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....
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,