This guest picture is to illustrate the news today that much of the south of England has had double the usual amount of rain in January. It has been the wettest since the records began. It was taken in Oxford by my brother earlier this month.
We had no rain here today and in spite of a gloomy forecast, we had no ice on the roads. This was lucky as I had to drive up to the Moorland feeders after breakfast to fill them up.
The birds must have seen the forecast for cold weather to come because no sooner had I retired behind the screen than they fell on the food with a vengeance.
The light wasn’t good enough to linger for long but I enjoyed watching great, blue and coal tits which are mostly absent from our own garden at present.
A great tit and a blue tit share the peanuts.
And I was pleased to see a tree sparrow.
I also had to hurry home because, I had arranged a belated pedal with Dropscone. I was able to photograph one angry bird before I went out cycling.
The roads stayed ice free so at 11 o’clock Dropscone and cycled to Waterbeck and back for our delayed morning run. It was chilly (3°C) but not very windy and Dropscone had his speedy bike so we went a bit faster than recent outings. This 20 mile excursion look my mileage for January up to 398, the furthest that I have ever managed in January and only 2 miles short of my target for the month.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was paying a social call on an neighbour so I went off for a walk on my own. It was still cold and grey so I cheated by taking the car just past the Kilngreen to give me a good start. I walked up past the Estates office and along the top of the wood.
In days gone by, I would have taken this route and seen nothing of interest but the blogosphere has widened my eyes considerably and there things to be seen on every side.
I can even name some of them: A lichen on a wall: Peltigera horizontalis
But not all. This was growing on the same wall. I don’t even know what it is.
Having seen a birch polypore with Sandy yesterday, I took a diversion into a birch wood today to see if I could see another. A likely looking tree soon caught me eye…
… but the best specimen was on the fallen branch to the right of the tree trunk.
Piptoporus betulinus to give it its Sunday name.
Walking back to the path, I passed another thing which I was quite unable to guess at.
Is it a lichen, a fungus, a slime mould or something else too ghastly to contemplate?
It is amazing what you can see when you have some idea of where to look.
I think this is a fungus but I can’t find it in my researches.
Another which has me baffled
These last three were all on fallen branches.
There were other things to look at too.
Not a sunken house but a store of some sort.
A profusion of very early snowdrops.
The snowdrops are up but seem to be waiting for some warmer weather to open their flowers out.
As I walked back to the car, I felt as though I was being watched.
I got back to the car and drove a few yards onto the Kilngreen. I wanted to tell Mr Grumpy that he had won a prize in the camera club competition. He was overjoyed.
A nearby black headed gull took things more calmly.
Altogether this had been another very enjoyable outing, making two in one day which is the maximum allowed by the authorities in case we should get too cheerful.
In the evening, I went with Jean and Sandy to the Archive Centre where Jean and I put a good number of entries into the database while Sandy dealt with some photographs which we have been sent by a lady who came across our website. It is very satisfactory to get a useful reaction to our work of this nature.
The visit to the Kilngreen enabled me to have a non chaffinch flying bird of the day today.
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