Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

PIKE Peer­ing un­der­wa­ter may not be the first ac­tiv­ity you think of when watch­ing wildlife in Jan­uary. But this is ac­tu­ally a good month in which to spot a Pike loi­ter­ing well be­low the sur­face. Look for its omi­nous shape, stream­lined and ‘snouty’, in stand­ing and slowflow­ing fresh­wa­ters. As be­fits an am­bush hunter, this fish is soli­tary and typ­i­cally se­cretes it­self amidst aquatic veg­e­ta­tion. IN­VER­TE­BRATE

HAR­LEQUIN LA­DY­BIRD So wide­spread and abun­dant is the Har­lequin La­dy­bird in Bri­tain, that it is hard to imag­ine that it was un­known in Bri­tain as re­cently as 2003. A na­tive of Asia, this bee­tle reached Europe fol­low­ing its in­tro­duc­tion to North Amer­ica in the 1980s for the pur­pose of con­trol­ling aphids. Look for groups hi­ber­nat­ing in­side dark build­ings such as sheds. And do so with mixed emo­tions: ad­mi­ra­tion at this species’s phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess and con­cern at the im­pact of it out­com­pet­ing our na­tive la­dy­birds. IN­VER­TE­BRATE

WHITE-SHOUL­DERED HOUSE MOTH Out in the ‘wild’, White-shoul­dered House Moth breeds re­peat­edly be­tween March and Novem­ber. Within the shel­ter and warmth of hu­man habi­ta­tion, how­ever, this ‘mi­cro-moth’ has no such con­straints and is ac­tive all year. This denizen of our homes is the length of your lit­tle fin­ger­nail and one-fifth of its width.

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