Tuesday 2 February 2021

Not yet Spring!

 I've not been writing much on the main part of the blog just recently as I have been concentrating on the list of Markets in Yorkshire and Lancashire which you can find here. However, despite the cold, snow, frost and rain, we've managed to get to the allotment a few times to dig over and tidy, although the ground has been either too frozen or too mushy to get much done on many occasions. 

Likewise, getting out for exercise in this latest lockdown has often been difficult due to the weather and the River Wharfe and Ouse and various feeder streams have been flooding into field and over roads. The edge of a bridge on the road near Bolton Percy (from Tadcaster) looks like it had collapsed into the water when I cycled down there last Friday. 

Further down the same stream, in Bolton Percy itself, you can see above how far the water has been , with the houses to the left of the photo only just above the water line. The road would normally take you round the back of the village or to some farms and cottages. After I took this photo I was watching Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus) in the trees and then had the surprise of a female Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) on a nearby bird feeder, some of the latter now overwinter in England although most do still migrate to Africa. 

Coming back, I paused at a gate to examine the lichens on it. This is an area of nature I want to learn more about and although the cost of the field guides is quite high, there are some internet resources too. 

Whilst I wouldn't be that confident in my identification, the light coloured leafy one in the foreground may be Physcia tenella and the yellow one behind it may be Xanthoria polycarpa. These are common lichens throughout England. I am not sure what the leafy moss/liverwort is nor the other lichens as yet. 

Behind this gate is the tree I like returning to, which I mentioned in this blog last year near the start of the first lockdown. Bare just now, like other deciduous trees, it is domant awaiting the arrival of longer days and warmer weather. 

A lot of fields are flooded around us right now, and with the cold weather these often turn to ice. However, on the way back from Bolton Percy these Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) had found a patch of unfrozen water on a field and were enjoying the experience! The drakes seem to have very glossy plumage at the moment, no doubt in preparation for the breeding season to come. 

Finally, a hint of Spring (though no one has told the weather that, as there's snow on the ground today!)

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