New Earswick Nature Reserve 1 February

Taking advantage of a cold but clear day, I headed down the reserve hoping to again spot the elusive Kingfisher. However, the pond remains under ice, though it is receding and thinning.

IMG_0876What’s interesting is that the slushy surface of the ice is preserving the tracks of the various animals that have been patrolling it:

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????Unfortunately they are too rough to identify, but with crows, magpies, ducks and assorted mammals all a distinct possibility.

The kingfisher wasn’t the only bird being elusive. The Bullfinches could be heard making their plaintive and pensive peeps, but were not keen on being spotted at first. Sightings tended to look like this:

SONY DSCBut eventually a couple of the males consented to be photographed, although they kept an eye on me the whole time.

???????? ???????? ???????? ????????There were some Chaffinches about too, but they were never in good light. Both Blue Tits and Long-Tailed Tits were however.

SONY DSC ???????? SONY DSCYou may notice in the top picture that the long-tailed tit is at a covered feeding table. It’s actually the first time in 18 months I’ve seen a bird use the feeders here! The last time I was there, the feeder was so unused that the seed was actually sprouting. Of course, if the gluttonous pigeons, doves, crows and magpies could get on that’d soon be cleared up. But they have to content themselves with searching elsewhere.

????????Winter is already giving way to spring as the early bulbs show through. The daffodils and crocuses are all poking their way up, and the snowdrops are starting to bloom.

IMG_0881

So, again, no kingfisher. But on the way out I did manage to spot this handsome fellow prowling and probing the trees near the main road:

???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ????????Always a pleasure to see a Great Spotted Woodpecker. This is an adult male, as identified by the red patch on the back of the head.

Hopefully next time the kingfisher will return. It’s only since I started blogging these trips that it’s disappeared!

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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