It was deja-vu all over again up on t' Moor on Saturday and no mistake.
Once again I believed [vaguely] the Met Office. Once again they were utterly wrong.
But that's an aside and not the point.
So, I went for the toddle that I'd put off the week before due to plague. This was the classic loop from Holne, over to and indeed over over the Mardle, up to Pupers - where I'd hoped to have a look for soaring things* - then over to Headland Warren, up to the Heap of Sinners, up more to Ryder's, then across Holne Moor to Venford, before finishing the loop. It's 18km or so.
It was overcast and gunky, not so much low cloud as very thick haze.. Hmm. Oh well, I was mostly there for a good yomp and that I had. The ground was firm but not frozen hard - at least not everywhere - though standing water had ice.
Looking up, it wasn't tooo hazy. You could see where you were going and so on. But bigger distances were problematic. What can you do? At least it made for a few pretty pictures;
Despite said ice, it was cold not bitter, the ice lingering more from bloody-mindedness than anything approaching sub-zero temperatures [it was 5° according to my li'l car, and that's not in sunshine]. The going up on the bogs around Ryder's was amusing; with the ice creaking and cracking, not thick enough to just go swanning over anything [which is such fun you don't mind the odd skid] but still letting you move with reasonable confidence over the mossy bits. Putting feet over 'frozen' water would have been a bad idea, I put a careful foot on one nice-looking bit with the hope of a skate, but after half of one foot's weight there was a sharp 'Crack'...
Now as to history. Once upon a Samhain, I was up that way on t' Moor and I met some interesting things. To whit; The Hunt, a Jack Snipe, and a holysheeeitethatwasclose!!! Merlin.
The Hunt was out in numbers - 30 followers off for what these days is a hack in very fancy duds - and I can only blame them for the Jack Snipe I met up on Pupers, where no Snipe of any flavour should be skulking! It did the usual up from under the feet routine then back down before you can even reach for a camera [not that a nice towering normal Snipe has ever come out as more than a blob, mind], showing me that lovely pointy dark tail and as usual giving me a good shock..
Trading places with the Jack, the Merlin was more distant this time but again a female.
Other birds were more to be expected, though again I noted a paucity of Yellowhammers. This is usually a really good place for them, but this time not one! Golden Plover flocks were met twice, with the only count being 43 on the flank of Pupers, and a scattering of Goosander were on both reservoirs [look down].
I took a slightly different route down from Ryder's to Venford, and was glad I did as I passed a nice hut circle. So here you go;
Those near-uprights are a very neat doorway.
The res was.. well, look;
I stopped to finish my coffee off and see if the Goosanders [up near the dam when I arrived] would come closer and to my delight they did. The light was going by now, but that's never stopped me;
Time pressing on, I went out the back way to cut back up to the Holne tracks, which was realllly jammy as I - having stopped to go "Huh?" at a Blue Tit mimicking Chiffchaff song** - was in the right spot looking the right way to see the Woodcock that had been flushed by one of the many loose dogs about, go flying past at head height... Wooooooo :D
Be Seeing You..
[[*I'd gone so far as to take the li'l scope and dinky tripod in my foolish optimism...]]
[[**Really. Imagine chiff-chaff-chaff-chiff-chaff etc. in a Blue Tit's 'teacher' tone.......]]