These lichens, yellow Xanthoria parietina and pale Parmelia saxatalis, were growing on a poplar at Alverthorpe Meadows which we walked around with friends Roger and Sue recently.
In a nearby tree was a mystery bird. It was the size of a song thrush but had the streaky spots of a mistle thrush. On a dull day looking up at it silhouetted amongst the bare branches I couldn’t get much further with an ID but luckily Roger had brought his bridge camera with a powerful telephoto and when we viewed the bird on screen when we got back we could see clearly that it was a redwing. It’s unusual to see just the one redwing on its own, so I think that threw us.
But the trees won’t be bare for much longer. It’s good to see the blossom (not sure what species this is) appearing. But whatever time of year there’s always something to see, even if it’s just the bracket fungus on a willow or the magpies busy repairing their nests.
We met one of the Wakefield countryside rangers who told us she was planning the annual toad-count. She realises that it’s important to choose the right night for it – mild and damp – or you won’t get a good impression of the numbers.