Garden News

Winter wildlife

Juliets Jottings roundallWildlife enthusiast and resident volunteer at Exbury, Juliet, describes the ways that fungi, spiders, wasps and bats prosper during Winter.

"This may be the quieter time of year for wildlife discoveries but there are still a lot of interesting Winter wildlife tales to be made at Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway.

Bats

"For instance, where do Exbury’s bats roost in winter? One answer is in holes in trees. One sharp-eyed gardener spotted a hole in an oak tree with a tell-tale brown stain trailing down the bark beneath it. This is made by the bats’ urine as they enter or exit the roost. Bats will exploit loose bark, the eaves of houses or sheds, or any other place that provides shelter.

Nest boxes

"Cleaning out nest boxes on Jubilee Hill also reveals how they are used during the season. This year, in late November, most of them contained a large spider guarding her egg sac. One box was clearly used for roosting as it contained a large amount of bird droppings. One had the remains of a nest with a tiny egg (probably that of a blue tit) nestling in the bottom, and yet another had a wasp or wax moth’s nest firmly attached to the underside of the lid. A box with a very large hole, probably gnawed by a squirrel, was removed for repair, and a new set of deeper boxes is currently being made.

cleaningout the nest boxes

Fungi

"Fungi are still popping up all over the place. Some are tiny and insignificant, some decorative or quite large. They were late in appearing this year after the drought, but are now quite widespread."

Would you like to discover wildlife next year?

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‘A truly fantastic day out. My wife and I were bowled over by the amazing spring colours of rhododendrons and azaleas and there was literally colour everywhere. There are beautiful areas to walk through as well as places to sit. We took a picnic in the hope of being able to sit by one of the ponds and were not disappointed – the reflections were as spectacular as the real thing! The next thing we want to do is return in the autumn to see the colours change as it must be beautiful’

David Parker, Christchurch

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What to see in the garden on your visit

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Juliet’s Jottings

What wildlife to spot in the gardens

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