IT’S TOO WET and windy for us to continue up onto the moors after our stop for a flask of coffee on the bench overlooking the River Little Don upstream from Langsett Reservoir so we take the shorter route back to the car park through the plantations. Some of the tall – but shallow-rooted – conifers have recently been blown down.
There’s a flock of between one and two hundred Redwings in one of the pastures sheltered by the top edge of the wood. Amongst them what appears to be a bird with a much paler version of the plumage. I think the term would be leucistic, which means lacking in pigment – the word comes from the Greek leukos meaning white. This one I would describe as a pale biscuit colour.
My sketch is of a normal Redwing from the earlier years of this diary, which explains its dotty quality as in those days I always scanned at 72 rather than 100 dpi and this is a GIF, a compressed image file that uses a limited range of colours. In those days of painfully slow dial-up connections, I could get away with this kind of image when it was viewed on the lower resolution monitors of that time.
A Nibbled Cone
I picked up this nibbled cone by the side of the track. I’m guessing that this is the work of a squirrel rather than a Crossbill, which we’ve seen here in the past. A Crossbill tends to tweak and twist the seeds from between the scales while a squirrel would eat it like a corn-on-the-cob, discarding the core.
We saw several Grey Squirrels on our walk through the woods, including two pairs. At this time of year the males are likely to be trailing around after the females or giving chase.