One of the problems with failing to blog for such a long time,apart from forgetting some details, might well be choosing a single image to represent the whole period so I've included a few this time. However, my flickr posts act as a good reminder, as I am better about keepng those up to date. I'm going to start with the present and work backwards. After an unpromising forecast, the weather this weekend is proving very pleasant; plenty of blue skies. I decided to stay local and have a stroll along Rivelin Valley. The recent rain meant the river was quite swollen and everything was looking very nice in the winter sunshine. There was a surprising number of fungi, especially jellies and brackets, a number of inkcaps and oyster mushrooms. On the bird front, I managed a couple of reasonable shots of a grey wagtail, and a sweet one of a robin. The Heron of Doom flew overhead.
Last weekend, the weather was so foul, I didn't get out, so it was a bit of a lost weekend, but the one before saw me walking from home up to Stacey Bank on Loxley Valley. The Enviromnment Agency work at Malin Bridge makes it look very bare, but now you can actually see "Watersmeet" and I'm sure that in time, it will benefit from the clearance and new vegetation will soften the edges. There were quite a few Canada geese near Damflask and some nice bracket fungi around.
The previous weekend, I went to Old Moor. It was a cold, dull day, but there were quite a few birds around - including a few new for me, including goosander and green sandpiper. I managed a few reasonable pictures before the heavens opened; I got a good soaking on the way home, so a good excuse for mulled wine!
The week before that I set off to walk along Loxley Valley, but by the time I had got to Malin Bridge, I was already very wet. I was determined not to return, and putting my faith in the weather forecast, I decided to have a bit of a mystery tour, so bought a South Yorkshire Day Tripper on the tram and decided to keep going until the weather improved, catching the first local train available at the station. I ended up at Elsecar and as the sun came out, had a pleasant stroll around the res. As always, there were several Great Crested Grebes - as advertised on the information board. I was also treated to a sighting of a stoat (I say this with conviction, as I saw it's black tail tip), a blewitt, and some rather fine Phellinus igniarius (picture chosen!) on willow.
Can you see the face with its fine hat?
The week before was half term; we had a rather splendid few days in Sherwood Forest. I have been promising myself a trip to Creswell Crags for a number of years now, so it was incorporated in this trip on the outward trip. Well worth a visit! It is amazing how this remarkable and atmospheric limestone gorge is only a stone's throw from the unspectacular scenery of this area on the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The new visitors' centre is very good, and the cafe is to be recommended. We finished that first day with a stroll round the forest, and managed to get lost as it was going dark. The following day, we walked around Clumber park, and on Saturday, we did an extended superb walk through the Sherwood forest and its surrounding area. This photo is of one of the finest areas of the forest near the centre tree.