Saturday, 18 December 2010

Birding in the freezer

Following the relative warm relief of a week ago, temperatures have plunged once again.

Today, Saturday, was delightfully sunny, but I have to admit I'm getting rather fed up with these sub-zero temperatures. With the mercury rising to a maximum of zero degrees Celsius, it was rather cold at Tophill Low NR.

The approach road is still an interesting drive... D reservoir is still iced up but looks very pretty, and the north end was still open for the Coot spotters among us!

Looking south from middle hide hence no Coots!

I walked as far as North Marsh which was well frozen (above) and spent late-morning til dusk watching, listening and FREEZING!!!

Sitting still and shivering does have its rewards though with sightings including a female Merlin that headed east over D Wood and onwards over the carr lands to the east of the River Hull, 2 Buzzards to the east of the site and a mobile flock of Siskins bouncing backwards and forwards across the river. A Woodcock briefly wandered along the old North Marsh path during one of my warm up breaks from the hide, and a probable Marsh Tit, still a Tophill rare, was calling in D Wood, though some over excited Pheasants that have survived recent shoots decided, as the probable Marsh Tit called, to make a right racket in celebration of still being alive!

Mid-afternoon, this Bittern flew in high from the direction of Brandesburton ponds and headed south along the river.

Numerous footprints can be seen over the frozen North Marsh. This Fox trotted down the marsh giving me an icy stare when the shutter clicked.

Taking advantage of the cold was a Wood Mouse. Leaving the relative safety of D Wood to explore, it spent several hours under some reed stems on the island in front of the hide, occasionally providing fleeting glimpses in the open...

before taking the opportunity to head further east to the river bank... perhaps hoping to tick the River Hull!

Wood Mouse over the ice at pace... despite the danger of freezing it's nuts off!

Despite the weather, this Yellow Stagshorn was found at the north end of the site. Yet another addition to the site fungi list and credit to Doug Fairweather for wanting to explore... a great way of keeping warm!

But as I curse the cold, it makes me look forward to once again encountering my old foe Chrysops relictus

It will soon be Spring...

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