Monday, 31 January 2011

The Last Day of January

The first snowdrops have appeared in the garden and every day it seems the sun reaches places it has not warmed for some months. Wolds-End Tom has even managed to curl up in a sunny spot outside (although it is not long before he is once again in shadow and as his desire to be outside is overtaken by the feline instinct to find a warm place he retreats indoors).

Today started with a heavy frost and clear blue sky. I decided to pop down to part of the local canal where the surrounding fields flood in winter (from water backing up the canal from the river and the field drainage channels). This flooding attracts a variety of waterfowl at this time of year.
As often happens the clouds appeared as I set off and a combination of low lying mist and cloud cover reduced the available light meaning I had to up the iso on the camera to have any chance of sharp photos of birds in flight.

Not long after leaving the car I saw a Barn owl to my left. It is always nice to see these and even more so this year as I fear the harsh winter will have reduced their numbers. 

 I watched the owl for a while as it was not disturbed by my presence.  It was only lunchtime but the falling light levels made it seem like dusk.

This is the first time this year I have visited this stretch as an earlier attempted visit saw me driving to an access point a few miles further up as the floodwater was too deep to wade through.

I moved on but after the initial excitement of the owl there was not too much more to see. I passed a well occupied rookery and a little further on was pleased to see two Mute swans. The canal had been frozen for a few weeks and although recently thawed out the cold morning had caused a thin layer of ice to form. The swans are always a welcome sight on the canal and I was glad that these two had got through the difficult times of this winter.

Approaching the flooded fields I was disappointed not to hear geese and I soon found out why as I saw in the distance a large digger and van. The waterfowl are easily disturbed and whatever work was being carried out had made them move elsewhere. 

Disappointed I turned back but heard and caught a fleeting glimpse of some Wigeon. 

As I put my camera and wellingtons in the car the sun decided to come out again but at least when I got home the afternoon was very pleasant and I could enjoy watching the garden birds.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos. Mute swans are not well thought of here in the natural bird world, but I think they are very beautiful. After all, they ARE birds, regardless of how they got here or how aggressive they may be. And, hooooo doesn't love an owl? Thank you for following my blog.