Christmas is coming, and it feels fantastic to have just sent our next issue to the printers’ - the last one of the year. 

As the festivities fade, RSPB members will have a brand-new January issue of Nature’s Home to get stuck into – perfectly timed to get you outside in the new year and making the most of winter’s incredible natural spectacles. 

natures home

As you’ll see from the cover, we’re unmasking the winter migrants that could be hiding right under your nose, mingling with resident birds in your back garden. 

SECRET MIGRANTS 

If you seem to have acquired a few extra blackbirds or goldfinches lately, it could be because they’ve flown in from overseas, to spend their winter holidays in your inviting backyard bird paradise. What an honour to have them! 

It doesn’t take much to cater for these birds when they arrive, and you can join the Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of January to see how many you’ve managed to attract. 

Winter migration can form a complicated picture, with many passerine birds migrating within the UK while others fly to countries further south - only to be replaced by incoming birds of the same species from countries to the north. And then there are those who just stay put. This issue we look at the science and lifecycles that dictate these journeys.

LOVE OUR LICHENS 

lichen Usnea sp, Abernethy

Fewer leaves, more water makes this a great time of year to enjoy lichens. Photo: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

Winter is also an excellent time to get a good view of lichens and mosses, and two of our writers, Nicola Chester and Kate Blincoe, are enchanted by their fascinating ecology. There are some bizarre and rare lichens out there - particularly in our Celtic rainforest; a rare Atlantic woodland habitat found around our western coasts that supports a wealth of flora and fauna. Kate explores this gnarled, fairytale world through some of our nature reserves.  

Meanwhile, we catch up with a project to help save the roseate tern; an enigmatic seabird. Out on Coquet island we’ve been building terraces of specially designed nest boxes that have helped towards “rosys” bouncing back from just 56 pairs across the UK in 2000 to 118 pairs last year on Coquet alone. 

Fans of ITV’s Emmerdale will be delighted to know that the soap’s set is super-welcoming to wildlife. Actor Tony Audenshaw shows us around the site and its cast of wild extras. 

There’s lots more to discover, too. Find out how we identify individual adders, what happens inside a chrysalis, how sphagnum bogs store more carbon than any forest, how to photograph birds in flight and what to look out for as winter turns to spring. 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together. Write and tell us what you think, or log in to comment below. 

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