Nature Notes - January 2018
As the closing date for items for the January magazine was the 3rd of the month, this has allowed me time to calculate the annual rainfall for Wood Farm in 2017. The total for the year was 36.16 inches which is an increase on last year which was 33.25 inches. The two wettest months were September with 5.77 inches and December with 4.10 inches and 46% of the rainfall came in the last four months of the year. It is no wonder that the gardens are so wet at present. The two driest months were April and May.
I am still unable to get out to see what is around so I have been watching the 'morning flight' for an hour or so after breakfast: birds leaving their overnight roost sites either from the River Mersey or from other areas around Frodsham or Helsby. coming to feed in the fields or overflying Wood Farm to pastures further afield. I should mention here that our kitchen window faces east hence the areas mentioned. Usually the first birds to show are the Starlings, they fly in long horizontal lines as they leave a roost. The birds travelling the furthest will leave first with other groups following every four to five minutes. Next it is a toss-up between the Rooks, Jackdaws and Crows or the main movement of the Gulls off the estuary. I have counted a flock of over two hundred Corvids in the front field early morning. The Gull counts along the two flight lines I can see varies each morning, a 1000+ is an average from 8am to 8.40am. The highest percentage of Gulls are the black-headed along with the Common Herring, Lesser Black-back and Greater Black-back.
The last of the big birds to arrive are the Magpies from their roost in the spinney behind Wood Farm. Three weeks ago I was treated to a great sight each morning for ten days as I watched flocks of Pink-footed Geese leaving the Mersey estuary and flying in a SE direction. The highest count was over 1200 in four separate skeins. Unfortunately I have been unable to find out if these birds were returning each evening to roost or, as I think, they were moving south to find new wintering grounds.
The last few mornings have been very dark so I consulted my 'Lavers Liverpool & Irish Sea Tide Table' booklet to see when the mornings start getting lighter. It shows me that from the 7th January it gets lighter in the morning by a minute a day and by the end of January it is two minutes. Something to look forward to.