Saturday, 18 December 2010

Grey Partridge and a Red Nose!

Frozen fields and flash.
Cloud down the coastline.
The sun lowers and lights up the frozen fields and wagon-way.
A favored viewpoint for sunsets.

Ominous cloud still gathering.

18th Dec. With snow apparently closing in from north, south, east and west, I thought I would take this chance to walk on patch in the sun before the Government decides to ration everything and tell us we mustn’t leave our homes until at least March, unless our journey is essential! Although I am told that rumours that have the area of England south of Luton closing down indefinitely because it has snowed, and are not strictly true………………..yet!

Many paths on patch remain ice covered and in places this is dangerous sheet ice. The ground everywhere seems as hard as iron. It seems that this winter is going to be an even tougher one than last year for wildlife. However Christmas is coming and sadly I suspect that most folk, judging by the queues in the shops, will be to busy stuffing the turkey and themselves to give must thought to wildlife. Thankfully some of us do.

The walk up to the wagon-way was quiet, although I did find Goldfinch and Chaffinches, and it wasn’t until I got to the farm that I got my eye on a couple of Mistle Thrushes pecking around on the ground beside the frozen pools next to the farm gate. Two Fieldfares flew across into the trees. Then there wasn’t too much about at all until I found a Sparrowhawk in the lone tree which stands in the centre of the fields. Its long thin legs showing well as it seemed to jump up and down on the branches. I initially thought it was jabbing its talons into prey, but after watching it for a while I noticed that wasn’t the case.

I carried on past the second farm and along the Holystone wagon-way. Apart from a Robin I was by myself until a flock of ten Lapwings flew in and eventually landed on the frozen flash. There was another bird there, probably a wader, but I couldn’t make it out before it flew off. I hung around for a while as did the Lapwings and when they flew off giving a few calls, I too retraced my steps. Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a bird land in the field. It turned out to be a Kestrel which took off again right away with prey dangling from its talons.

I looked across the fields to the west and watched corvids mobbing a gull until the gull dropped its food which seemed to be a large piece of bread. Another Sparrowhawk glided into a tree on the edge of the field.

The skies were clear apart from the belt of thick cloud that ran down the coastline. There was an almost full moon. The clear skies suggested another very cold night. The forecast I see, is for minus six! The cloud suggested that the forecast for snow along the coast tomorrow is likely to be correct. The sun was now low in the sky and I cast a long shadow across the fields. The light was still good and vivid. As I neared the road again I had not seen a sole on this part of the wagon-way, although now a dog walker was approaching. I found a group of seven Grey Partridges which appeared to be searching for food. They were right out in the open and were not going to fly off. Once they realised I was watching they stood completely still. I left them to the difficult task of finding food, as I made off towards the village to continue my circular walk. I caught sight of another Kestrel flying over the field and onto a pylon.

I took a small diversion to watch the sunset, half hoping that I might find Woodcock here, as I had at the beginning of the year. No luck with the Woodcock this time but a nice sunset. I walked through the trees to look over the fields and I’m sure I picked up the call of a Tawny Owl somewhere in the distance. I watched the cloud over the coast again before returning to the path. Not before a branch smacked me full force on my nose! Time to make off home I thought. The Jackdaws where making a right racket from high up in the trees as I neared home. I’d been out for three hours which had seemed to fly over.


  1. Frozen flashes and frozen flashers i reckon. Very enjoyable account.

  2. Thanks John. I was correct about the snow anyway:-( Bit of garden watching today I think. Brian.