When the colder weather arrives, winter wildlife soon follow. We put together a list of creatures you might find setting up camp in your gardens this season. Don’t let the rain or snow stop you from exploring the outdoors, there’s plenty to discover!
Toads and Newts
If you don’t have a pond, toads and newts are commonly found in greenhouses, under pots, in piles of leaf litter or under piles of bricks etc. they mostly eat small insects and invertebrates. If you come across any leafy lumps, walk over with caution!
Violet Ground Beetles
Violet ground beetles are actually one of the few insects that you will see active in the winter. They are often found in leaf litter and flowerbeds, hunting for worms.
Some types of butterflies like the peacock butterfly, can be found hiding in the corners of your garden shed during winter. Be sure not to disturb them though, as butterflies need to be safe, sheltered and warm when hibernating.
Set up a bird feeder in your garden and you’ll soon see a large collection of birds visiting your garden. Blue tits are one of the most common birds seen in British gardens and like to eat meal worms and suet. They are easily spotted by their blue and yellow colouring; binoculars at the ready!
The Bullfinch is another striking bird that can be seen in rural gardens or woodlands and may be encouraged into your garden by a feeder with sunflower hearts and fruit inside. Bullfinches can be spotted due to their black head, grey back and pinky orange underparts (males) and a grey brown colour (females). Both male and female bullfinches have white rumps.
Hedgehogs are often found sheltering in piles of leaf litter or compost heaps, so be careful where you tread! If you want to feed these cute creatures, there’s a few things you need to know: preferred grub is cat or dog food, but stick to chicken and turkey flavour with jelly not gravy. Do not feed them milk and bread as it can make them very poorly!
Robins (voted the UK’s National Bird in June 2015) are famously seen around gardens in winter and will return to familiar pecking grounds all season. Robins are easy to spot due to their light brown back, bright red chest and faces, but can also be heard by their distinctive birdsong. If you catch your feathered friend investigating your lawn after a spot of rain, they’ll be after worms as they enjoy fatty foods.
The wet autumn will encourage a large number of snails to be active. They will start to hibernate in groups under stones and in crevices. Snails feed on vegetable matter and prefer to feed where the soil is chalky. As the nights get darker quicker, check the path for snail shells!