January – My Nature Notes

I went for a walk this January morning in the English countryside. I wanted to take notes with my camera on what defined this month in nature’s gardens?

Pause for explanation: I’m having a blast trying to read and learn about nature. Nothing like shaking out the cobwebs and clearing up any self-angst by going for a walk with camera in hand.  I’m going to take ‘notes’ with my camera every month this year to keep track of the changes of the season. Before this walk I spent time looking through the books on nature and wildlife that are now beginning to fill my home (yes, my family has to now deal with piles of these books everywhere!) to find out what I should look for this month.  I used to cover conflicts and disasters as a journalist where I had to notice and talk to people in the midst of it all to report the story. Now my conversation is with mother nature and trying to notice what she’s up to. Of course, there were times in the past that good ol’ mother nature herself had been the news story. We live in the southeast of England surrounded by deciduous woodlands and farm fields so my nature notes will usually be focused on this local landscape.

frost on leaves and grassMy feet crunched through leaves and grass covered in frost as I headed down to the woodlands.

At first it seemed as if I was entering a realm still asleep in the winter. But then I noticed the landscape was vibrant with green hues as so many trees were wearing coats of moss.  All different styles of moss adorned their trunks, roots and stubs.

moss on tree roots

Fallen trunk covered in moss

moss on tree trunk

green moss in woods

Bluebell shoots were waking up along my trail. Peeping out from under the layers of dead leaves with their intent of beating any competition and flowering before other woodland plants.  But it will still be a few more months before their bulbs show their blue flowers.

Bluebell shoots and dead leaves on path

Bluebell shoots in woods

Here and there just a glimmer of tree buds as the woods prepare for their spring awakening.

Buds and moss on tree

I breathe in the fresh winter countryside air. Lichens do the same on tree branches around me. I know the city fumes are far away as the lichens like clean air whether cold or warm, some types preferring the shade and not the sun. Macro lichens

Lichen on oak trunk

Two types of lichens on branch

As I walk up the path of my country garden, I’m greeted by the first snowdrops.  Yes, it’s January, they tell me, you’ll see more of me in February too.

cluster of snowdrops

Snowdrop from above

Snowdrop buds

I’m surprised by the sight of one tiny wild plant showing its first pink flowers despite all the recent frosty mornings.

Macro shot pink wild flowerJanuary is named after Janus, the Roman god of doorways, of beginnings, and transitions. He’s often depicted with two heads – one looking forwards and the other backwards.

Moss and tunnel at base of treeNature seemed to agree with this January definition on my ramble. The woods and gardens are not as dormant as they seem. Bluebells have been quietly growing underground and are now pushing out their shoots through the carpet of leaves. Snowdrops are gently swaying despite the frost. And moss and lichens have been happily thriving through the winter weather. A small doorway has been opened in January for the new season to enter in the coming months.


16 thoughts on “January – My Nature Notes”

  1. As I have just written on another blog, there is always life there, if you know where to look. I am surprised at seeing bluebell shoots already. Nothing like that is stirring here yet, not even the wild garlic which is often peeping through by now. I love your idea of a Nature Notes – I might have to copy this idea and do something similar.

  2. What a fantastic idea for a project. Lovely photos too. Our local wildlife trust often has ‘moss and lichen walks’ with an expert and I keep on meaning to go on one with him.

  3. Ah Kriss lovely, you know how much I enjoy such walks and time with nature. Kitty and I have a real thing for lichen of late ‘I likey lichen!’
    So good to see snowdrops out now isn’t it? Next stop bluebells!
    Thanks for joining in again lovely lady x

  4. Hurrah for moss! I think we’re a little behind you in the midlands, apart from snowdrops there were no signs of bulbs poking through on our woodland walk this week – it won’t be long though I’m sure.

  5. Pingback: January – My Nature Notes

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