Nature notes

The first few days of December have carried the first winter chill, and the park reflects this change of season. Most trees have now lost their leaves, the roses in the Rose Garden have had a ‘hard prune’, and of course the wildflowers down by the Rotunda Cafe are just a distant memory. But the compensation for Preston Park birdwatchers is that many birds are now much easier to see. For example, at this time of the year, Jays are more conspicuous as they forage for acorns, which are then cached as winter food. Nationally there has been an influx of Jays from the continent in recent weeks, and Preston Park has benefited from this. In the last week, there has also been an increase in Pied Wagtails in the park – they are an attractive small black and white bird – and they wag their tails as their name suggests!

Talking of birds that are mostly black and white, Great Spotted Woodpeckers are much easier to see at this time of the year. You won’t hear their characteristic drumming for a couple of months yet, but their sharp ‘kick’ call is often a giveaway, and helps you to locate the birds climbing up the bough of a tree. A good place to look for these birds is around the clock tower. Finally, if there is hard weather up north, we should see some Redwings arriving into the park. Redwings are a small thrush, visiting us from Scandinavia. They find our winters mild and inviting, and although shy, are sometimes seen raking over the leaf litter, searching for tasty morsels to get them through a long and chilly night.

Here’s a photo of a Redwing:


Tony Benton, Chair, Friends of Preston Park