Cockaynes Reserve: Spring awakenings

Winter – a time of rest, recycling and renewal in Nature. And so it was on this lovely sunny January day in Cockaynes Reserve.

From Turkey-tails to King Alfred’s Cakes and  all manner of microfungi, before the canopy closes and plants take over, fungi are out there doing their work, breaking down wood and leaves into nutrients that are recycled into new growth. And it is working! Always first from the starting blocks, Honeysuckle and Elder shoots are bursting…

… the new leaves of Wild Arum and Bluebell are spearing up from the leaf-mould….

… Hazel and Alder catkins are elongating, and the male flowers of Hazel at least are fully open.

Out on the heath, Reindeer Lichens and Juniper Haircap mosses are now showing at their best, their domain free from the distractions of flowers at least for the next month:

And as ever, Gorse is blooming. The dense, spiky foliage is always a good place to search for insects, and in the sunshine, they were beginning to show – here 7-spot Ladybirds and a Cinnamon Bug.

Yes, Spring really is just around the corner…!