Sparkling Frost

Sparkling Frost - Frosty fields with Manor Farm in the background
Sparkling Frost
A cacophony of noise hit me as I arrived at the nature reserve, as dozens of Canada Geese took to the air, in noisy, honking, flights, leaving the frozen waters of the floodplain Forest behind as they headed out to forage for food in the frosty fields of the Ouse Valley.

Sparkling Frost

Having walked along side the frozen Grand Union canal, looking stunning in the early morning sun, as her rays twinkled off the crackling surface and the sparkling frost, clinging to every plant and tree along its course. I arrived for once from the farm side and was greeted by the aforementioned noise and a stunning scene of light mists, blue skies and frosty, wintry images.

Grand Union Canal looking past the Galleon Pub
Grand Union Canal looking past the Galleon Pub

 

Frozen Grand Union Canal in Old Wolverton
Frozen Grand Union Canal in Old Wolverton

 

Sign Posts
Sign Posts

Spreading out before me the scenes of winter were a photographers dream, scenes of glittering frost, and icy water; light mists drifting off the frozen lakes and fast flowing river, low winter sun casting a golden light through the trees adding an amber hue to the reserve, and brilliant blue skies above.

Frosty Bridge
Frosty Bridge

 

Frosty Back Brook at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Frosty Back Brook at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

 

Owl Box in the Mist
Owl Box in the Mist

 

Brilliant Blues - The Viaduct Hide at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Brilliant Blues – The Viaduct Hide at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

 

Frozen Lakes
Frozen Lakes

 

Frosty Paths
Frosty Paths

 

Main Hide at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Main Hide at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

 

Misty View over Nature Reserve
Misty View over Nature Reserve
Water Tower and Church at Castlethorpe through the mist
Water Tower and Church at Castlethorpe through the mist

Wildlife

The areas of remaining open water were muddle of different duck species. Whistling wigeon filled the air with their melancholy call, synonymous with winter to my mind. Tiny Teal, hugged the banks, attempting to shelter from the ice, while Gadwall and Mallard quacked about in raucous abandon, already feeling the approaching spring in their amorous advances.

In the deeper waters Pochard and Tufted duck dived relentlessly, searching for their underwater prey, while three Goosander paraded elegantly as they swam. Shovelers swept their spoon like bills through the waters edges snapping at the waters surface, creating tiny bubbles and filtering particles of food.

Female Wigeon
Female Wigeon

 

Male Wigeon
Male Wigeon

 

Greylag Goose, head
Greylag Goose, head

 

Gadwall in Flight
Gadwall in Flight

 

Herring Gull
Herring Gull

 

Grey Heron in the water
Grey Heron in the water

A pair of Stonechats remain in residence around the farm hide, often perching on the wire fences and frost covered posts, their stunning colours of oranges and browns a colourful reminder of the year ahead. There were more signs of the approaching season change. They could be heard more than seen, as the echoing sound of drumming Great Spotted woodpeckers rattled from a number of locations around the reserve. Their cousin the Green Woodpecker, more obvious as the yellow rumps flashed across the skies in a bounding flight.

Male Stonechat
Male Stonechat

 

Stonechat on Wire Fence
Stonechat on Wire Fence

 

Male Stonechat on Frost Covered Fence Post
Male Stonechat on Frost Covered Fence Post

 

The Full Glory of a Male Stonechat
The Full Glory of a Male Stonechat
Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker

Finches

Small charms of Goldfinch fed voraciously on teasel and other seed heads all over the patch and by the old lock were joined by at least two Redpoll, a not too common species through the year. A Flash of yellow/green wingbars in a small finch with them revealed the presence of a Siskin, a rare sighting for me.

Redpoll Ready to fly
Redpoll Ready to fly

 

Redpoll Feeding
Redpoll Feeding

Overjoyed with a wonderful walk in the crisp cold of a January day; And having been witness to wonderful wildlife and beautiful scenes. I headed back home. The miles walked adding to my 2500 miles target for the year (please consider clicking the donation link at the top right of this page).

Remaining Photos

Grey Heron in Flight
Grey Heron in Flight

 

Robin
Robin

 

Dunnock
Dunnock

 

Redwing on fallen branch
Redwing on fallen branch
A Bend in the River
A Bend in the River

I’m Walking 2500 miles in 2017 to raise money for Birding For All – Read about it here – Please consider donating through My Donate

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