Winter Walk

It’s December 1st and for me we are now into Wintertime.

Here it is a bright, sunny, frosty morning, the cheeks are glowing now I am back in the warmth of home.

The colours glowed on Onny Meadows, I could find all the colours I love, browns, pinks, purples, greens, golds and greys.

As children we draw tree trunks as brown but  I am always struck by how little brown is visible. Greys predominate for me, with tones of Brown, green and purples.

The mole hills of Brown rich earth pepper the meadows and Dillie Dot sticks her nose in then digs frantically to try and catch the elusive mole, Long gone.

As we near the  Onny river there is a low misty haze rising from the water, the ducks bright greens look muted in the mist.

I notice catkins are beginning to form on Alder and hazel. The Alder catkins are a purply, brown, while the hazel catkins are presently grey with a tinge of pale green.

From a distance white berries pop brilliantly against grey stems of snow berry. Dulux brilliant white doesn’t do this justice.

The lichens on the rocks and tree trunks are a zingy greygreen.

There are still trees with leaves of green but they are few now and look faded but somehow still have that dark summer green.

The beech trees cling onto their leaves which are rich golden russet. The keys hang still from the ash trees looking golden against the grey of the trunks.

I notice more Alder catkins but this time a reddy purple, glowing in the sun light.

As we finish our walk we walk past spindles with crimson red berries, the next one has bright pink berries. The pinks and red vary from shrub to shrub.

 

Kingfishers on the Onny

I walk every day with the dogs along the Onny River. I have over the years regularly seen Kingfishers when we have been out walking. This year I have not seen them until this recently(first week of September).

I had stopped on the bridge over the River Onny down Corvedale Road and saw a flash of blue. There it was on a branch over the running water before of it flitted up the River again .

A photograph of a Kingfisher

Kingfisher

I have been lucky enough to watch a kingfisher diving several times for fish from a branch over the River Onny just past Kingfisher Corner on the Onny Meadows.

Kingfishers have a bright blue back with a copper orange breast, it is usually a flash of blue that catches the eye.

They have stout bodies, large heads, short stubby tails and long dagger like bills. The males have a black bill and the females have a orangy/red bottom Bill. Their wingspan is 25cm and they are 16cm long.

Kingfisher have no song but make a high pitched peeping sound when flying low over water.

Kingfisher nest in burrows on the river bank, which they both excavate right near the food supply. They can have between 3 and 10 white glossy eggs which they both incubate, over 19 to 21 days.

The chicks take 24 to 25 days to fledge, eating between 12 and 18 fish each per day. In years when food is scarce they can take up to 37 days to fledge.

Kingfishers couples divide their Summer territory between them in Winter. They have a territory of about a kilometre each, this can be as much as 5kilometres. They need to eat 60% of their body weight each day.

Kingfishers are very territorial and will display on branches. If they have to resort to fighting they hold their opponents beak and try to hold it under water.

Around the World there as ninety species of Kingfisher but we in Britain have one of the most beautiful.

The image used in this blog post is from Wikimedia and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Bird life from Folly View

I thought you might like to know how the local bird life is getting on in Craven Arms.

We have lots of busy sparrows. The sparrows who reside in the swift box are still there and are presently feeding youngsters. The swift box has become two story as there is a nest top of it as well as inside.

We have a sparrow who is nesting in a robin box by our front Windows, or should that be between. Mr Sparrow bangs against the window constantly and occasionally brings back a feather or leaf for Mrs Sparrow!  We think they are now on their second brood. We had less window banging over the last two weeks but it has started again recently. The window is a mess, there is no point cleaning it until they have finished nesting.

When I was walking the dogs recently two sparrows were having a dust up. There were no other birds around, as we got nearer they flew into a  nearby shrub, still arguing, at which point ten other sparrows arrived and joined in. Our sparrows usually argue in the large ever green at the front of the house.

I have sat outside watching the aeriel display put on by swallows, housemartins and swifts. One of our friends found a swift on the ground and helped it by putting it up high.

I have been watching housemartins collecting mud on the Onny River along with the swallows  I have not seen where they are nesting but I haven’t been looking.

I saw the egret on Halford Meadows a couple of weeks ago. I have not seen it with a mate but it has been around for a couple of years. The grey wagtails and dippers are busy on the Onny, I have not seen the Kingfisher recently but that does not mean they are not there.

I heard a skylark on Onny Meadows earlier this week. I have not seen one down there for a long time. I don’t think it was nesting but it was lovely to hear it.

There will be more on Bird life in Craven Arms in the coming weeks.