Oxhey Village Environment Group | www.oveg.org
I must apologise that my nature notes dried up last summer, I went back to work after being furloughed and life seemed to take over!
You don’t need me to tell you that it has been a pretty miserable winter but today was a really special day which I thought would be nice to record.
I woke at about 7.30am to take tea and toast back to bed- pure luxury I am sure you would agree, looking out of the kitchen window, the sky was absolutely stunning, so I dashed out of the house-into the fields, in my pyjamas with my mobile, to get this amazing photograph
‘Red sky at the night shepherds delight, Red sky in the morning Shepherd morning’ as the very old Biblical saying goes. Its all due to high pressure weather systems holding dust and particles in the atmosphere, when seen in the evening it suggests settled weather and a nice day tomorrow, however in the morning as the sun rises in the East which is still clear, but with cloud in the western part of the sky suggesting a weather front moving in, and that’s what happened today with the amazing snowfall a couple of hours later.
Although we have plenty of winter to get through before the warmth and re-growth starts in earnest, however there are many exciting signs that the days are lengthening and wildlife knows the year is moving on. Whilst I took the photo I was serenaded by a Song Thrush singing delightfully, it’s an easy bird song to remember as it repeats each short phrase 3 times before the next phrase. They are an early breeding species so the male is very keen on attracting a mate and holding a good territory. With youngsters possible as early as March if the weather is kind.
There is very little colour in the countryside now but one very tiny glimpse of colour is the stunning crimson of the ‘sea anenome’ like female flower of the hazel. The male flower which produces lots of useful pollen for early insects in the long catkins, which are easy to spot. If you see a hazel especially one in a sheltered south facing location look at the end if the hazel twigs and if you look carefully, you will find these tiny flowers. They cheer me up every winter!
Finally cold winter days are really tough for much wildlife and although recent winters have been relatively mild compared to past decades. Winter visitors like the wonderful Northern European/ Scandinavian Redwing and Fieldfare as well as northern races of Blackbirds and robins come to spend the cold winter months with us . This morning, before and during the snowfall they become increasingly desperate to find food and you will find them in groups on bushes still bearing berries especially on garden species like Cotoneaster or on the last few sloes or rose hips in the countryside. Redwings in the air are distinctive and are often seen in quite large groups together, they are streamlined in the air.
I hope you all stay well and with the prospect of spring can look forwards to happier times ahead for us all.