I found out on Sunday evening that my place of work was closed on Monday due to the weather, so I had a bonus day off. Now, I hate snow with a passion, but today, I could live with it.
I donned the thermal stuff and boots, popped the binnies in my rucksack along with a flask of coffee, grabbed my dog Taz and headed for the bus stop. The roads still didn't look great, so again I left the car at home. Off the bus at Bolehall, a 5 min walk and we were on the Moors. Pete was waiting there for us and we set off.
The snow was undisturbed and deep in places, it did however look great. It's just a shame that every day it covers the ground is literally a life and death struggle for our wildlife.
As expected, the birding was very quiet. We did however glimpse a large female Sparrowhawk which was the highlight of the day. We filled the feeders again and the Blue and Great Tits were on them in seconds. At least some of the bird life will get an easy meal. Pete and I watched for a while and enjoyed a nice hot black coffee from the flask. Taz, she just pointed at things she found interesting?
We set off again looking for anything avian to interest us.
As unexpected as it seems, after wandering along the edge of the river Anker, we managed to get a new year tick for the Moors in the shape of a male Goosander on the river. We were both pleased. The effort had been worthwhile after all. Then as we approached the next field, we saw a flock of smallish birds drop into a small area where the snow covering was sparse. We crept along the hedgerow to get closer and had some good views of another Moors year tick. A flock of Skylarks working hard to find some food on the frozen ground. Also, mixed in with them were a few Meadow Pipit. I looked up Winter Skylarks online and found this. Looks like we had a text book sighting.
When to see
Skylarks can be seen all year round. In winter they form flocks - often with other species such as meadow pipits.
That concluded our Moors walk for the day. We had been out for about three hours. Had a great morning and got a couple of new year ticks for our Moors list.
I am hoping now for a fast thaw. Although the snow is thawing as I write this, it is also snowing again. Can't wait to see the back of it.