Saturday, 19 January 2013

Snow comes

The promised snow arrived in the quantities predicted and settled on the ground to a depth of about 4 inches yesterday. Not all that much I suppose if you're used to getting snow in winter, but a reasonable enough amount for those of us who aren't.


The countryside does look exceptionally pretty encased in white and so far there hasn't been any wind to dislodge any of the snow from the branches. There are also lots of animal tracks criss-crossing the otherwise undisturbed snow so it's a good time to brush up on identifying skills. Loads of rabbits of course, as well as foxes and birds and what I think was a weasel track.

The only thing I'm worrying about is the birds- they are so tiny and need to feed early in the day to replace weight lost keeping warm at night, and provide fuel for moving about during the day. Our feeders are full of seed and fat balls, and I've been putting mixed seed and dried meal worms and shrimps on the ground for the ground-feeding birds. The feeders are just outside my kitchen window which provided some nice close-up opportunities.

We have a male and female blackbird who come regularly to the garden. This is the boy. Could one of them be Apple, or her descendant perhaps?

One of our four Robins
We also have four bluetits

And several Goldfinches

Mrs Peckham was the only one of our hens to brave the snow yesterday

We have four dunnocks in our garden, one of whom has a gammy leg. The joint at the top works fine because she can hold the leg up, she just can't put any pressure on the foot. This makes her day in such weather as we've currently got far harder than anyone else's and I was relieved to see her feeding on and off all day yesterday, stocking up for the long night. I spent quite a lot of time watching her and was anxious this morning whether she'd made it through the night, so it was a big relief when she turned up. 
She doesn't fly away with the other birds at a danger signal, instead she squats down low to the ground and ducks her head, presumably because movement is more costly in terms of energy-expenditure for her. It's very endearing and pulls at my heart-strings. She also finds it much harder to hop over the snow- she has to flap her wings to maintain her balance on the uneven ground and ends up flying more often as a result. She must be a tough little thing to have survived so far.

Our little Dunnock with the poorly left leg

Temperatures here are not especially low at the moment- hovering somewhere around 0-1 during the day - but they are due to take a turn for the worse on Sunday night with -5 forecast.

January's iron grip is starting...

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x