Yes, we’re almost at that time again. This year the Winter Solstice occurs at 11.03 pm GMT (which is also our local time) so the first sunrise of our natural New Year is tomorrow, Monday. So do enjoy it. For those visiting Newgrange there will be no perceptible difference in light effect. Anyhow, take a look at what I found rising from the leaf-litter today:
Believe it or not, these are the fleshy leaves of Bluebells. Normally they emerge much later than December, but although it has been quite cold we have had few hard frosts. But whether we get snow or not is another matter, but I suspect not. Bluebells are very hardy though. But there are more than Bluebells around…
The bumblebee above is a worker Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) part of a nest of bees harvesting pollen from the yellow blossoms of this Mahonia tree which it is perched on. Unfortunately this bee will not survive the winter, but the much larger queen will, and she will start a new colony later, in the spring. Keep an eye for bumblebees though, because they are still around in small numbers.
Wildlife is not quite so noticeable in autumn and winter due to the short days and the poor light making it harder to see, but although you might not see it, it will definitely see you. For example, look at this Robin watching me from an arm’s length away, and I barely noticed it: