Report from Linda Biddle

For our first outing of the new year RNHS members (11) met at the car park at Clipsham Yew Tree avenue at 10.00am. Luckily the weather, though still cool and grey, was dry and less damp and misty than it had been all week.

In spite of being in the depth of midwinter season, we were serenaded as we arrived by Great Tits belling, and Bullfinch tweeting among the trees by the car park. As we moved down the avenue there were too many molehills to count, and the moles had made lines of hills along the edge of the central track as they came to the edge of the harder ground. 4 bullfinch were seen and many of the Hazel catkins were all ready flowering, the yellow tassels hanging straight down in the still air. Nuthatch called insistently, and a brief call of the Green woodpecker was heard. A Coal tit also made its reedy call as we walked, and approaching the edge of the parkland 5 Fallow Deer ran across in front of us, returning a few minutes later.  A Great spotted woodpecker flew into the woodland, then shortly flew away again, its presence given away by the Chip-chip call. The bullfinch continued their insistent peeping call as we walked around the woodland, and bluetits tsee tsee joined the sounds of the wood.

Several large pine trees had been blown over in the strong winds of December. A welcome sign of spring was new leaves appearing on honeysuckle vines, and we were delighted to find one fresh new honeysuckle flower budding bravely in a sheltered ride. Pollen was released by a hazel catkin, though it was still to early for female flowers to be found and as we returned to our cars the Bullfinch continued their serenade.

Our next outdoor meeting will be at Egleton Birdwatching centre on February 17th at 10.0am

Members and visitors will be welcome.