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Countryside Rangers Diary

Countryside Rangers Diary
January What's about in January?
The drive to survive goes up a gear as food becomes scarce and harder to find. With few leaves to block your view even the seemingly sterile landscape can surprise you with signs of life.
February What's about in February?
When the sunshine's it may seem for a moment that spring has arrived but this can soon be snatched away. Some of the worst winter weather over the past two decades has come during February.
March Though winter often has a sting in its tail, we are now leaving the dreariest months of the year behind
Spring flowers are opening and butterflies are emerging from hibernation. Listen out for the first warblers, the rich bubbling of a black cap or the unmistakable song of a chiff-chaff. At last it's the start of the naturalist's new year.
April Spring is here! The vegetation is changing from the browns and greys of the winter to lush greens.
Hawthorn is the first common tree to come into full leaf. However, it is beaten to flowering by the Blackthorn (sloe) which blooms usually at the end of March, beginning of April.
May What a busy month in the countryside.The leaves on the trees are unfolding showing a bright translucent green, they attract hungry insects while dandelion clock heads are being torn apart by linnets and goldfinches for their seeds.
June What a busy month in Margam Country Park.
This is the month when our fallow and red deer give birth to their young. The activity peaks with the majority being born from the second week of June onwards.
July Noon in high summer, and barely a breath of wind stirs the grass.
Little is moving in the countryside as the sun heats everything, the best time for wildlife-watching occur early or late in the day, when the dew is still on the grass, the air is fresh and fewer people are out and about.
September September has a restless feel.
The sounds of summer changing slowly to those of autumn. It can be a rewarding month for wildlife watching with lots going on before the dark of winter sets in.
October The time is coming to get out your winter woollies.
The frosts will soon transform the countryside, sending insect numbers plummeting and leaves spinning to the ground, where the wind will whisk them into heaps.
This month is Conker month!
When collecting conkers remember only to take a couple. Autumn fruit like conkers and sweet chestnut provide vital food for the deer during this month.
Death's Head Hawk moth.
A Death's Head Hawk moth, Acherontia atropos, was found in the Park on October 3rd. Rather a surprise as it turned up inside the Orangery!!!
November Mushroom Month
The woods and grasslands are full of mushrooms, toadstools and other fungi of all shapes and sizes.
Remember to check your bonfire for hedgehogs before you light it for Guy Fawkes night.
Or even better don't light a fire on the site the material has been standing but move it to the fire site just before you light it.
December December can often be quite a wet month, but why not get your wellies on, what better antidote for the festive season than a December walk in the park.
Flocks of feeding finches, frost lingering in the shadows of the woodlands and the washed out colours of a December afternoon are a tranquil counterpoint to tinsel and wrapping paper.