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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wed 8th Jan 2014 - One Horse Field, Totland.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Considering how diabolical the weather has been recently, we were surprised to have dry weather for our first session of 2014. Although the access pathways were a bit muddy underfoot, the areas we were tasked to work in were reasonably dry and somewhat sheltered from the brisk breeze. Armed with lopers and slashers, we were soon clearing the overgrown areas along the western boundary of the field. To ensure that this area remains as much a meadow site as possible, we were chopping back the black thorn and bramble that continually grows from the hedgerows.
Perhaps it was the need to burn off a few calories after the festive period or just the joy of being out on a dry day that was the reason for an excellent turnout of GGmers. Not even Island Roads, who tried to shut every road to West Wight, could keep the team from attending..... so well done to all those who made the effort.

Carrie's Nature Natter for January.

January days are short, and if it ever stops raining, you may see some crisp and bright days, where leaves and lawns look very pretty with their covers of frost, and spider webs shimmer with their pearls of ice.

Many bird species have migrated south, but waders, ducks and geese will be feeding on our coasts and wetlands, flocks of redwings and fieldfares are moving through the countryside, and smaller birds will be visiting garden bird tables to find enough food to see them through to spring.

If you have been feeding the birds regularly, give yourself a gold star, if not it’s never too late to start, and can make a huge difference to their survival.  Also if you have nest boxes, make sure they are cleaned out and ready for business, as blue tits and great tits will soon be searching for the best nesting spots. As the month moves on thrushes start singing to claim their territories, and on sunny days you may hear great tits, greenfinches, blackbirds and, if you are very lucky, the drumming sound of the great spotted woodpecker.

Badgers, hedgehogs and bats have been hibernating over the winter, as their food supplies get short or are difficult to reach, although a slightly warmer day may encourage them to venture out.  You will know if you have badgers around by the scratch and pad marks on their regular pathways and, as they are undeterred by wire fences, you may see also see their stiff hairs caught in the wire twists.

Our amphibians and reptiles all hibernate during the winter, but in January the first newts will moving towards their breeding areas, and the spawn of the common frog will start to appear in our garden ponds.

Many thanks to Carrie for her photographs and Nature Natter and to Mark for his photos.

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