Even ...... in the mostly miserable month of January, on a cloudless day there is much to celebrate. Clear crystal skies and radiant moonscapes at night. Rich blue skies and sharp low light during the days and vibrant, transluscent sunsets as the early evenings come.
The days are staying light longer and the sun on windless days holds some enjoyable warmth. A small 'skiff' of snow, in a few select areas of the Wirral soon dissipated over a cup of coffee.
Snowdrops, symbols of 'hope and purity' have been showing since Christmas which seems a life time ago. Varieties come and go over an 8 - 9 week period so cannot be missed. Before they finish the Bluebells will start to appear, so spring is well within reach.
Jackdaws and Bluetits are well ahead with building nests and finding holes. Nearly 30 plus nests are being built in the high canopies of H. wood by a mix of jackdaws, rooks and crows who do not mind mixing and sharing at this time of the year. Probably greater safety in the number of extra eyes helps. The 24 hr hard freeze does not seem to put them off their preparations.
It was very sad to see one of the very old large beech trees being cut down infront of the coffee shop yesterday. It appeared to start to fail during the prolonged drought of last summer which gave stress to many trees. The remaining beeches roughly the same age must feel the loss of their old companion. Interestingly it was cut down on a Sunday without any notice being given. As these trees are under a protection order this seems rather odd.
On a recent visit to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands I heard my first Water Rail (once heard never forgotten). Reminiscent of something being torn limb from limb, the screams are terrifying. The 24 hr hard freeze does not seem to put them off their preparations.
For Christmas I acquired a new textbook on ornithology, 'The Sensory Ecology of Birds', by Graham R. Martin. Bird vision is discussed in great detail and is mind boggling to consider the variation in development of avian eyesight compared to our own mammalian eyes. Seemingly gulls have the best vision in the UV range.
As usual when any astronomical event happens cloudy skies on the Wirral nearly always occur blocking the event. So unfortunely missed the 'Wolf Moon' .