The Natural History of Uckfield by Wendy Tagg

Although we still have plenty of winter ahead of us, there is less than a month to go before the shortest day and nature is already gearing up for next spring.  Gardeners will have already noticed roots and seedlings growing.

In December, you can expect to see different coloured catkins on trees such as birch (dark), alder (red) and hazel (greeny-yellow).  By the end of December, in the warmest spots, such as near the bypass and the river bank near bridge cottage some of the hazel catkins may have started lengthening.

Buff Tailed Bumblebee queen

It’s not only plants that are on the move. On sunny days, look at flowering plants such as gorse, ivy or garden flowers. Bees and other pollinators will still feed when they can. The big bumblebee shown is a queen buff-tailed bumblebee who is often to be seen on the bright yellow flowers of mahonia.

Common Feather Moss

December is a good time of year for looking at mosses. They are complicated to identify but I enjoy looking at the different shapes and textures. There are some more unusual types in West Park Nature reserve. If you have a magnifying glass or macro lens, why not take it with you on your next walk and see what tiny worlds you can find?

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