It's unrealistic to expect good weather in January and February. In fact, it's unrealistic to expect any kind of weather at any time of year in this country - increasingly so, it seems. The last few weeks have brought a very mixed bag, the worst of which was high winds for several days, followed by heavy rain. However, I think it's fair to say that I've been really lucky when it's mattered - for example, the superb weather I had in Scarborough. We went for a walk around Agden Reservoir with a friend, and saw a good number of birds at the feeders, and much to her delight, a good sighting of the bank voles. We had an excellent lunch at The Plough in Low Bradfield. Top meat and potato pie for me.
The following day I decided to join the Bugpeople of Sorby. Not sure wether that will be a regular thing, but my interest in dragonflies will certainly be re-kindled once they start to emerge.
As the forecast was cold but clear for Monday, I decided an extended trip down the valley (Rivelin, that is) was in order. I discovered a bus which I didn't know about which goes via the bottom of my road to the top end of the valley. Ideal to catch this and walk the 3 or so miles home at a leisurely pace. The highlights were getting some good shots of a nuthatch at the start of the walk, my first sightings of great spotted woodpecker down there, and some good glimpses of a dipper. Oh, and not forgetting a good sighting of Roger (aka @ukphenology on twitter and - Mr Nature Bloggers )
I've resumed doing some walk checks for Get Walking Keep Walking so last week I did 6 of these over 2 days. It involved walking through several parks in the NE of Sheffield and some birding opportunities at the same time. On the first day, I saw a sparrowhawk and a very obliging pied wagtail. On the second, I saw lots of redwing feeding in the smallest area whilst people passed on their daily business, unaware of the winter visitors in their midst.
Saturday was foul - heavy rain, but as I'd seem a number of reports of waxwings in the area, I decided to go searching. Turned out to be a wet, but very successful outing, I also got some really good views of a jay in yet another park.
A short outing in the valley on a blustery Sunday produced my first grey wagtail sighting of the year, but sadly no photo. Tuesday was another glorious day and I enjoyed it at Old Moor. Not a lot of waders or waterfowl, but plenty of reed buntings, bramblings and various finches.