ALSO LOOK OUT FOR…
SEASONAL DECORATION TION
London planes in cities are festooned with dangling g seed clusters, looking for r all the world as if our street eet trees have been dressed for Christmas. Not much h eats the fat brown baubels, els, as these trees aren’t native, though another alien species – the grey squirrel – might.
Flocks of pied wagtails have taken to roosting in sheltered city-centre precincts and courtyards, where it is a few degrees warmer. Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has become one of the best-known wagtail roosts – see Daniel Trim’s winning photo in this issue’s British Wildlife Photography Awards 2017 supplement.
A sudden hit of vanilla while you’re on a walk may indicate winter heliotrope. This plant, a garden escape, blooms in the bleak midwinter. Its scruffy pink flower-spikes are hardly showy: it is grown mainly for the intoxicating scent. Unfortunately, the species is also invasive, smothering hedge-banks and waysides.
October saw record numbers of hawfinches turn up from central Europe, boosted by strong winds associated with Storm Ophelia. Normally these ‘miniature parrots’ are scarce in Britain, with under 1,000 breeding pairs, so this winter may offer your best chance of a sighting. Keep an eye on yew trees in churchyards across southern England and Wales!