of Bohemian Waxwings. These visitors from Scandinavia are a birdwatcher’s dream and they draw in the crowds. They can strip a Rowan tree of its berries in a day. These stunning birds are rather unreliable though and some years they visit and some they don’t. There are very few reports of them so far this winter but I can guarantee that they are worth an effort to see if they arrive here.
Butterflies in December!
On those rare occasions when we get some sunshine look out for butterflies. Yes, there are butterflies around even in winter and it is not so unusual these days with our milder weather conditions. Species such as Peacocks, Red Admirals and Commas were seen flying around in some parts of the country last month.
Flowers to look for in January and February
Over the next couple of months, snowdrops will be appearing. They are such delicate flowers and yet they are capable of pushing themselves up through the cold, damp soil which is sometimes covered in snow. The best place to see them in the village is in the churchyard. Although these are not wild (they were originally planted there), they make a beautiful sight. Snowdrops are not actually native to the British Isles and originate from continental Europe and the Middle East. The Latin name for the snowdrop is Galanthus nivalis which translates to ‘milk flower of the snow.’ A compound called galantamine is obtained from the snowdrop flower and bulb and is used towards the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH
Don’t forget it’s the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch between 28th and 30th January. Over one million people now engage with this activity. All you have to do is count the birds in your garden, or in your local park (the Governors’ Field would be ideal) for one hour between 28 and 30 January 2022. What a great way of spending an hour doing this on a cold January day. You can do it on your own or the whole family can join in and do it together. Visit www.rspb.org.uk for more information.
Red Admiral on Ivy