Only the leftovers remain of the sumptuous Christmas fare the family and I have gorged ourselves on over the past few days. The last of the succulent, slow roast beef; the crispy skinned duck (we eschew turkey in our house); and gammon have all been eaten (sorry vegetarians out there, I really wish I could join you but I just love meat); the fluffy, yet crisp, roast potatoes are all gone; there is not a sprout left; even the final mince pies and figgy pudding have all been consumed. So what better day than today to walk off the Christmas feasts.
And so it was that I rounded up the little lady, kitted her out in some questionable clothes and wellies, and we headed off across the fields. Still home to local sheep and cattle. And made our way along the river for our final nature ramble of 2015.
Walking off the Turkey
We started our walk off late in the day. Sadly the consumerism of the modern world does not pass this family by. So some trips out to boxing day sales (yeah I know two days late) in the morning, meant we didn’t set out till gone 2 in the afternoon. Although walking shoes; and a new tripod head were some of the items bought today, so there will be a few more reviews up soon.
We started our journey, not through the sheep fields as mentioned above, sorry artistic license, but instead through the enclosed paddock (pictured). And our journey was marked by the high pitched chattering of one of the regular flocks of Long-tailed Tits that are quite abundant on the patch. These small lollipop looking birds are a firm favourite in our house. Cute balls of fluff handily on their own stick!
|Zoe watching Black-headed Gulls as they passed over.|
Just before we passed through stiff 5 bar gate at the end of the field we were treated two a couple of Grey Squirrels still out foraging in the very mild winter we are currently experiencing, rather than hiding up in their snug dreys that could be see throughout the bare trees.
It is a wonder at times that we see anything when the little lady is in one of her excited moods, keeping still and quiet is not one of her greatest skills, but when we dress her in a garish, brightly coloured, monster hat what did we expect?
|An Extra Colourful Little Lady Searching for Birds|
Our meandering walk, through the multitude of mole hills that litter the grassy fields took us quickly down to the heavily swollen River Ouse. The recent rains that have produced some of the worst flooding in northern England and Wales for years, has left the local stretch of the Ouse at the highest it can be, without actually bursting forth from the confines of it’s muddy banks. Any more rain and it will surely spread out across the local fields.
Incidentally my heart goes out to the residence of Cumbria; Manchester; Leeds; and so many more places who are suffering at the moment with the torrential flooding. Surely a sign of poor environmental policies and climate change! Let us all hope this finally causes the UK government to look at how we manage our waterways. And look at ways to prevent flooding; through good river maintenance and flood plains, rather than just putting in more defences.
Fast flowing and coloured like a milk chocolate vision from Roald Dahl’s imagination. The Ouse was swiftly carrying detritus, and Moorhen, at quite a pacem as we ambled along the paths that follow her Easterly route.
|River Ouse Looking very Full|
Dogs and Puddles
As we watched a lone Little Egret rapidly power past us up river, it became clear that there was not going to be too much else to see this afternoon. The paths were even fuller than usual. full of walkers and dog owners. The dogs themselves running amok across the fields and water channel. Bank holiday’s always bring out families even in the cold of winter months, so I shouldn’t be surprised.
So it was that the walk, that had started out as a nature walk, quickly turned into a day for splashing in as many deep puddles as we could find. And just spending some quality time together, just walking off the turkey.
|A Little Puddle Splashing|
As the cold started to seep into us, I decided to take advantage of the chilly air and rather than carry on our walk all the way around the patch, as we normally would, we decided to try out the new path across the would be wild flower meadow; and up to the farm buildings, thus cutting out at least half the walk.
|The New Path|
I’m not sure this path is officially open yet as there were some trampled down orange fencing at one point, but we pushed on and were soon into the cattle fields below the farm.
A quick scan from here out over the full and muddy lakes and all that could easily be picked out were Canada Geese and Mallards; as well as a few smaller Teal like ducks hunkered down tight against the banks.
Our final stretch along the canal was mainly taken up with eye spy and tales from my daughter of the super powers she has. That she has to keep secret. All in all a nice walk. If not one as full of nature as any of us would have liked. And a great way for walking off the turkey.
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