Walton Hall Nature Trail, what's on Jan/Feb

January and February are the coldest months of the year. Plants and animals round the trail have many different adaptations to survive these conditions. Plants may over winter as dormant seeds or underground storage organs and most of the woody plants on the trail are deciduous so loosing their delicate leaves. Resident animals and birds struggle to exist especially those with a small body size. Extended periods of freezing weather when food is unavailable can lead to substantial population crashes, a good example of this occurred in the harsh winter of 1978-79 when the density of goldcrest, long-tailed tit and wren in English woodland fell by over 40% whereas the larger birds such as jay, magpie and crow actually increased in numbers slightly. Ice crystals on alder (Alnus glutinosa), last years female cones are in the centre of the picture and this springs male red catkins are dangling at either side.

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