On 30th Jan we were at Branton ponds and found two or three Hawthorns already in leaf. Then the following day along the track from our house one of the Larches that usually come into leaf early had broken its leaf buds. In the past when I've seen this tree showing leaves in mid Feb I've been amazed, but before the end of January is exceptional.
Then today I was in Chillingham and during a circuit of the park put up three Woodcock and an excellent pair of Fallow Deer does. There was also an very good selection of unusual conifers near the Castle and some of these will be the subjects of my Plant Corner article in the February newsletter. But given that storm Henry was still raging it wasn't surprising that there was a great deal of wind-blown fallen timber throughout the park. The wind also nearly blew me over up on Ros Castles.