The reserve is shrouded in a grey gloom on the last day of 2010 and is very quiet and still.I heard a great spotted woodpecker drumming in the car park however, a sign that even in the depths of winter life is moving forward for our birds.
On yesterdays Winter Wonderland walk, we had several sightings of a flock of around 25 lesser redpolls, feeding in trees along the edge of the Sandy Ridge trail and the occasional siskin heard calling as they flew over. A couple of goldcrests and wrens were spotted, always good to see after hard weather when their numbers can plummet. A treecreeper worked its way up the oak tree facing the information hut and a nuthatch called briefly.We even came across several species of fungi so even on the dullest of days there are rewards to be encountered.
I took this picture of the fungi near the old heath yesterday, any ideas on what it is?
Have a very happy and peaceful New Year, we look forward to welcoming you to The Lodge again in 2011!
The reserve is, like most places, thawing out fast. Today (Tuesday) sees patches of green grass reappearing to the delight of the sheep, and the landscape partly shrouded in mist. It's well worth a visit; there are siskin and redpoll, woodcock and buzzard, woodpeckers, jays and pheasants. However, be warned that the paths are very wet and will become even more slippery and muddy before they dry out again. The Quarry trail was re-opened today, for the first time since the snows arrived.
My 'bogey' bird here at the Lodge is the woodcock.This secretive woodland wading bird skulks in the bracken and is most often seen at dusk when it takes short flights to get to other feeding areas.Yesterday, I went in search of the volunteer work party and as I wandered around in the snow I could just imagine a woodcock flying up in front of me. Needless to say, it didn't happen and neither did I find the volunteers! When I came back to the gatehouse, the team were huddled around and preparing to head off home and of course , they greeted me with "we've just seen a brilliant woodcock".Apparently, it was very close to where I had been walking. Still, one day I'll be lucky and see one here!
If you are coming up over the Christmas period, enjoy your walk, take care on the trails if the snow is still around and let us have your bird reports.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from us all at The Lodge.
I have been puzzled by the things in the photos. I know what they are, but why have they suddenly appeared over the last week or so, when it is so cold?
Let me know what you think.
I have been down in Devon since Thursday, but had a longer break than expected, snowfalls of between 8 and 10 inches on Monday morning left me unable to reach Newton Abbot station.Thankfully,I managed to get the train back home yesterday and back to The Lodge today.Although everywhere still has a good covering of white,It's not been snowing here this morning, although we know that it has in other areas close by to us.
A red kite added some much needed colour to the monochrome lanscape when it was seen soaring over the reserve today and the feeders are still busy with birds desperate to get as much food as possible in the freezing conditions and short mid-winter days.