Seedheads and Sunshine

A few straggling seeds still holding on after Storm Arwen. They look like they have been hand-painted by woodland folk!

The seedheads still offer a refuge for insects, but there is little left in the way of food for birds.

Fading glory.

About to face the wrath of Winter.

January

We are in the depths of Winter.

Traditionally, January is the coldest month in the Northern hemisphere.

Sometimes it feels a little dark and gloomy, but you have to look for the light.

We have certainly had a wide range of weather. Days of lingering mist

Frosty mornings where the sun catches individual ice crystals, creating mini rainbows, as the light moves through the air and water.

Frosty mornings can give rise to bright sunrises …

And crisp, sunny days.

The promise of new life.

Then it vanishes again into bleakness and cold.

The unusual spectacle of ‘hoar frost,’ formed when water vapour in the air comes into contact with solid surfaces already below freezing, producing unique ice crystals.

It’s a miracle how these little birds survive.

Then a sprinkling of snow …

Disappears as quickly as it arrived.

Happy New Year

At this time of year, plants and flowers are a bit thin on the ground. So, I have abandoned my trusty macro lens and have been experimenting with my zoom lens.

From the trees and hedgerows, I have notice little rustlings and tweets. As the trees are bare, some wildlife has been a lot easier to spot. Here are a few birds I have spied recently. I hope you enjoy them.

The ever faithful Robin.
A grey wagtail.
A Sparrowhawk
A curious blackbird.
A Mistle thrush

Petrified

The petrified oaks of Mundon on the Dengie Peninsular are not actually fossilised, but are dead. They are thought to have died as a result of salt water breaching the water table.

The oaks exist in strange shapes, some almost look half human. Can you see an eye, nose and beard?

Some look like they are twisted and screaming. They have been linked to witches ….

Indeed, the puritanical Witchfinder-General, Matthew Hopkins resided in Essex. He sought out those practising ‘the dark arts.’ Nineteen were convicted and hung. Four died in prison.

Others think that the oaks may have once been part of an ancient woodland. These oaks began life around 1100 when Henry I was crowned King of England.

They are certainly intriguing.

Probably best viewed on a day shrouded in fog from the North Sea, to capture that eerie feeling!

Late Winter Colour

The sun was shining this weekend, so it was time to get out into the great outdoors and see what was growing.

Witch hazel.
Dogwood
Pink flowers.
Witch hazel.
Sunlight on a plant.
Snowdrops.

Egyptian geese

Egyptian geese were introduced to the UK in the late 17th Century as an ornamental bird to adorn the lakes of country estates. They originate from sub-tropical Africa and the Ancient Egyptians considered them sacred. However, in their native homeland, they are regarded as a nuisance because they eat crops.

Until recently in the UK, these birds were quite rare and were mainly confined to a small area of Norfolk. The birds tend to breed in January, traditionally too cold for chicks to survive, but as temperatures have increased over the last 20 years, so too has the population of these birds and they are now found in different parts of the UK.

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