The fruiting heads of moss can make a very pleasing picture.
It was a cold but beautiful day today, so I had a walk over to Maxy House Farm on Sandy Lane. The land is still very wet with lots of it flooded. It was quite spring-like, and I've heard a couple of stories in the last two days of Blue Tits inspecting and entering nest-boxes. The weather is really confusing the wildlife. I've seen Snowdrops in full bloom, and even heard of Daffodils flowering.
There weren't any exceptional birds around today, but quite a few of the commoner things you'd expect. I was very pleased with the number of House Sparrows at Maxy House Farm, occupying the hedge of the field that is probably going to be developed with the new estate shortly. I counted 26 of them, but I'm sure that there were more skulking lower down in the thick hedge. Below is a record shot of a few of the sparrows.
I then had a walk behind the Ancient Oak pub, where a man was telling me that the large Oak tree that's on the path close to the site of Cottam Hall, and now fenced off, is THE ancient oak after which the pub gets its name. Apparently the tree once had a sign close to it, telling people of the fact, but it's disappeared. It was fenced off after somebody deemed it a good idea to try to set fire to it. Half-wits!!
THE Ancient Oak. Like most things that are getting old, it's undergone a bit of surgery over the years, but it's still looking fit for its age.
I reckon that the trunk, just below the swollen part, is about 5.5 feet, or 66 inches in diameter. That would give it a circumference of around 210 inches. At half and inch per year (a good guide figure), it would mean that the tree is between 400 and 500 years old. It is, indeed, ancient.
Posted by: Steve Halliwell