The weather in the UK has turned recently, and by turned I mean the temperatures are plummeting, there is snow settling in some places (not near me), and, well, Winter has Arrived at the Floodplain Forest.
Winter has Arrived at the Floodplain Forest
After a chilly school run I decided to make the most of the blue skies and head out for a wander. Heading down to the NR the cold wind was whipping across the Ouse valley, and straight through my gloves. My new windproof Northface Jacket, was doing a great job keeping the cold off my body, thankfully. And the old Buff certainly came in handy. But you could still feel the cold air. And the crunch of frosted grass underfoot was a tell tale sign, for sure.
Flocks of Goldfinch adorned almost every golden brown seed head, as I walked through the old lock area. Fieldfare “Chacked” away from me, through the bushes. Green Woodpecker laughed off the cold, from the bare oaks. And small flocks of Geese flew over, loudly honking.
Approaching the Reserve
The river Ouse looked deep and dark as it flowed speedily past. Black-headed gull lazily hung in the air, above the fast moving water. While Redwing “tseeped” high over head, moving through in search of laden berry bushes.
Arriving at the nature reserve, tendrils of thin ice spread out of the shallow margins of the lakes, coating areas in a misty, mirror, of glass.
The local Konik ponies, gathered together on the main island, their grey/brown hair merging with the greys and browns of the season. Blue skies casting the reds in a cold hue, the low winter sun doing just enough to keep the frozen air at bay. Winter has Arrived at the Floodplain Forest.
Walking the dark paths of the floodplain forest, the numbers of birds is still lower than one would hope, the bulk of birds being made up from various shades of grey. Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed gulls for the most part. Squabbling over scraps or noisily squawking as they drop down.
Thankfully, a few graceful Wigeon can be found swimming the cold waters, their calls echoing around the reserve as they go (truly my favourite bird call). small amounts of Teal and Northern Shoveler huddle up in the weedy edges, and a few Tufted duck dive the deeper waters, but it still seems we are waiting on the real influx of duck.
The signs of more winter birds arriving are evident as you walk the banks of the reserve and river. Fieldfare muscling smaller Redwing and Blackbird from the blood red berries; extra numbers of Robin searching through the tall grass, hunting for tidbits of food, or already staking a claim to territories atop low bushes.
Song and Mistle thrush, peck through the leaf litter for hiding snails; and a lone, red-headed Goosander can be seen tucked up on one of the banks.
Yes Winter has Arrived at the Floodplain Forest.
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