Many of you have been wondering if we are going to walk through the winter. Well ,we are! Here at Blackstairs Ecotrails we plan some terrific walks through different terrains and of course, we will be on the lookout for winter species such as Redwings, Fieldfares, Geese and Whooper Swans.
We will watch the landscape and the environment of the Blackstairs change from the blazing purple heather to a wind seared landscape induced by frost and cold biting winds. The mountains will look cold and brown, flattened by winds, the bracken bronzed and burnt, sedges and grasses changed from green to gold , the colours are magical; stark, clear edged and under a blue winter sun, incredibly beautiful.We often have snow on the cap of Mount Leinster and nearby White Mountain.
On our trails we will listen out for the calls of our winter visitors from Scandinavia the Redwings and the Fieldfares. We might see some Waxwings too,if they are around.
Redwing eating Cotoneaster Berries
One of the delights of winter is seeing flocks of Redpolls, Linnets, Starlings, wheeling in the dusk of evening; staying together, feeding together and roosting together; huge flocks of birds on the move, particularly starlings which seem to move and turn making the most incredible arcs in the cold evening skies. Who leads? Who decides which way to go as they duck and dive in a huge black cloud as they fly overhead. Always calling to each other in a vast murmuration as they head for a roosting spot.
On the Barrow, duck will shelter in the reeds, Teal, Mallard and Wigeon. Herons will brave the cold on the weirs and the Little Egret , snow white, graceful and more frequent ,will fly up and down the Barrow.
So as the days shorten and the nights get colder, the Blackstairs landscape will change from Autumn to Winter. Lovely crisp days for walking, watching and listening and then back to the log fires , hot scones and warming cups of tea and coffee. Lets’ go walking… right through the Winter.