January in the Copse

This is the first of a regular blog about the Copse, season by season, monthly when possible. We will share what we notice on visits to Hutchcomb’s Copse, and provide updates about our plans.  We bought the Copse last year and will work gently to preserve and enhance it.  No ‘tidying-up’ is intended.  We are thinking about when and how we might see and identify the flora, and the fauna who live there.   


Our most recent visit to the Copse was on a chilly and windy January morning.  We were lucky – there was no rain!  The Holly bushes offered a welcome patch of glossy green against the backdrop of grey-brown tree barks and the deep, mostly dark, leaf litter.  It was damp and slippery underfoot just about everywhere.


Our first exciting spot was a collection of healthy-looking green leaves emerging from the leaf litter – Primroses. We are already imagining those pale yellow flowers shining out at us in the coming months. 

Primroses emerging from the leaf litter
Primroses emerging from the leaf litter

Perhaps less attractive were many patches of what we think are droppings from a large bird.  Not all were beneath branches and recent rain means that these were partly diffused.  Photos are available if you think you might be able to identify the bird from the evidence it has provided!

We were joined by an ecologist colleague and delighted that she identified the presence of Field Voles.  This was in an area of tussocky grass close to the stream, and the Vole-trimmed grass stems were tucked-in beneath a tussock.

Trees are bare now and we are hoping that the dead wood and branches might be host to bats and owls, and perhaps offer Woodpeckers and other birds attractive nesting sites.  We disturbed a Buzzard from one tree and watched a group of corvids on another.  With the advantage of bare tree trunks we also noticed a probable Squirrel drey firmly wedged in the fork between trunk and branch,  The tree is in a neighbouring garden and visible from within the Copse.


Oxfordshire Badger Group