Sunday, 30 January 2011

Dead Fell Walking

Still a bit cold with it being just above zero as I left for a walk this morning. All the standing water was frozen and there wasn't even that much bird song. It didn't take me long to work out it was going to be a poor morning. In South Burn Woods, I was standing quietly listening for whatever when a large branch crashed down off a large Crack Willow after it snapped off. It was then I noticed how many trees had come down or had pieces broken off since the big freeze. The weight of the snow and freezing temperatures have certainly taken their toll. It will be interesting to seen how many are dead when spring arrives.

One of a number of snow damaged trees in South Burn Woods
Apart from a few Siskin there was very little about, so I headed off. I spotted a few winter-fruiting fungi that were on show, Variable-coloured Bracket Fungi, Birch Polypore and Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)

Velvet-shanks in Fell-edge Wood

and masses of  lichens forming a 'mini-forest', most being Oakmoss - Evernia prunastri.

 Part of the Lichen Forest in South Burn Wood, with a close up of Oakmoss below

On the fell, things were just as quiet, all the pools were frozen and birds were few and far between. In fact it was dead. At one point walking over the Daisy Hill reclaimed area, the only birds I saw were three Carrion Crows in a mile and a half stretch. On the rest apart from a few Redwing and a fly over Great Spotted Woodpecker, there was nothing else of note seen at all. I walked on, past the patch of planted Juniper which are coming on very well and unaffected by the weather, then headed back along Waldridge Road. Carrying on the dead day, a small Red Fox was lying dead by the side of the road, having been hit by a passing car a day or two ago by the looks of it. On the homeward stretch earlier than I thought, but the large patch of Gorse near the village had most of the bushes with a few flowers on reminding me it will not be too long before spring.

One for Sorrow
 This Magpie was one of the few birds seen today


  1. fantastic blog site, often down the fell myself taking photographs of wildlife

  2. Cheers Dave,
    I'm sure I'll be bumping into you soon then.