Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Treecreeper and Bright Patch

A slow thaw taking place!
But the snow hangs on!

A winter sun adds some colour

29th Dec. As the thaw continues, very slowly, and the sun shines, I took my chance of a walk on patch today. I must say Wellington boots are wonderful things, but they don’t keep the feet warm! They did help me keep standing though and they must have been a blessing at Waterloo.

I made through the church grounds towards the smaller lake. It was starting to melt, but still covered by a sheet of thin ice which you wouldn’t want to skate on. A week or two ago I saw a guy walking across this lake with a little lad. Foolish in the extreme I thought. Daft enough for the guy himself to try it, but to take the risk with a child of around six years of age was crazy. There’s been little birdlife about here for weeks now and today saw only two or three Common Gulls fighting with a corvid over a bit of bread. The bread was dropped several times by different birds such was the squabble and I thing each one may have at least got a small piece. There were masses of gulls over on the larger lake and quite large flocks of them also being fed at the edge. I’m not sure that I’ve seen so many gulls here before and no doubt some have been attracted by the free handouts that the council have being giving out in the way of feed. Apparently Morrison’s have been donating some vegetables and fruit. Nice one Morrison’s. I’m only hoping that they are tastier than some of the fruit and vegetables I’ve been sold there at times! The gull flocks included Black Headed, Common, Herring and Greater Black Backed Gulls. I chose not to walk in the direction of the larger lake, so didn’t check for any rarer species. I doubled back on the much quieter route behind the village. There was a good number of Goldfinches about.

In truth there wasn’t much to be found, but the walk was enjoyable in the sun and the light was that which you only get on a winters day with a little mist in the air. The snow that remains, and there is still lots of it, was being lit up and it gave a sparking effect below the trees.

I checked out the fields which usually hold Redwing and Fieldfare, but I found only Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons and then found two Lapwings, hearing the second one before seeing it. A few horses stood in the corner of the field and not one of them moved an inch. They looked tired and almost frozen. A Robin was at their feet. One Redwing did eventually fly past me before I decided to move on, as my feet were as cold, as those horses looked. Looking over the field gave a really nice winter’s scene with the sun lighting the mist in the air. As often happens, the photograph I took just didn’t capture what I saw.

I continued towards one of the wagon-ways and decided to walk down it a way. Looking over the fields I found only gulls, pigeons and corvids, with Magpies being numerous as always, and they seemed to have taken up stations along the hedge. I heard tits, Blackbirds and Wrens. I realised that there wasn’t going to be much in the way of birds so I watched the sun lowering in the sky and took a few photos. The sun left me dazzled and when three or four birds flew across my path I assumed they were tits, although I seemed to have caught white markings on one of them. I thought it best to check them out and I’m pleased I did as one turned out to be a Treecreeper. I remembered P A had found one on patch recently. I watched as at first it remained at the foot of a tree, then watched it climb in circular fashion, before dropping and starting again. The Treecreeper has to be in my top ten of birds and one I have rarely seen on patch..

I decided it was time to make off home. It felt late, but was in fact only 3.30pm. To the left of me the sky in the distance was becoming a deeper shade of orange and the mist was thickening over the area of the Tyne. When almost home the sky looked ablaze as I looked through the trees. When I looked back through the park area the mist was gathering at the foot of the trees. It was much colder now and I reckon if it freezes tonight some of these paths will be like glass early in the morning. Two small flocks of Starlings which had been noisily calling in the trees joined one another and flew off. As I put the key in the front door I heard Jackdaws calling and assumed they had just taken flight. I closed the door behind me as I took one last look at the sunset.

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