Thursday, 8 February 2018

Brass Monkey Weather

It's funny how a brief interlude of cold weather gets us all talking these days. Frost has now become a scarcity in my neck of the woods, a bit like how snow used to be; snow is virtually non-existent now! Gone are the days when farmers couldn't lift their spuds because the ground was frozen, now they can't lift them because it is too wet to travel on the fields, or the numerous days in winter when I was at infant school and our little bottles of milk would arrive frozen!

It was cold this morning when I started my hedge survey in the north of the county, in fact it was minus 5 degrees Celsius with glorious clear skies and not a breath of wind. The farm I was on is divided in two by a road and I surveyed hedgerows below the road close to the river first, before surveying the hedges across the road on the hillier section of the farm.

The farm has a gloriously large old barn and it has been sympathetically restored for agricultural use still, retaining all its nooks and crannies that House Sparrows nest and roost in. As I got out of my car the House Sparrows were noisily awakening from their slumbers and my count of 8 is woefully low, this is just how many that I saw.

On to the frost covered low pastures and a flock of 254 Lapwings in a tight pack was nice to see. I then had a good count of 126 Linnets; two groups heading south across the farm, fairly low, as though they were exiting a roost from somewhere.

Frosty Lapwings

As I weaved my way along my survey hedges towards the river I encountered two Song Thrushes, six Stock Doves and 32 noisy Fieldfares in with a larger group of noisy Starlings! There were four Brown Hares in the meadows by the river and on the river itself was a group of three female Goosanders.

 Distant Goosanders

It was a bit quieter on the other side of the road on the hillier section of the farm, and all I added was a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, a single Buzzard and a fluffy looking Goldcrest feeding in a mature hedgerow.

 Looking towards Yorkshire

It's looking unsettled over the next few days and I've got a few days at a beer festival, so it could be after weekend before I post again.

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