NATURE NOTES – JAN 2001

It has been suggested that readers might be interested in some notes about wildlife, maybe several times a year.  It would be nice to have observations from all round the parish.  For example, when do the frogs return to their ponds to spawn?  When do the bats come out of hibernation?  When do the house martins arrive and are their numbers being maintained?  The following is a report for January to start us off:

This is the quietest time of year for wildlife but foxes, rabbits, squirrels and muntjacs are all active and easier to see when the trees are bare.  The Commonwood badgers seem to be engaged in a major home extension, judging by the great heap of excavated chalk outside their set.  All the usual winter birds are around, but generally in low numbers.  In the woods and hedgerows the leaves of the spring flowers are coming through.  Cow parsley and lesser celandine plants are already well developed.  Less welcome are the seedlings of cleavers that are abundant in all the hedgerows.  Weeds like this have no regard for seasons but germinate whenever the weather is not too cold.  There isn’t much colour in the hedgerows at this time of year so it’s a pleasant surprise to see the pink spikes of winter heliotrope in Quickmoor Lane, opposite the pond.  The ground everywhere is waterlogged after the heavy rainfall during November and December and the grass around Mortons Pond on the Green has been submerged for weeks.  This won’t trouble the cuckoo flowers (lady’s smock) that grow there, because this plant not only tolerates flooding but takes advantage of it.  Single leaves break off and float on the water.  Tiny plantlets then sprout from the base of the leaf (like taking leaf cuttings from an African violet) and then form new plants when the little raft eventually lands in the mud.

Brenda Harold

This Nature note has been kindly shared by Brenda and if you would like to share some Nature notes/blogs or photos from around the Sarratt Parish then do please email them to :

amc.sarratt@gmail.com