Thursday, 28 December 2017
A Wintry Walk and a new Garden "tick"
Yesterday it was time for a stroll to walk away some of the Christmas excesses. The only problem was I was keen to return to Berkswell church where Hawfinches were still being seen - 3 on Boxing Day still feeding on yew berries. So I got out the OS Map and worked out a two mile circular route starting at the churchyard (!!) with half the walk on public footpaths and half along lanes.
We had had some snow the night before and it was very icy in the countryside with a sprinkling of snow remaining.
We parked by the Green and
and walked the short distance to the church.
These are the yew trees where the Hawfinches are often seen feeding but surprise surprise they didn't make an appearance when we were there (although I have to say it was that cold the family were not prepared to linger long). I suspect that Hawfinch will long remain as my "bogey" bird or one of my "bogey" birds - add Bearded Tit and Brambling to the list.
Leading off the rear of the churchyard is the "Heart of England" Way. In the distance you can see Berkswell Hall which has been converted into luxurious apartments (goodness knows how much they cost!).
Parts of the footpath were very very muddy but this boardwalk across the field was just very icy and slippery.
After passing a lake and through some trees you continue on the footpath that bears to the left along an area called "The Roughs".
Not too many pictures on this stage of the walk as we were walking directly into the sun but here are a few taken by D.
Finally, we reached a lane to start the second half of the walk. Have to admit it was much easier walking on the road rather than squelching through mud or slithering on ice!
Finally, back to Berkswell.
This is the delightfully named Beehive Cottage :)
Although it was cold it was a lovely walk in the late afternoon sunshine only marred by gunshots in the distance and a group of silly little men carrying red flags and shotguns who appeared to be trying to flush an animal or birds nearby and on the perimeter of the churchyard. I suspect it was a pheasant shoot and it was a relief to see at least one fly past us having escaped the bullets.
It is completely beyond me why anyone can get pleasure from shooting an animal or bird. And as for the illegal persecution of birds of prey on grouse moors well I had better not start on that subject otherwise I shall go into complete rant mode.
We then stopped off at The Bear - an opportunity too for Timothy to make an appearance! - for a quick drink and to try and warm up.
New Garden Bird "Tick"
I had the shock of my life on Christmas Eve when I walked into the kitchen to see a pair of Ring-necked Parakeets on the bird feeders! I knew some had been spotted 4 or 5 miles away but I certainly never expected to see them in the garden! Not only is this is a new garden "tick" but also a "lifer" as I have never seen these birds before in the wild. It was a rather lovely early Christmas present and they have been back most days since.
A few record shots taken by me and D - must admit I was that excited I could hardly hold the camera steady!
The Berkswell walk I will certainly do again next year - perhaps when the shooting season is over.
*D photos taken by D with the Canon SX 50 bridge camera
The rest were taken by me still experimenting with the Panasonic 330.