A pretty busy past month that I'm suspecting might be the norm from now on ! Loose ends tied up, work completed, furniture ordered, some old contacts restored and a variety of domestic things sorted out, all leading into what will hopefully now be a somewhat unimpeded period into mid summer. OK , some things still remain to be sorted out , but none are critical so I can turn to more "local" things.
Having finally decided on a local area to cover as far as wildlife recording is concerned ( birds, migration watches, mammals and butterflies ) I've visited various sites and rediscovered access requirements ( or otherwise ) and I'm now looking forward to getting pitched in and enjoying the rewards. Hey, hey !
I'm actually surprised at how little some areas have changed over the past 16-17 years. The main areas of change are within Barnsley's Centre and in the Dearne Valley, which has "filled in " significantly. West of Barnsley, where I now live, the situation reflects the memories of previously, other than the occasional small housing development, horse paddocks and renovated farmsteads.
How has wildlife fared? Along with virtually everywhere else, the volume of apparent birdlife is much, much lower, but still very varied. The ability of utterly minimal numbers of some species to "hang on" .e.g. Willow Tit, is quite remarkable and yet other more positive changes have clearly taken place too, e.g Nuthatch distribution. As one of the aspects that particularly intrigues me it's something I'll comment on in future months and provide some rather more detailed reflections.
Within the countryside itself the provision of facilities is quite noteworthy and welcome too. Signage, interpretation boards, footpaths , "protected areas" , either prominently or simply signalled by the absence of change, are to be applauded, particularly as the past few years have not been awash with financial resources. Well done Local Authorities, NGO's and local action groups !
So , here's to the future, something I'm very much looking forward to !
But first , there's the question of Barnsley FC's performance today at Wembley, the second in recent times. And their success too ! BARNSLEY.....the real NORTHERN POWERHOUSE !!