A month when nature starts to wake up and creatures start to think about breeding.
Coltsfoot and Dogs Mercury in flower.
Wild Daffodil starts to flower.
Ivy berries ripen.
Nettles are sprouting and stinging well.
Alder and Elm catkins appear.
House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Thrushes and Woodpigeons join the January songsters. Blackcaps may also be heard
Woodpeckers begin their territorial drumming.
Early nesting resident birds include Dipper, Grey Heron, Moorhen & Little Grebe.
Woodmice start to breed.
Bats are hibernating, mostly torpid. Fat reserves dwindling now and in harsh winters deaths may occur. Bats must not be disturbed while torpid as effort of waking could prove to be fatal.
Frogs come out of hibernation and start spawning.
Toads also come out of hibernation to travel back to their ponds to spawn.
Newts return to ponds and start breeding.
You may spot a Peacock butterfly on a warm day.
Look out for the following moths: The Chestnut, The Satellite, Common Quaker, Dotted Border and Spring Usher.
The first large bumblebee queens emerge from hibernation – the White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) and the Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).
Look out fungi such as Velvet Shank/Winter fungus (favours Elm); Scarlet Elf Cup and the almost identical Ruby Elf Cup (damp shady places such as mossy woods); Jew’s ears/Jelly ears fungus (favours Elder); spent Collared Earthstar (favours wooded banks); Yellow Brain fungus ( particularly fallen birch and hazel branches); Honey fungus (on living trees); Dead Molls Fingers (mainly on fallen Sycamore branches) and the stouter Dead man’s fingers (favours Beech); and Birch polypore (on Birch)
Header: Wooded batch in a snowy landscape in the CVWG area (“batch” is a local term for a spoil heap)