Sunday, 11 January 2009

Wind, birds and Christian vandalism...

Spectacular sunrise through our bedroom window this morning (although not as deep as these colours would suggest). Huge flocks of jackdaws chacked their way over our roof then southwards across to the fields around Holmesfield. They make a return journey at dusk - Avril says to their roosts in Eccleshall Woods.

Talking of Avril - yesterday her garden - very near the main road at Totley Rise - was full of redwings feeding on cotoneaster berries.

After breakfast, Maisie and I set off through the park. The chaffinches are very much in evidence at the bottom - including some beautiful buff pink breasts on the males. How come
I only see them there in Winter? Then, onto Gillfield Woods. Lots of squeaking from long tailed tits flitting about in the trees. And yesterday and today are the first times for ages that I have heard the bicycle pump noises of the great tits. Do they stop doing this for much of the year?

Although ancient, Gillfield Woods were replanted sometime mid last century with American Red Oak replacing the native oak. The difference in the leaves is very noticable.

American red oak (left); native oak (right)
According to Mel Jones, an expert on local woodland, this will have had quite an effect on the flora and fauna of these woods. However, they are still full of bluebells and wood anemones in the Spring.
Back via Totley Hall Lane and the church to see whether the rumour was true - that the evalgelical vicar had chopped down several mature trees. It was. Not very Christian eh? Perhaps he'd like to be more evangelical about trees. Inside I could hear them all twanging their guitars and clapping along.


  1. Dear Sally, Lovely to read your ramblings and detailed observations of nature. Will be listening out for the bicycle pumps of great tits now that you've pointed them out :-)

  2. Ramble on Sally.... I love it! Your blog will be a regular read.
    The recent tree vandalism in the church grounds follows the weedkiller spraying on the wildflowers we planted and carefully watered on the land next to the garage. It was heartbreaking. We'd got the vicar's permission and (we thought) support, to grow a wildflower garden there after the first lot of weedkiller was applied. We cleared the ground, sowed flower seed and planted foxgloves... they all got spayed in his second attack. I wrote to the PCC to object and get their support, but it seems their obligation to
    wildlife doesn't extend to taking positive action. I was too upset to fight on.

  3. I love your blog although just a bit peeved that it's so much better written and designed than mine. And very good to know that another blog is monitoring sundry vandalistic tendencies in planning and managing the local green spaces. Have you ever seen the spectacular sight of the jackdaws flying west in the early mornings when they get to Stony Ridge on Hathersage Road? I keep hoping to take a photo that does it justice but the light is too poor.

  4. Well - that's not true Blacka Blogger - yours is beautiful and I was thinking the same thing! Glad I have found your blog. Wd love to come on the walk on Sunday....
    Will keep you posted re the Baslow Road lights scandal...