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60 Nature Notes


Lots to enjoy in the Great Outdoors this Winter What to look out for.....


Down by the coast you can see grey seals with their pups. If you are lucky you might see one in the estuary. They are often seen lurking around when the fishermen unload their catches.


Grey Seal


It is a good time of year for seeing beautiful little goldcrests and firec- rests. They are quite similar looking but the firecrest has a cross look about it compared to the goldcrest.


Goldcrest


Berries in the hedgerows – not just pretty but important source of food for the wild birds. Be it pyracantha, mistle- toe, rowan, holly or hawthorn.


Look out for fieldfare, redwing, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush and starling from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia which come here to winter.


Firecrest


Most leaves have fallen by now, but ferns stand out on the woodland floor, especially the glossy evergreen fronds of hart’s-tongue fern and hard shield fern .


An obvious fungus on dead wood is the candle-snuff fungus which looks like a blackened candle-wick.


Fieldfare


Rooks and crows roost together in huge flocks in woodland, and if you’re lucky, you might see a barn owl ghosting over a frosty field late one afternoon.


Candle-snuff fungus


Check www.mcsuk.org and look at their guide on buying seasonal and sustainable fish. Dabs and dover sole are both good at at the moment.


HELP OUT GARDEN BIRDS THIS WINTER


Give birds a safe and reliable way to find fresh water – essential in both cold and hot weather. Watching your garden birds coming for a drink, or for a brush up can be quite a performance!


Remember that some birds such as blue tits will now be scouting around for nest boxes for Spring, so you need to have them in place as soon as possible.


Make a bird table or put up a feeder to help birds survive the winter. There is plenty of advice on the RSPB website. DId you know mild grated cheese can be a good way of attracting robins and wrens!


CHRISTMAS


NATURE QUIZ ‘Tis the season for family gatherings. Do you know the answers to these group names for animals?


What is the collective noun for a group of: 1. guinea pigs 2. guinea fowl 3. ladybirds 4. hippos 5. owls 6. starfish 7. giraffes 8. polar bears 9. crows


10. stingrays Answers below


Did you know? Mussels can live up to 50 years!


1. Muddle, 2. Confusion, 3. Loveliness 4. Crash/Bloat, 5. Parliament, 6. Galaxy 7. Tower 8. Aurora, 9. Murder 10. Fever


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