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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A frosty morning near Nunburnholme

Frosted ferns
Sunday began clear and frosty and as such weather has been shockingly absent so far this winter I was keen to get out and enjoy the crisp winter air before the forecast cloud and milder temperatures moved in from the south. Our destination of choice was the short but pleasant circular walk which begins at the top of Nunburnholme Wold (165 metres above sea level) and which then proceeds down the hill through Merebalk Wood before heading down to the village of Nunburnholme itself at which point the walk reaches its lowest point (30 metres ASL). From this point the walk heads straight back up Nunburnholme Wold with an ascent of 130 metres back to our original starting point (to see the full route and points of interest click here).

The view from above Merebalk Wood. Notice that most of the frost had melted by this point.

Hazel catkins beginning to flower

The cereal fields of Nunburnholme Wold

The dew pond

The top of Nunburnholme Wold

When we set off the frost still covered the ground, the road itself coated in white crystals with patches of ice here and there which made it quite slippy in places, but as the sun shone and the wind freshened from the south, temperatures began to rise so that by the time we reached the village most of the frost had melted away (bar the odd patch in the shade).

Nature wise the first half of the walk provided little interest, with just a Marsh Tit in Merebalk Wood and sightings of Red Kites in the distance, but as we made it down to the beech wood we came upon a mixed flock of finches and tits, amongst them several very handsome Bramblings (Year List No.73). Unfortunately I only had my short lens with me today so the record shot below will just have to suffice.

A heavily cropped picture of a couple of Bramblings

Water jewels

The winding road between Nunburnholme and Warter

Farm on the edge of Nunburnholme

Continuing on the walk we heard Jays over in Garforth Wood, the loud harsh calls of this Crow species being a common sound in the woods around here, while Mallards and Teal were heard at the small private pond below Totterdown Farm. The hazels meanwhile are starting to flower with the lambs' tail catkins opening up in response to the recent mildish temperatures and the now lengthening days, though in most other respects the woods and the woodland floor remain quiet and dormant and will probably remain so until at least early to mid February in this part of the British Isles.

High hedgerows along the country lane

A small beck flowing towards Nunburnholme Beck

Farm track with icy puddles

A view across the Vale of York