A January miscellany
By the 11th January, hazel catkins (image 1) were already showing brilliantly in the low sunshine, shedding their pollen into the breeze. This was taken with flash to show their wonderful golden colour.
12th January, Mary and I were walking across the footpath west across the old village hall field and, looking back towards the low sun, there was a glistening glitter trail across the grass. Looking closely, the grasses were coated in the gossamer threads of trillions of baby spiders as they attempted to spread in the breeze (image 2). Spiderlings climb a stem, put out several fine silken threads and the wind lifts them up, a process known as ‘ballooning’. I had not realised that spiderlings were so active so early in the year.
Walking around the village green on the 15th, I approached the old oak tree when a buzzard landed in the tree right in front of me and was shortly joined by a second buzzard. I had my camera ready but by the time I had lifted it up, a crow had dive-bombed the buzzards and they were off. I watched as the buzzards circled trying to gain height and being attacked by the two crows (image 3). I assume that crows see the buzzard as an enemy and can be relentless in their attacks.
Every day we can see one or two buzzards perched on telegraph poles like this one at New Buildings Farm on the 15th (image 4). They perch steady on the poles, scanning the fields, and will suddenly dive down when they spot a vole in the grass. More often than not they will fly back to another pole empty beaked.
On the 27th Mary and I took a walk from the village green across the old drove road and on and when the low sun was creating these magnificent tree shadows (image 6).
We have had some brilliant sunsets to watch from the village this month and a dash across the village green provides a good vantage point. This spectacular sunset occurred on the last evening of January (31st) and what a fitting way to end the month.