An After Christmas Stroll


Well after the hub-bub of Christmas, I decided that a little wander on my local patch was in order.  

It is an area of farmland with a couple of patches of woodland; the woodland comprised of oak, beech, chestnut, ash, hazel and alder with a couple of big spruce trees as well.  Along the edge of the woods there are an abundance of brambles, hawthorn and blackthorn, as well as plenty of elderberry bushes.  

It was a lovely clear sunny day, albeit a little on the fresh side!  Anyhow as I entered the woods I was pleased to see a possible old acquaintance on the little pond, a grey wagtail. I'm not sure if it is the same one as I've seen previous years, however one is back after a long absence

A further surprise, along the edge of the woods, was my first sighting of a Marsh tit -  seen them elsewhere, however never before on home territory!  I have seen Coal tits up there, as wee as currently having a pair visiting the feeders in the garden, however the Marsh tit is a first!

Throughout the woods there are Blackbirds, Great, Blue and Long Tailed tits and a flock of rather shy chaffinches. We also have a sizeable flock of goldfinch, which can be heard chattering away in the tops of the trees or as they fly over the back garden. 

Along the edge of the woods, I heard one of the Great Spotted Woodpeckers, after peering up for a while, I spied her having a forage, whilst keeping a lookout for predators. Over the past few years, I have watched them at the nest, the year before last though, the male disappeared part way through raising the young - probably fell victim to one of the local sparrowhawks.  The female carried on feeding the youngsters and they all fledged; respect to her as until then I never realised how much hard work goes into keeping the youngsters fed.

Meanwhile, a few of the squirrel community were keeping an eye on me as I passed by, they have been chasing around the woodland after each other, so I think 2015 is going to see a lot more squirrels!

I could also hear the nuthatches 'pinging' their way through the trees, amidst chasing squirrels. There is at least one pair and if I am up there at certain times of the day, I can almost guess which trees they will be in.  This is one of their late afternoon haunts.

I also saw muntjac tracks along the side of the field, often hear them 'barking' but rarely ever see them. 

Vegetation wise, much of the meadow on the north side of the woods is full of shooting hogweed and there looks like there will be a lot more thistles, as these are coming through as well.  I was not surprised to see many leaf buds on the trees, but on the row of willow, between the woodland patches, furry buds are starting to appear already.  Here and there, along the edges of the fields, the brambles are already blooming.


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