No, not a beautiful snow covered scene, though I'm sure this will occur within the next few months, but a wonderful collection of wildlife to see within the park this winter.
Due to the very mild Autumn we are still seeing a scattering of wild flowers throughout the meadows. The Bee Orchids are growing strongly now and are showing a distinct rosette of green leaves at ground level. These are a Mediterranean type species commencing leaf growth in the Autumn, growing throughout the Winter, flowering in the Spring and dying back for the summer.
Many of our garden bulbs adopt this growth pattern though they can also flower in Autumn before leaf growth eg Crocus, Sternbergia, Cyclamen etc.
We have the Holly and the Ivy in fruit at the moment, providing an excellent display as well as food for the birds. Please do not pick these plants as they are young and very vulnerable at present.
Gorse is in bloom, providing a bright scene to an otherwise dull day. Gorse Ulex europaeus is extremely beneficial to wildlife providing protection and nesting sites for smaller bird life, food for insects, it blooms all year around but particularly late Winter and early Spring when nectar and pollen is scarce.
Plenty of other berries are available for bird life including Sloes and Hawthorn - resulting in an influx of the winter migratory Thrushes. So keep observing and please forward reports of any sightings.
Possible Thrushes sightings on the park this Winter:-
I have observed Blackbird, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling already this month and will be looking out for any other species.
Also of flocks of Long-Tailed Tits flitting through the bushes and trees feeding on insect eggs and larvae. Goldfinches, also in flocks, are to be seen in similar environments, though they are feeding on seeds
Look out for Goldcrests and possibly a Firecrest (one seen at Attenborough Nov. 28th.)
The Buzzard is still flying over the park and Kestrels are usually around every day.
Not sighted any Short- Eared Owls, in fact any Owls, lately. Has anyone seen any?
Please send in any observations of birds and wildlife, no matter how common they seem, as we need to build up a picture of the health of our environment.
All the above observations were from the Northern perimeter of the park especially the Butterfly Walk.
We will report regularly through the holiday period so keep any information pouring in.
WARNING - the park is absolutely saturated as a result of the recent heavy rainfall so if you intend to go off the paths take extreme care as to where you walk. We do not recommend you leave the footpaths and all observations reported were from paths.
(The Thrush data is from the BTO's ringing records)
Trustee - Friends of Gedling Country Park