Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Frosty Morning Walk With The Dogs & A Very Resilient Moth Indeed

It is a Time Of Ice here now, which is a Good Thing because the land needs a proper cold snap, and so, I think, do we.

The dogs and I headed out early to catch the best of the frost on our morning walk and were rewarded with not another soul in sight and plenty of wildlife, which is the right way round as far as I'm concerned. I took my bins and as a result was able to confirm sightings of a Green Finch, a Willow Tit, a Sparrow Hawk, a flock of 20 Linnets warming themselves in the first of the sun's rays that touched their tree top, a Wren in a hedge beside a Robin, a Buzzard who flew low across the misty field keening as he went, several Jackdaws and Pigeons, a Nuthatch and various members of the Blue and Great Tit families all shouting their heads off, as well as various Blackbirds.

The fields were wreathed in mist and the air was decidedly chilly as we made our way down towards the river so I was glad of my hat, scarf and gloves as we crossed down into the wood. Poppy immediately disappeared beneath the fence and went off to explore, returning a few minutes later wearing a liberal dose of Fox Poo on her neck and shoulder, the wretched child. I forgave her this misdeed a little further on when she sniffed out a dead fox who was lying stiff and frozen a little to one side of the path. I would have walked straight past if it weren't for her nose. The poor thing looked as if it has just keeled over in the night mid trot as the ice came down. 
Being this close to a wild creature always puts a shiver down my spine. It's a glimpse into a secret world where people aren't usually admitted or tolerated.



We said a blessing over him and carried on along the field margin while the sun climbed above the hedge line and sent rays of light to pierce the darkness.




By the time we left the woods the light was everywhere and the world felt less secretive and more exposed.




Once home I took the camera out into the garden to see what I could find. Both ponds were iced over and the water had frozen into precise geometric shapes. There were perfect triangles framing the water plants and long lines that looked like daggers made of ice frozen into the surface....

 
Remarkably, in despite of the coldness that abounds here, the garden plants are responding to the longer light levels.... Is this the earliest flowering Geum ever I wonder?


Some more pics of the Witch Hazel, because it is magnificent and I can't stop walking to the top of the garden to stand and admire it .....



Droplets of dew were sparkling in the early morning sunlight, some still partially frozen, while others were in the process of freeing up into liquid again...


And seed heads catching the light reminded me of creatures from another planet...


I put the Moth Box out last night to record the effect all this cold weather is having on the species of winter moth that are flying at this time of year. I am planning my dissertation around moth responses to weather patterns so this seemed a good opportunity to record freezing temperatures and any moth activity. I wasn't expecting much but to my astonishment when I went out to check at first light there was somebody waiting for me. 

A handsome male Mottled Umber was asleep on the perspex cover (the females are flightless and resemble grubs). That is One Tough Moth- can you imagine surviving outside all night in temperatures below freezing? Beautiful, isn't he?


I'll leave you with some pictures of the Sewing Day Ma and I had yesterday at her house. Despite laughing so hard at various things we spent much of the time in tears, I did manage to complete my Valentines present for M and Ma more or less finished a secret something she is making for one of my nieces.

Phyllis and Hyacinth on the sewing table together....


Ma's socks which gave me the giggles. Horses' heads :o)


And finally, because I don't like to end a post without one or the other of them, here's a snap of Teddy, who is to have a V.E.T. check up soon because he is getting a little on the portly side, despite having plenty of exercise running about through woods and fields every day, being on a low fat diet (since he gave himself pancreatitis by devouring half a coconut filled with suet and meal worms that was intended for the birds), and not being allowed any treats/ scraps of food or left overs. They want to check his thyroid. Personally, I think it's Middle Aged Spread :o)


Wishing you all a Good Day,

CT :o)

24 comments:

  1. What a lot of joy here today. A very beautiful moth - looks like an exotic fur coat, do they have some sort of antifreeze in their systems? Poor fox, it doesn't look long dead. Portly or not, someone is enjoying a beautiful hare bed in the sun (dreaming of fox poo?)

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    1. They do indeed, a special anti-freeze protein. They also warm their wings up by shaking them. Clever little things, moths. I am just a teeny weeny bit fond of moths, as you'll see over the summer when this blog becomes moth central :o)

      I think the fox must've had a heart attack, it looked very sudden but not painful. And yes, I expect Ted was thinking rather wistfully of FP, as he wasn't allowed to copy his sister and roll in any :o)

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  2. Gosh those socks are looking at me! Poor Fox, Love Teddy on the couch and that i a beautiful Moth.

