Wednesday, 23 December 2009

No Holly, just the Ivy

Woke up to a minus 9C this morning. The nets are down for Christmas and the birds are being fed instead. My garden at home doesn't get the sun in mid-winter, partly because I have a 14 foot leylandii hedge at the top (south) end. Gave the feeders a good scrub, one at a time, and dried out the untouched seed and discarded the damp and powdery stuff in the bin.

Visited the Park and refilled the feeders there too. It remained quite sunny until 11 o'clock when the fog made an appearance. The temperature was still minus 2, but the sun had warmed the snow that wasn't in shadow and the resulting moisture rose and blotted out the sun.

A couple of pictures of the ringing racks covered in our measly 2 inches of crisp snow. [Graham, in the south of the county, has had a lot more than us up here].

The ivy remains "snow free" along the south side of the 'Long Hedge', meanwhile. This is where I had "the late migrant" while ringing on my own that day.

The main lake was frozen over completely today, except for two very small 'puddles' which had been kept open by 2 family parties of swans.

A rough count gave 40 Pochard, 30 Shoveler, half a dozen Tufted, 50+ swans and over 100 small gulls.
Best passerine - a Mistle Thrush, a scarce visitor on site.

A certain amount of 'hard weather movement' has been noticed over the house this week. Sky Larks (always seen in twos), Lapwings im small groups of 6-16, a Buzzard, twos and threes of Fieldfare, a Mipit and a Little Egbert leaving roost, heading for Mark Thomas's patch at Willington, 15 minutes before sunrise.

I will be back on Monday to try and squeeze in some ringing over the last four days of 2009. Then it's down to collating last years ringing figures in preparation for finalising the 10th bi-annual group report. Ho, ****, ho!

Seasons greetings to all our readers. May you keep coming back.

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