An Ermine Stoat steals the show

This morning was meant to be relatively fine so I set out for Gisburn to do my second visit on SD84E. The drizzle was rather heavy as I pulled up at Stirk House, very much like the last time I did this square. The only difference seemed to be the lack of birds!

The first few fields were devoid of life but as I crossed the railway, a few Fieldfares brightened the gloom. A little further on and there was a good flock of Chaffinches in a set-aside field that was used for Pheasants. Sliding my way down the aptly named Steep Wood I came accross a few Stock Doves and a few Sika Deer, two of which watched me watching them from about 20 yards away. There was little else of note other than to say that Woodpeckers and Treecreepers were very much in evidence.

As I made my way back up, I thought I heard a Teal call. Sure enough, below Stirk House there is a small pool hidden behind an embankment; I could just about make out a couple of Teal. I continued along the path when a whole flock of around 40 Teal took to the air. The rank vegitation nearby held a large flock of Long-tailed Tits - glad to see they've survived the winter so far!

On the north side of the river I added a few more birds for the square and fortunately made the aquaintance of the farmer who owned a large tract of land which had no public footpaths. He was very helpful and granted me access without a second thought. As I got back to my car in the pouring rain I noticed a white streak in the woods below me. I waited patiently and was rewarded with a Stoat in ermine with just his face having a little brown on it and, of course, the black tip to the tail - a splendid sight to brighten up a dreary day weatherwise.

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