Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), 9 January 2019. Photo Ken Dobson.

January 2019 was the driest January at RBGE since 1976. Only 12.2 mm of rain fell, 18% of the long-term average. It was also much sunnier than average, with 71.5 hours recorded, 135% of the average. Temperatures were variable: the highest maximum was 11.9°C, while the lowest air minimum was -5.9°C (lowest grass minimum, -9.4°C). The Garden’s wildlife total remained unchanged at 1,077.

Birds Thirty-nine species of bird were recorded at RBGE during January, one more than in December.  Last month’s wintering Chiffchaff was recorded again on 7th and the Waxwings were back on 4th and again at the end of the month (29th and 30th). Redwings were present all month. Also notable were both Grey Wagtail (16th) and Pied Wagtail (15th, 21st and 22nd). A Sparrowhawk was recorded on 21st and a Buzzard on 23rd, while Oystercatcher flew over on 2nd.  At least one Kingfisher was seen on at least 21 different dates, with more than one bird being involved.  Nuthatches were reported on four dates and Tree Creeper was seen on eight occasions. The Tawny Owl was heard on 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 20th.  However, Stock Dove was not recorded for the second month in a row. The complete list of 39 species recorded during January 2019 was: Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail,Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Redwing, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Tree Creeper, Waxwing, Wood Pigeon, Wren.

Tree Creeper (Certhia familiaris), 29 January 2019. Photo Ken Dobson.

Mammals and amphibians A Fox was seen on four dates (6th, 14th, 27th and 31st) and evidence of the resident Badgers’ activities was evident throughout.

Insects and other invertebrates: Although it was a dry and sunny month there was still little invertebrate activity. No butterflies were reported and with the departure of Lucy Cooke from RBGE at the end of last year, regular moth trapping at the Garden has ceased meantime. A very early Tree Bumblebee was out and about on 6th. No Odonata or hoverflies were reported. A bluebottle, Calliphora vicina was seen on 17th. No bugs or beetles were recorded. A harvestman species, Oligolephus hanseni, was seen on 9th.

Harvestman Oligolophus hanseni on tree trunk, 9 January 2019. Photo Robert Mill.