Friday, 31 January 2014

January - a quick catch up

First off I wish to apologise for the lack of updates lately but various things have kept me away from blogging in the last few weeks but with those behind me I am now looking forward to the rest of the winter and the spring ahead with some exciting new developments on the horizon (more about these in the future). Meanwhile I also want to say sorry for having no time to comment on all your superb and beautifully illustrated blogs but I have promised myself a catch up this weekend :-) It has also come to my attention that a number of my former posts have appeared on your blog feeds and again I apologise for this but hopefully this has now been fixed.

Late afternoon in Bilsdale

Another view across Bilsdale

Woods of Bilsdale

The last few weeks have seen me travelling around the country with trips to the north-east of England and down to the Midlands and the trip to the north-east was particularly rewarding for a number of reasons which I will not bore you with here. However the best part of this foray north was a lazy afternoon in the beautiful Bilsdale area on the north-western edge of the North York Moors, the weather that day being stunningly clear and frosty with mist hanging over the long and winding valley below, a rare treat in what has otherwise been a grim and damp January. I had been to Bilsdale before but for some reason I had never fully appreciated what a stunning landscape it is, and hopefully I'll return again some time in the year ahead to explore the dale further.

Bridlington Harbour on a grey and murky winter's day

Herring Gull on the harbour wall

Barnacle Goose in Bridlington Harbour

Meanwhile a trip to Bridlington on an otherwise unrelated matter brought some decent birding opportunities, with a few new species added to my year list including Turnstones (Y81), Dunlin (Y82), and even a lone Barnacle Goose (Y83) which was somewhat unexpected. Though the weather was grim and cold we actually enjoyed this stroll around the harbour as the whole area was pretty much deserted, very different compared to the warmer months of the year when it can be unpleasantly crowded.

The ford at Darnholme

Dipper in Eller Beck

The Millennium Cross above Rosedale Abbey

Earlier in the month we also enjoyed a trip to the Eskdale and Rosedale regions of the North York Moors, which long term readers may remember is where we were seeking a property for much of last year, and though the weather that day was yet again damp, wet and unappealing it was nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable day out with the family with much fun and merriment to be had in our wellies and waterproofs. It also proved a great day for my bird list as I finally ticked off Dipper (L211) from my lifetime list, a minor personal triumph which made me doubly jolly that day.

Fungi at North Cliffe Wood

Acorn 'hats' on the woodland floor

Attractive fungi

Back at home in the garden the bird feeders have become busier as the month has progressed as natural food in the surrounding countryside becomes very scarce and thanks to my new study/office having a great view of the feeders I was able to conduct the RSPB garden birdwatch thingy from the comfort of my desk :-) The best bird on show for the hour was a single female Blackcap which has been showing well for most of the month, while other birds included Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Crow, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and Magpie. Of course a few otherwise typical species disappeared for the hour but I think we did pretty well this year :-)
Other news from Wold Garth includes the kicking off of the 2014 Moth List with a Twenty Plume Moth (or Many Plumed Moth as it also known) hanging about in the upstairs hallway, while an inspection of the spider infested garage loft revealed no further moths but it did uncover several hibernating butterflies, including two Peacocks, two Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma :-)

Blue Tit

A female Blackcap which has been visiting the feeders recently

Wood Pigeon