February 2024

Over the last few weeks, we have been busy making ash trees safe which has meant felling some of the larger trees. Sadly, we have quite a bit of ash die back but many of the trees are still healthy. We replace any that die with a different species. Over the winter months we had a varied mixture of temperatures and weather conditions but predominantly mild. There was just one very cold spell lasting several days and included some snow. 1705678260192The pond iced over for a few days. The abundance of berries and apples earlier in the season was popular with the small flocks of redwing. Other birds seen or heard included coal tit, fieldfare, goshawk. siskin, robin, great tit, blue tit, mistle thrush, bullfinch, long tailed tit, blackbird, woodpigeon, wren, red kite, buzzard, snipe, woodcock, goldcrest carrion crow, raven, jackdaw, jay, linnet, house sparrow, mallard, greenfinch, magpie, heron, and hundreds of starlings, with some lovely murmurations.

The moles have been very active with some huge molehills (containing a network of underground tunnels and the nest chamber) in some areas and occasionally we see the earth move if they are active below.

The seed pods were still on the laburnum in December and some of the seeds had sprouted from the pods!   The first frogspawn appeared on the pond on 4th February. The heron and a pair of mallards are regular visitors.

1705678260078Some of the posts are sprouting bracket fungi making them look very beautiful but it does mean the posts are starting to rot and so will eventually have to be replaced. In the top field Keith spotted several sterile pestle-shaped bases which are the remnants of pestle puffballs. This species of fungi is large and when fresh they have a stout 20cm long white stalk, which darkens to brown as1705678260093 it matures. The fruit body is initially covered with ‘warts’ which eventually disappear to give a smooth yellowish surface. When they split the brown spore mass is exposed. They feed off surrounding plant roots and debris.

Towards the end of the season the snowdrops started to appear and flower. They were followed In February by the daffodils and primroses.


Alt-y-garreg is a 20-acre nature reserve created in 2010 from four fields that had been improved pasture. There are areas of new woodland (over eighteen thousand trees of eighteen native species), wildflower meadows, scrub and ancient hedgerows. Two of the fields are now a natural burial site. The area is teeming with wildlife. A list of species we have seen on the site can be found here.