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    1. That's what gave me the giggles about them yesterday. I must get a pair :o)
      Hope all's well with you- any snow in Ireland? x

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  3. What a great post, lovely and descriptive of this time of year at its best - especially as my work today involved walking to a tube stop and hanging around for the wretchedly late and packed train and then eventually crossing the glorious Vauxhall Bridge Road the other end! Horrid! Do let us know about Teddy. Flossy battles a bit with her wait and I am endlessly vigilant about what she eats - I too think it just age. - Lxxx

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    1. Oh no, poor you Lily, I don't envy you London working. At least Floss will cheer you up when you get home :o) I will keep you informed re the saga of Teddy's weight. M says it is very undignified for him, having to go to the V.E.T.s to discuss his waistline! xx

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  4. Poor fox, I hope it died quickly! Love the look of your walk. No frost here this morning, it was very wet though. I adore your mums socks. I have a similar pair but with fox heads. If I position them right, the head peeps out the top of my shoes & Mike despairs! Take care xx

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    1. I think it must have died quickly. There was no sign of any distress or thrashing about and it's legs are in trotting position so I suspect a sudden heart attack.

      I giggled at your socks, I really must get a pair. Ma's made me laugh and laugh when I noticed them yesterday as I was busy cutting more fabric on the floor for another quilt. I think I am becoming quilt-obsessed :o) xx

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  5. I think your Poppy must have a magnet for fox poo! lol. So sad that the poor fox died, I think they're wonderful creatures (except for the smell that is) ;)

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    1. She's been so much better recently, I think she thought she deserved it :o)

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  6. I always enjoy going on your walks. Wish I had a pair of those nature glasses that you seem to look from and describe such a fascinating and beautiful world CT.

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    1. Thank you Dave, that is a lovely comment and was just what I needed in my break from a particularly unpleasant statistics assignment! :o)

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  7. I did have a yellow geum popping up a flower but I think the frost has got it now. Beautiful witch hazel! Can you pick up any scent from it? People keep telling me they are scented but I've never smelt a thing!

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    1. Am not aware of the scent but will have to go up the garden again now and sniff it to see!

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  8. I have a similar walk post in the offing. And I can sympathise with Teddy and the spread of middle age. I'm no longer allowed treats either.
    Leanne xx

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  9. I hope Teddy doesn't have to Have Pills and No Treats. I am sure he wouldn't enjoy either. Don't know about the fox - it does seem very sudden. The only other thing I can suggest is it may have been hit by a car and managed to get that far - go on tell me it was miles from any road . . .

    What a brave moth. Damned if I could sit around for long in the recent cold spell.

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    1. Yup, miles from the road :o) There was no obvious damage, he/ she looks to have just toppled over in mid run. I've never found one like that before.
      LOVE the Mottled Umbers- amazing things, so tough!

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  10. Not sure how I would feel coming across a dead fox, it dose look in good condition, it would be interesting to go back and see what happens to it. A bit like on winter watch you could see if another animal make use of it.
    Love the how the ice has frozen on your pond. The moth is beautiful and surprised anything let alone a moth can survive in this cold weather.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Funnily enough M said exactly the same thing to me tonight. He wondered whether owls might make use of it. Free food in freezing times is not to be sniffed at if you're a wild thing trying to survive the cold. -4 forecast here tonight. I should have put a night camera by it as per Winterwatch xx

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    2. Just to let you know The Great British Sewing Bee starts soon on the BBC, although it's mainly about making clothes It's great for all kinds of sewing tips you can use in all kind of sewing projects..Have you watched it before ?
      Amanda xx

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    3. Have set it to record :o) Thanks for the reminder. Haven't watched it before but will be glued this year xx

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  11. So sad about the fox and how strange that it is laid there like that. As you say, as though he was walking along and just keeled over. The sewing day with Phyllis and Hyacinth looks like lots of fun!! I love your Mum's socks! xx

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    1. We're perhaps not used to the idea of anything in the wild dying of natural causes but it does sometimes happen and I suspect that is what took the fox.
      Huge fun sewing at ma's and I really must get a pair of her socks :o) xx

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