ALSO LOOK OUT FOR…

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild January -

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.

WAGTAIL WINS

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.

SWEET SMELL

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.

HEAVY HIT­TERS

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!

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