Female Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), 25 January 2018. Photo Robert Mill.

January 2018 was, like December 2017, a mixture of cold snaps and slightly milder spells. Snow fell and lay on several days but amounts in the Garden were small. Towards the end of the month it became much milder but the very end brought more cold weather with frost and snow. Rainfall was 70 mm (6% above the long-term average), of which more than 20 mm fell on just one day (23rd). Sunshine (almost 57 hours) was also slightly above average. As was the case in December, birds were the main wildlife interest. The Garden’s wildlife total remained unchanged at 935.

Birds Forty-three bird species were recorded at the Garden in the first month of 2018, a good start to the year. Nuthatch was recorded on eleven dates scattered right through the month, more evidence that they might be colonising the Garden. The wintering female Pheasant was also seen on ten dates throughout the month. A Goosander was on the Pond on 26th and a Dipper visited the Chinese Hillside and Biodiversity Garden ponds on seven dates. At least one and sometimes two Kingfisher were present throughout the month. Buzzards flew over the Garden on 14th and 27th. The complete list of 43 species recorded during January 2018 was: Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Dipper, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pink-footed Goose, Redwing, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Tawny Owl, Tree Creeper, Wood Pigeon, Wren.

Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), Chinese Hillside pond, 23 January 2018. Photo Robert Mill.

Insects and other invertebrates: Even fewer invertebrates were recorded in January than in December 2017. The barkfly Ectopsocus petersi (9th), the springtail Entomobrya nivalis (also 9th), a single (!) Winter Gnat (25th) and an as yet unidentified looper caterpillar on a birch trunk (19th) were the only sightings. Moth trapping yielded nothing at all and no butterflies, bees, wasps, hoverflies, bugs or beetles were seen despite diligent searching especially on the milder days.

Barkfly Ectopsocus petersi, 9 January 2018. Photo Robert Mill.