Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Day

After yesterday's beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine and a full moon at both ends, this morning was no where near as nice. It seemed to remain dark for much later into the morning today and in the end I set off for the reserve in complete darkness at 7.15. Driving along the Harty Road and past the Raptor Viewing Mound in the dark, the outside temperature was showing as 9 degrees and I thought back to the last snow that we had, the winter of 2011/12. Below you can see the entrance to the RVM in that winter......

 ....and here the sea wall on the reserve, looking towards Shellness.

I wonder if we are to see weather like that again in the future.

As it is Christmas Day, I decided to forego the usual painful trial of getting round the reserve in the ever increasing muddy areas churned up by the cattle, I decided to have a wander along the farm track between the Harty Road and Muswell Mannor. As well as being relatively dry, this "concrete road" as we know it, rises to a high point that gives a splendid view down across the reserve, although at first when I arrived this wasn't possible. So the dogs and I set off along the road, quietly so as not to set off the geese in Brewers Farm and slowly.slowly, the darkness began to lighten. As it did so, the geese on the reserve began to call, first the familiar farmyard goose calls of the Greylag Geese and then gradually the lovely higher pitched "wink-wink" calls of the White-fronted Geese. One or two Mallard also joined in and gradually this wildfowl dawn chorus began to take shape. Alongside me, in a copse on the top of the road, a Robin also began to sing and back at Brewers farm the inevitable cockerels also began to serenade the coming of the light.
We carried on and by now the darkness was lifting to become a grey gloom, which did at least improve the viewing distance, if not the spirits. It was time for the geese to think about food and gradually small parties of 10-20 began to lift up off the reserve roost and fly out to the farmland and it's winter corn growing in the fields, thankfully they were safe from any guns for this day at least. Despite the gloominess of the morning's weather it was a pleasant walk, the dogs were wandering along the hedgerow looking for mice or voles and it felt as they we had the whole world to ourselves, a rare thing these days.

We eventually began to re-trace our steps and in the distance a light came on in Brewers Farm, somebody was obviously getting up, Jackdaws in the spinney alongside the farm were cawing like mad and the wind began to freshen, time to re-join civilisation I suppose. Tomorrow it is Boxing Day, the day that those involved in countryside pursuits traditionally go out and kill things and so I will be on the reserve seawall just as it gets light. By doing that I can see how many wildfowlers are about and have a chat with them later and hopefully the fox hunt won't be on the farmland alongside, chasing foxes as they normally do.


  1. A peaceful start to your Christmas Day, Derek. The snow photos are lovely, and as you know, that is how I like my snow - in photos! Merry Christmas.

  2. Thanks John, appreciate that, the same in return.

    Wilma, yes it's been a nice quiet day and to be honest, a bit of snowy cold weather would be useful this year, it's been so mild and all wildlife is out of kilter and we already have Spring flowers flowering.