January 2010

I am finally writing these notes in January, but as most of the highlights we noticed out an about on the Roseland came late in the month I hope you will bear with me! The common seals have returned to St Anthony’s Head. I guess they first appeared in late October, but by mid December there were at least 8 adults with two immature pups getting in and out of the middle tide.

Frost always brings the birds flocking back to our feeders, maybe someone,somewhere has correlated bird types with temperature but over Christmas a male bullfinch joined our resident blue tits, great tits, coal tits, dunnock, wrens, long tailed tits, chaffinch, goldfinch and blackbirds. We still have a pair of blackcaps that visit the mixed seed feeders and what I think is a straggling garden warbler which should be right down in the south of France or even as far as Spain by now. Maybe it decided the exchange rates meant it couldn’t afford to winter abroad this year! A few weeks ago we were coming back from Bristol and noticed a flock of lapwing swooping over the Somerset levels. I commented that I hadn’t seen lapwings on the Roseland and hey presto! A beautiful flock of maybe 75 lapwings was swooping and wheeling over the field across the road from the house. These are such graceful birds to watch, even when standing out in a field. Another favourite of mine that is currently spending most of its days either skulking on the top of telegraph poles re soaring effortlessly over the creek slopes is the buzzard – they are everywhere at the moment and must surely have overtaken the kestrel as our most populous raptor, at least locally. I always think buzzards look like they are having a great time, even if they are sitting hunched up against a westerly gale, they look like they are ready to party hard!

We saw our first wild snowdrop between Christmas and New Year, I think it is probably regretting being too previous what with the frosts we have had since. At this time of the year the weather has a fine line to walk between fine clear skies and plummeting night-time temperatures and cloudy overcast skies full of rain. Sunny and cold or mild and wet! I know which one I prefer – you can always rug up against the cold but try keeping the rain out!

Ian Bennett

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