I recently wrote about how quiet things had been on the wildlife front locally. In January this has really begun to change, and a walk along the river in mid-January yielded all manner of species.
The river itself is pretty tranquil, certainly when compared to the horrific floods of last winter. But the fields and wood are full of life. At the South end of the wood there is a cacophony of sounds as the Goldfinch flock are joined by an indeterminate number of Siskins too. I say indeterminate as while they are all-too-easy to hear, they are deep into the branches and almost impossible to spot. It sounds like a thousand, it’s probably no more than a dozen. One male did finally present himself.
Elsewhere it’s the winter migrants that are easily seen, and less easily photographed.
Goldcrests have that rare combination of being entirely open and confiding, while at the same time moving about so quickly that they never seem to stay still long enough to focus. Hence lots of shots of lichen-encrusted branches.
Eventually I did catch this particular bird, but hardly in the most glorious of poses.
Incoming thrushes are always a factor, and a small group of Redwing, maybe half-a-dozen, were in the North end of the wood, moving through the branches.
There was also a Song Thrush, a pretty and delicate bird.
In the fields of local farms a small group of Fieldfare were also present, maybe 10 of them. Sadly they stayed fairly remote, and the slightest movement on the passing track spooked them into the trees.
Back in the wood it wasn’t just the Goldcrests that were hard to pin down. There are birds that have the Hitchcockian profile allowing them to be identified even in silhouette. For example, what’s this:
Hopefully you said ‘a Treecreeper’. Nothing else you will see in the UK has that downcurved bill and hangs upside down in a tree. They whizz about, but do pause to probe for food. You can see how carefully they use their bill to get under the bark, looking for insects.
As usual in this area, the Rooks and Jackdaws are very active around the fields too. With such a beautiful blue winter sky there was always the chance one or other would strike a pose, and sure enough it was one of the Jackdaws. I’ll confess on some photos I have to edit the image to get sufficient brightness, colour, or other visual issues fixed. But sometimes nothing needs changing, the combination of subject, camera, and environment comes together for you. Such was the case here.