Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Hard as Iron

Setting out this morning, it was even colder than yesterday. The thermometer was still well below freezing as we stepped out, but we had lost the stiff breeze of yesterday and the sun was shining, so it felt much better, despite the cold.
We thought we would head around Mapperley Reservoir this morning. In Winter, it is usually too soggy to get round the reservoir but with plunging temperatures, the earth was 'hard as iron'. The reservoir too, was frozen over leaving several confused ducks and coots.
Frost adorned the leafless branches and twigs and there was no sign if the Kingfishers which were in residence the last time we visited this end of the reservoir.
Sparkling sunshine made things much better and gave us a beautiful view across the water.
Time to head home again, back along Slack Lane - careful not to slip!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Colder Still

With a little snow on the ground and a very chilly wind blowing, we set out this morning wrapped up against the cold. Hats and scarves adorned our frosty heads and thick gloves to keep Malcolm's fingers from dropping off.
Where the snow had thawed and re-frozen over night, the going was treacherous and few slips were inevitable as we picked our way along.
Down towards 'Vole Bridge' the mud was only just frozen, so we had to step carefully.
Then it was onward towards the farm and the Oaks which stand guard over Slack Lane whatever the weather.
When we first set out, it looked as if things might brighten up a bit, but there was still no sign of it. The sun was up there somewhere, but it was struggling to make it's presence felt this morning.
Along the old mine workings and Silver Birch tree trunks added another element of white.
On the home stretch and a little digital 'bloom' brightens the snowy scene...
Time for a warming coffee and a sustaining tot of Brandy - purely medicinal of course!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Seasonal

Just look what's happened this morning..!
 It's all very seasonal, although the shivering birds were looking a little put out as they sat in the trees.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

York

Malcolm and I have returned from a (very) short break in York. Having been before to have a look around their Christmas market, we thought we'd repeat the experience. Last time we went, the city was suffering from severe flooding...
This time, things were much more normal and the sunshine first thing in the morning, was glinting on the surface of the Ouse.
The evening before, we set out for a wander about the city centre to soak up a bit of Christmas atmos'.
Trying to avoid the more congested parts - which turned out to be those stalls which were giving away samples of alcoholic beverages - we squeezed our way through the crowds.
Thankfully, things were a little quieter than the last time we visited, so we were able to appreciate the decorations.
It was all very seasonal - including the chilly wind which cut you to pieces.
Back to the Travelodge for Mulled wine and a mince pie and to warm up a bit.
Next morning, we had time for a quick stroll round the city in the sunshine. Clifford's Tower was looking particularly fine against a clear blue sky and even the moon was putting in an appearance.
Very festive - Christmas starts here!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Birthday Boy

St. Andrew's Day is a day for celebration - not because of some bearded chap supposedly born in 6 B.C. in Galilee, but because of someone very real and much closer to home. It's Malcolm's birthday and today he has reached the ripe young age of 55.
Happy birthday Malcolm and many, many happy returns.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Bright and Chilly

Things have taken a rather chilly turn for the time of year. But as is often the case, the chilly feel was accompanied this morning, by a glitteringly clear blue sky. So we set out over Shipley Hill feeling cold, but basking in the sunshine.
We were heading for Osborne's Pond, down the hill...
The trees are now almost completely bare, with just a few brown leaves clinging to the twigs, but the views from the other side of the hill the other day, the colours were still pretty good.
The chilly conditions have meant that the Sparrows are even more hungry than usual and every day, we are treated to feeding frenzy in the tree in front of the house. This cheeky little chap seemed to be unimpressed by me pointing the camera at him while he was busy with lunch!
The influx of winter visitors goes on at a pace. Among the most numerous at the moment are the Redwings which have arrived from Northern Europe. This one was photographed in our garden a few years ago - actually, I've just checked and it was almost six years ago! Where does the time go?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Winter Visitors

It was rather blustery this morning and it looked like it might rain on us at any moment. So with that in mind, we set out for a short walk around Straw's Bridge. On 'Swan Lake', we were pleased to see a small group of Pochards.
Pochards (Aythya ferina) are a resident of the British Isles but their numbers are boosted in Winter, by incoming migrants. Numbers reaching around 48,000 individuals.
As usual with Wildfowl, the males are much more colourful than the females and display a wonderful chestnut coloured head and the brightest red eyes you can imagine. Unfortunately, they are on the RSPB red list meaning that their numbers have fallen drastically in the last 25 years.
The wind today, was doing its best to relieve the trees of the last of their autumn colour but thankfully, there is still some to be found.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Still Colourful

Autumn is slipping by at a frightening pace, but as thoughts turn towards Christmas, it is nice to see that the colours of the season are still rather fine. Where they have fallen from the trees, they are carpeting the ground with a thick pile of golden brown.
Many are still clinging to the trees.
As always, the Maples are the stars of the show.
Around Shipley Woodside...
and through the woods around Coppice Lake, where the Beech trees take the lead.
It is not just the leaves which attract attention. The bright berries of the Cotoneasters are creating quite a show of their own.
Just a little 'bloom' to enhance what is already a colourful scene.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Osborne's Pond

After a very chilly start, the morning turned out to be bright, sunny and clear. One of those days when it would have been a shame to stay inside. So we set off across Shipley Park. as we crossed Shipley Hill and looked back across the fields, a slight frosty mist hung about the trees.
The few leaves still clinging to the Maples, are quite beautiful as this ornamental variety shows.

At Osborne's Pond, the still waters were rippled by a passing Swan...
and the reflections were brilliant.
At the far right of the picture, the reservoir dam is just visible, reminding us that this was once a 'feeder' reservoir for the canals of the area. All a far cry from the glorious scene this sunny morning.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Reflections

We thought we would take a look at Mapperley Reservoir this morning as there had been reports of a group of Mandarin Ducks. Needless to say, we didn't find the Mandarins, but we were treated to the sight of a pair of Kingfishers chasing each other across the water. Unfortunately, they didn't stay still long enough to get a photo, so we'll have to settle for some general views.
Despite being rather overcast, the weather stayed dry as we took in the scene.
It soon became clear that the reflections on the surface of the reservoir, were well worth looking at too.
There was no breeze to disturb the surface, so the reflections were quite sharp.
Some of the Willows had bracket fungus growing on them - while trying to hang on to their leaves before Autumn turns to Winter and they give up the battle.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Autumn Sunshine

As we set out today, it was one of those bright, sunlit, chilly mornings which makes you want to be out and about taking it all in. It was also one of those days when you just want to enjoy the 'bigger picture' and simply enjoy some wider views. Starting out along what we know as 'the donkey walk.' Here, the Birches are hanging on to their golden leaves.
Further on, we had some spectacular views across the farmland, towards Shipley Hill and the autumnal shades which glowed in the sunshine.
Through a small copse of trees which took us off Slack Lane, it was time to stop and look up...
through the thinning canopy of Oak and Ash leaves...
to the blue skies beyond.
From here, our onward path was laid out before us with shafts of light slanting through the hedgerow.
A little digital 'bloom' adds a certain something..
Time to head home and get the coffee on!