Frogs, toads and newts also go into a state of torpor when it’s cold, dropping their body temperatures, breathing and heart rates. They can withstand winter better than others, but will creep under rocks or logs or lay buried at the bottom of ponds when the temperature really drops, before emerging again from January onwards.
The hum and buzz of spring and summer turns almost silent in winter, as bees and butterflies find overwinter homes to hibernate. Queen bees will gorge on pollen and nectar to store fat before burrowing deep into soil in early autumn and staying there for up to nine months.
Most butterfly species spend winter in the larval stage, but some hibernate as adults, including the brimstone, peacock, comma, small tortoiseshell and red admiral. Seeking outdoor structures like sheds and farm buildings, they settle down and enter a dormant state as the weather turns cold, waking again around April or May.
So what wildlife can I see in the woods this winter?
Winter is definitely a quieter time in the woods, but if you’re lucky you may see badgers or squirrels pop out to look for sustenance on milder days.
Foxes and deer stay active throughout winter and fungi, such as wood blewit, continue to appear and thrive.