Nature Notes - December 2021

Sickleholme Nature Notes

A few snippets from December to end our wildlife review of 2021.

Several members have mentioned the tree stumps left below the 17th green. The planned removal of these trees took place whilst the course was closed by snow and Matt tells me that the stumps were left at this height at the request of the person who will be grubbing out the tree roots in due course. The area can then be prepared for replanting and Matt plans another invertebrate bank in that area.

Last month’s notes mentioned early birdsong around the course. This can be triggered by temperature or by the calendar but on the 23rd, in foggy damp conditions, three separate Coal Tits could be heard in full song. Other sightings during a bleak month were noisy family parties of Jays, small flocks of Long-tailed Tits and too many of the released Pheasants. The clubhouse feeders seemed always busy and on at least two occasions attracted the attentions of a small male Sparrowhawk, which looked like a juvenile bird learning to hunt.

Robins in aggressive dispute were also around the feeders and the machinery sheds. Robins are unusual in that they sing throughout the year and both male and female birds do so. After the breeding season, the sexes establish separate territories which they will defend fiercely before pairing up again in December. I rather like the Anglo-Saxon name of Ruddoc (ruddiness). This month’s photo (taken much earlier in the year) shows both how this reddish colouring extends above the eyes and how birds can be just as much into recycling as we are!

I had hoped to try and identify more of our fungi species during the final months of the year, but the vagaries of the weather caused many of the growths to rot and disappear quite quickly.

And so to 2022, every best wish to all for a happy, healthy and wildlife-filled year. Do please keep sending in your wildlife observations which are much appreciated.

Bryan Barnacle