Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Bitter

As the title says, it was a bitterly cold walk this morning.  We walked along the old colliery lines and back through the farm taking great care not to fall on the ice and snow.  Leaden skies still look like they're about to drop more snow on us.
I don't think I have ever seen so may Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) as there are around these parts at the moment.  Last year we were enjoying the 'fall' of Waxwings.  This year, not a Waxwing to be seen, but hundreds of Fieldfares in their place.  Notoriously difficult to get anywhere near, they take flight from the trees and bushes with their characteristic 'chuckling' calls as if laughing at you trying to capture a good photo.  This is the best I've managed to get so far - not very good.
The second largest member of the Thrush family to be seen in these isles, they are spectacularly good to see with chestnut-coloured back, yellowish chest, grey head and rump and marvellously streaked underparts.  They descend upon us each winter from their breeding grounds in the far north and east of Europe, often with flocks of their cousins, the Redwings (Turdus iliacus).
Another elusive little creature was encountered on our walk around Straw's Bridge the other day.  as we walked along, a Weasel (Mustela nivalis) popped it's head out from the snow, looked round then disappeared again before reappearing in another place.  It did this several times before I managed to get one very bad shot of it in the distance before it hurried off and disappeared for good.  What a fierce little charmer!
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