WINTER NATURE UPDATE

Winter nature udpate from Brogdale Collections

By Mike Roser

In our latest nature news from Brogdale, our guide Mike Roser gives a snapshot into what to see right now in the orchards at Brogdale, in this latest winter nature update.

“Residual leaves in the orchards reflect the speed of change as winter quickly approaches.  We’ve already seen frosts and accompanying drops in temperature, gales of wind and even a dusting of overnight snow.

Visiting birdlife

Remnants of medlar fruit have softened, their leaves a mix of colours of artists’ palettes. Fallen apples have started to attract winter migrant thrushes, although both redwing and fieldfare have yet to arrive in their usual numbers. The former are always flighty when newly arrived, quickly taking to the tallest trees when disturbed.  The fieldfare is more brazen, with its loud distinctive `tchuck-tchuck` call-note from orchard field margins so typical of a winter`s walk.

Buzzards have spread into Kent in recent years, and are readily seen on prominent posts, probably attracted by the ubiquitous rabbit.

Signs of badgers

Away from the main orchards but within the site boundaries, badger tracks through grassland are well marked, leading from setts where chalk is dominant and showing their claw marks where debris has been moved.

Bare trees reveal all

Winter programmes of pruning and hedging start to reveal the typical nest sites of several species, particularly chaffinch, goldfinch and woodpeckers. The mature ornamental malus and prunus varieties alongside the wildlife garden hide so much when in full leaf, and quickly  the new year becomes a celebration of both their wonderful blooms and of the hidden birdsong .

However, winter beckons before the days lighten once more!” 

Find out more

If you would like to visit Brogdale and enjoy the nature and wildlife first hand, you need an orchard pass, available on our website here.

The National Fruit Collection is one of the largest fruit collections in the world and is located at Brogdale Farm, near Faversham, Kent.

© 2021 Brogdale Collections.