Wednesday, 24 December 2014

24th December - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet.....

Christmas time, and the snowman is back, the Starlings having already had a peck and squabble over it.  I can't see him making it past Boxing Day.

There was rain early on, so I waited before going out, the birds though were busy in the garden, with the usual high number of Goldfinches, and the squabbling Starlings.  I was fortunat though that when I looked out of the window I had the camera close.  A flock of Long-tailed  Tits had come through, I counted 15 in total.  But the reason for reaching for the camera  was because they all decided to flock on to the nibbles feeder.

I am not sure what the correct collective nound is for a flock of Long-tailed Tits is, but I would definitely like it to be a fluff!

The feeders though were not the only attraction , across the road the berries on the tree have finally caught the attention of the Blackbirds, and this Redwing

In fact as I set out for my walk I could hear Redwings calling, and several collecting in the trees close to the berries.  With the frost due tomorrow morning I would expect these to be a source of food for them over the next few days as they become less shy

I set off up Brislands, the rain had passed and the forecast was for it to become sunny.  the sun did come out, but there were also some very dark clouds away to the north.

A Robin sang from the hedge as I walked past, there was definitely much more activity than on Sunday.  As I walked I could hear the seeps of Redwings, the teacher calls of Great Tits, and every so often the chuckle of a Fieldfare

As I approached the wood I could see two Buzzards soaring above the trees.

Looking across towards the west, the clear blue sky was on the way, gradually squeezing out the dark ominous clouds

The entrance to Old Down, is now full of cut tree trunks waiting to be collected and moved away.  This is the largest amount I have seen here, hopefully an indication that the work is now complete.

There were more thrushes in the trees as I walked down the main path.  Mostly Redwing there were also a few Blackbirds and this single Song Thrush.

The Redwing were everywhere, and were joined by a sizeable flock of Chaffinches, that perched in the trees with the Redwing.

The area around the diagoonal path is now very open.  This though does allow you to see an awful lot more.  I coul hear a large tit flock, and picked them out in the branches.  They were mostly Great Tits, but there were also several Coal Tits, Goldcrests and this Treecreeper.

I could hear twigs breaking, and then saw a flash of white as a small group of Roe Deer moved through the wood.  As usual they stopped to watch me, unconcerned that I could be a threat.  There were five together, and while they are not Reindeer they did seem quite appropriate for the season.  Unfortunatly not enough to actually pull Santa's sleigh.

It is as if they hide behind the trees and then look out from the side, they all seem to do it.

There has been a lot of clearance, but it doesn't seem as drastic as last year.  Yes there is a lot of mud, but that was cleared up last time, and I am sure it will be again now.  There is a lot of foxgloves coming through, nd if they are allowed to grow I can see the wood looking spectacular in the summer.

The cleared areas are also good for the birds, they are much easier to see.  I walked to the crossroads, and then headed towards the cottage.  For the first time for a long time there were birds in the top of the Larch trees.  They were just Goldfinches, but it is start, pretty soon I am sure there will be Redpolls too.

I left the wood, and headed to the pond.  A Moorhen scuttled away from me and dissappeared into the iris bed.  I walked around the pond but couldn't find anything other than a pair of Mallard on the small pool at the back of the main pond.

I headed down the lane, and pused at the paddocks where there were birds feeding on the grass.  There were Blckbirds, chaffinches and a single Redwing.  The ones though that caught my eye was a pair of Mistle Thrushes.  They were feeding togther.  You can see the lovely spotted chest and belly.

Even though they were apart, they seen to be very feisty together, and this one turned on its partner when it tried to get too close.

In the hedgerow a male Chaffinch called from the centre of the bush.

I crossed the paddock and then out over the field.  There is still plenty of stubble about, and clearly plenty of food as the Rooks continue to flock here in large groups.

As I walked towards Old Down I flushed several Skylarks, and Meadow Pipits, their calls ringing out as their bouncy flight took them away from me.

I went back into the wood and took the perimeter path to the Gradwell entrance.  Just before I reached the exit I came across yet another tit flock, again mostly Great Tits, but as I waited others appered to, namely this Coal Tit, that was busy preening.

I left the wood and headed home.  A very festive post today, managing to get in Robins, Snowmen, and tenuous (rein) deer, as I walked home I wished for something in a Holly Bush.  A Mistle Thrush tried, but it didn't come out as a good picture, and then as I neared home this Robin obliged.

So Merry Christmas to all of those that I know who read this blog, and a Merry Christmas to all those of you who are also kind enough to read this blog and often comment, Have a great time all!

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