December in nature can look empty and dull but out in the park and the countryside, there is still plenty going on.
Most leaves have fallen by now, but ferns stand out on the woodland floor, especially the glossy evergreen fronds of hart’s tongue fern and hard shield fern.
There is fungus on dead wood – candle snuff fungus takes its name because it looks like blackened candle-wick.
Rooks and crows roost together in big flocks in woodland and barn owls go hunting over the fields late in the afternoons and in the dawn.
The spindle tree is still in bloom with its bright pink flowers and orange seeds providing a splash of colour in the woods and hedgerows. High in the trees, yellow clumps of mistletoe sprout their white berries, providing food for mistle thrushes, fieldfares and blackcaps.
And look out for the December moth! This fluffy, charcoal grey moth has creamy markings on its wings and can be found in both woodland and in your own garden!
To read about the sort of things that are going on in Lydiard’s walled garden at this time of year, you can check out the gardener’s blog: