As January comes to a cold end with freezing nights and flurries of the white stuff, it’s difficult not to dream of warmer times and the promise of Spring. In some ways it’s a shame to let our thoughts wander forward too fast as the wood is looking quite spectacular in this cold weather. The hard work of volunteers who have cleared out the undergrowth in many areas means that you can now see the various forms of the young trees.
Nature always seems to be involved in a circle of birth, growth and death so perhaps it’s a good time to remember that January is named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and endings and the doorkeeper of the heavens. He’s often depicted as having two heads so could see backwards and forwards at the same time and perhaps we can apply that metaphor to the Jubilee Wood. Trees, plants and invertebrates may seem dormant at this time of year as we walk through its gateway, but we can already the signs of new growth as buds thicken on branches and new growth is forcing its way up from the ground.
The wood also played a part in the recent RSPB birdwatch, as volunteers sent in their sightings after a cold and windy weekend. It will be interesting to see how the bird population changes as the trees mature and the level of cover changes throughout the seasons. The Fieldfares are still to be seen as are chaffinchs, goldfinches, wrens and green woodpeckers along with the blackbirds, sparrows, jackdaws and bluetits to name just a few. It’s also easy to forget the red kites as we now see them so regularly over our gardens but what a wonderful sight they are. As they glide above , their calls fill the skies and we can watch their territorial acrobatics which have already started.
A big ‘thank you’ to the many volunteers who keep the Jubilee Wood healthy and accessible for our enjoyment. Whatever the year has in store for us it will always be a place of quiet enjoyment as well as an environment which is packed with life and variety. Just look at the two reports on the website about dragonflies/damselflies and moths in Jubilee Wood in 2018 to remind yourself of what’s to come!