Soporific calm

When I visited Ranmore Common at the start of the month there was four inches of snow laying on the ground and barely a bird stirred in the woodland. Today could not have contrasted more. This abnormal spell of weather continues, bestowing upon the morning unbroken sunshine and dream-like warmth. A soporific calm coated the woodland, barely a twig, bud or catkin quivered and all around, joining in with the celebration of tranquility, was birdsong. In amongst the songs of the expected tits and Nuthatches were some welcome additions - Crossbills, Firecrests and Siskins. The western valley slope at Bagden Wood was most productive, with one very noisy Crossbill singing almost non-stop for a good 10 minutes, whilst the Holly undergrowth back towards the top road was best for Firecrest.

An early afternoon patrol at the bottom of Denbigh's Hillside did not produce as many butterflies as I had hoped, but in a normal February a count of 9 Brimstone, 2 Peacock and a Red Admiral (above, on Viburnum tinus) would be remarkable.


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