What wonderful winter wildlife was spotted in December?

Ben Abbott

December saw Brockholes Nature Reserve transform, as winter arrived with purpose. However, despite the notable change in weather conditions the reserve has consistently been awash with fascinating fauna and flora.

To start the month of December, a male chaffinch was observed perched proudly upon a low hanging branch at the edge of Boilton Wood. With its russet red complexion, this delightful little bird easily blends in with the woodland surroundings present at Brockholes. Therefore, should you be on the lookout for one of these cheeky characters, you will most commonly hear the chaffinch's loud high pitch call before you see them.  

Crystal Brain Fungus

Leslie Price 

In spite of the less-than-ideal conditions present, Brockholes has seen a diversity of colour radiating in various forms across the reserve. One particularly pertinent example being the eye-catching yellow brain fungus, with its vivid colouration being able to brighten even the bleakest of winter days. Remaining with the fascinating flora present at this time of year, the beguiling crystal brain fungus was also spotted upon the body of a fallen tree in Boilton Wood. This otherworldly occurrence is amazing to look at, with its translucent and gelatinous form resembling a brain.  

Rather wonderfully, the ever-impressive starling murmurations have continued to take place with regularity throughout December. These awe-inspiring spectacles of nature really are a must see for any wildlife lover. The best time to view murmurations is at dusk, and even if the numbers are small, you will not be disappointed with the way in which these marvellous creatures acrobatically swoop through the air.  

Siskin

Pat Aitchison

A flock of fieldfares also arrived at Brockholes in considerable numbers throughout December. These large and colourful thrushes are a joy to watch as they purposefully go about their business in their sizable groups. Delightfully, the fieldfares were also joined by a bunch of energetic siskins. Siskins with their yellow and green bodies are easy to spot and add a great deal of colour and energy to the reserve throughout the winter months,  

Goldfinch

Ken Hayes 

In addition, a mediterranean gull was observed on No.1 Pit, this resplendent bird really stands out from the crowd at this time of year, with its bright red beak protruding from its pure white feathers. Finally, a charm of ever entertaining goldfinches were viewed feeding on the abundant thistledown present across the reserve. These charming birds are captivating as their mischevious character shines through as they quickly flutter to and fro.