Autumn leaves drift through the air, caught and propelled in a gust of wind before they touch down to the earth – this season is in full swing now, and winter is creeping ever nearer. The cold mornings will soon see frost cling to the crisped leaves and car windows, as the man-made and natural world are touched by the seasonal
Despite the chill in the air, this time of year is an exciting one for wildlife watchers as there is still much to discover from family groups of choughs to winter roosts – Elliot Dowding tells us more on p8. Take a coastal walk this winter in Devon, as Bryony James shares the places she loves to visit (p10), perhaps you’ll spot a glorious cormorant, our cover star this month (p12), or catch sight of the irresistibly cute seal pups found around the coastline at this time of year – Hannah Rudd explains all about this species on p17. Our ocean focus continues as I discuss plastic pollution and the beauty of our seas with BBC Springwatch presenter Gillian Burke, who also tells us about her career in natural history filmmaking (p24).
The short days of winter and the nearing of the end of the year allow time for reflections about the brilliant conservation projects and the spell-binding wildlife encounters that have occurred this year. Alexandros Adamoulas reveals his experience volunteering with the Little Tern Recovery Project in Dorset (p28), while Ellen Goddard looks forward to the New Year and the BSBI’s annual New Year Plant Hunt (p32). The natural environment has such an important influence on our physical and mental health, and in this issue, Elliott Kelly delves into why this is (p34), while Rebecca McHugh focuses on the importance of our peatlands (p38). We also talk to Jeff Knott, the RSPB’s Regional Director for Eastern England, about how his career has developed, and advice he has for young naturalists, plus his favourite wildlife reserves.
There is much to love about the transition of autumn into winter, a time when the branches are not yet entirely bare, the frost not yet completely severe, and there is plenty of wildlife to see, too. We hope that when you come back home to warm up from your outdoor explorations, you sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy reading this issue of New Nature. Continually striving to provide you with a great read, we would love to hear your comments, so drop us an email with your thoughts, or if you would like an article featured. We look forward to hearing from you.
Alice Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
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