November 2002

Monday 4th November – Willowbank – Autumn has settled into a cycle of Atlantic low pressure areas crossing the country. This brings belts of rain with bright periods in between. Over the last few days, the morning has been bright and promising but the rain clouds soon build and darken the sky. This morning is no different – bright sunshine but everywhere is sopping wet. Small birds dive through Hawthorns – mainly tits. Much squeaking and chattering comes from the bushes. A pair of Carrion Crows rise over the Hawthorn hedge and wheel away down the slope. The Hawthorns are still bright with berries but have shed most their leaves.

Wednesday 13th November – Fleets Dam – A real November morning, steady rain, grey, dank and cold. The River Dearne foams as it pours over the weir. Culverts on each side are pouring run-off from the local area into the already dirty waters. At the dam, a Grey heron barks angrily as it is disturbed and flies off to settle on the old landing stage. A Moorhen scuttles across the path and down into the river. Now there is silence apart from the drip of rain off the trees.

Monday 18th November – Willowbank – A loud chorus of twittering and chattering comes from the Hawthorn thicket at the top of Willowbank. Numerous Redwings, Blackbirds, Goldfinches, Blue and Great Tits combine with the more guttural mutterings of Magpies in a glorious riposte to this fog shrouded, cold and grey day. Further down the hill, the nasal calls of Willow Tits moves through the bushes. Every Haw has a diamond sparkle drop of rain hanging from it.

Saturday 23rd November – Willowbank – Yet another grey and damp day. The sun seems to have forgotten us. Brown sodden leaves litter the ground. There is still much greenness, grasses and winter wheat in the fields over the river. In places the grassy sod slips under foot because of the volume of water contained therein. A Kestrel rises from the Hawthorns and drifts across the hillside towards Smithies Lane. A flock of Fieldfares and Redwings sit in a bare Ash sapling and then rise noisily, fly across the open space and descend onto Hawthorns. They gorge themselves on the numerous fat Haws.

Saturday 30th November – Willowbank – November ends in a manner that typifies the month – dull, grey and raining. It comes as no surprise that the monthly sunshine totals are way below average and it has been the wettest November for over thirty years. Dill the Dog seems to be oblivious of the weather and charges around, sniffing here, sniffing there. A few cheeps from Tits, alarm calls from Blackbirds and the usual rasping chatter of Magpies is all that is heard. The river valley is shrouded in mist. One can only hope for a brighter December, which at least will end with days becoming longer.