As the year draws to an end, the trees become bare, and the days are much shorter - but what I love about December, is the misty start to some days and the smell of wood smoke in the air.

 

This December was a fairly mild and a very wet month, which has not been ideal for people or many animals. However, some wildlife made the most of this - and the local, wild Geese took advantage of flooded fields. I came across several hundred early one morning and watched them for a while, until they all decided to take off. And a spectacular sight and sound that was. I have developed quite a soft spot for Geese over the past few years.

Sadly, the numbers of Starlings have dropped considerably at my local nature reserve. However, a site I follow online reported a high number at another location not too far away, so decided to pay a visit. And wow, it was certainly worth it - one of the best murmurating displays I have seen so far. Must have been at least 50k or so, making incredible shapes. Unfortunately, after looking promising with bright blue sky beforehand, it soon became very grey and overcast, so made photography conditions very challenging ...especially as did not use a tripod. But managed to capture some great moments.

I was over the moon when I came across a Hare in the woods one morning, as they do become quite illusive until nearer the end of Winter. I really miss them during this period, but wait with anticipation to start seeing them around more, the end of January, This is when they start to become more active and commence their breeding February until October - hence, when the boxing starts.

One of my best early morning outings, was on Christmas Day - after a long patch of grey and damp days, we were treated to a wonderful bright, crisp, frosty and misty start to the day. It was lovely to actually have cold, seasonal weather for December, and especially on Christmas Day. I went to the river and was there for about an hour - enjoying the tranquility, admiring the ever changing light, as the sun rose and created sun rays through the trees, and watching various wildlife pass by - the regular Swans, the flash of a Kingfishers that skimmed right past me, the Trout splashing occasionally, the Dipper popping up and down, the twinkling reflections on the water, and the Geese doing their usual Winter morning flyby, as they travel to their daytime retreat. A perfect December morning.

Here is a link to a video I put together, reflecting back over the past year, through the seasons... please click on the link, then turn up the volume and watch in full screen: