Friday, 9 January 2009

Forge Valley

Well, you can't spend the entire holiday indoors knitting, can you?

So we took ourselves off to a regular haunt, to see what the birds were doing. Forge Valley is inland from Scarborough, on the south side of the North York Moors. The valley is probably glacial, and the River Derwent starts here somewhere. It's closely wooded, steep-sided, and has several stopping places, one of which is specifically for birdwatchers - there are lots of bird tables and hanging feeders, and after Xmas these are piled high with food for the local birds - and they are not shy about coming to take advantage of it. If you sit in the car, reasonably quietly, they ignore you; on occasion we have put food on the bonnet and had the birds queuing up on the aerial to feed! There is great variety, blackbirds, pheasants, woodpigeons, and loads of 'small stuff'... like these...

Treecreepers are one of the less common visitors, but this one seemed quite comfortable.

Long-tailed tits travel in flocks and don't often come to bird tables, but there was a small flock of about six or seven hanging about. In winter, they gather together at night in huddled groups to share warmth.

Great spotted woodpecker - if you're lucky, they'll even come down to the bird feeders... but not today. This was as close as this one got.

Of course, even with a lot of feeders, there is sometimes a queue.

And everybody has to wait their turn.

But there's enough for everyone. Blue tits aren't shy about a bit of push and shove.

At this time of year, the light fades too soon, especially at the bottom of the valley, so we headed home after about an hour, partly frozen but happy.


Mackie said...

the long-tailed tits look just like extra cute water colour drawings … in particular the one who is pulling the head into the shoulders for warmth :-D

lovely pics, mad - thank you!!

the word is metti :-P

Anonymous said...

They are so lovely and seem so very fragile. I would love to know what they are thinking.


Tats said...

Great pictures! I love the idea of putting bird-food on the car bonnet and getting a queue of birds. Rowan has just started twitching slightly (I'm imagining you acting that out as I write it!), so we'll have to try it. He was delighted to see a flock of long tailed tits the other day - though he thought I was making up the name...

It's weird seeing a tree creeper not doing what it says on the tin - it looks the wrong shape somehow.

The word is "reporpor" - sounds appropriate for the credit crunch!

Girl from Mars said...

Oooh, lovely little feather balls :) I love the idea of a bird queue :)