Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For the past few days I have been in Yorkshire looking at, among other things, waxwings in temperatures as low as minus 13.  However, visiting Scrag today, the thermometer showed me a night time low of minus 9 degrees.  This is seriously low and although daytime temperatures are around 1 or 2 above since yesterday, I think there will still be a heavy toll on small bird populations.  Of course, these populations will recover as is the cycle of natural things, but spare a thought for the tiny birds, not only are they having difficulty finding sufficient food but they are having to cope with these devastating temperatures.  Although it looks beautiful, there are a lot of things dying in Scrag at the moment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It was the Small Woodland Owners Group (SWOG) meeting on Sunday. It started at Lower Orlton Copse, hosted by the Gatwick Greenspace Project who gave us a walk around their plot before feeding us some lovely locally sourced venison and sausages cooked on an open fire. Thanks guys.
Afterwards, I led a walk around Scrag just pointing out the small things I've done to encourage wildlife or aid watching it.
Overall, it was a great day and good to catch up, and meet for the first time some of my woodland neighbours. Big thanks to Claire at Advent Wood for the Christmas tree; it's in the living room now all decorated.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The snow still lying on the ground gives a lovely bit of light on the undersides of birds, as I think this image of a male chaffinch shows; almost looks like it was taken in Finland. It was minus 4 degrees as I got in the woodpecker hide this morning but reached a dizzying 1 degree above as I left; I almost felt like shedding my thermals...leaving the other 7 layers on of course! While waiting in vain for a sparrowhawk to perch in front of me, I was joined by 4 or 5 redpolls; 2 perched just 60 or 70 cm away in the blackthorn branches next to the hide. I have never been so close or have ever acknowledged how warm the colour of their plumage looks. It made the last hour very worthwhile. I also checked the remote cameras today; just a few images of a fox, no woodcock which is what I'm hoping for. The cameras are in place again.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

At home, I have been 12 inches deep in snow for the past 3 days until it just thawed over night last night. 12 inches just gone in a few hours!
Therefore, today was the first time I could drive anywhere near Scrag. I simply missed the most spectacular scenery and today it actually just seemed a bit dreary with slushy snow and rain.
However, the primary goal today was to feed the birds in time for tomorrow's photography workshop. They really needed doing too, all the feeders were completely empty and the area devoid of birds. Even the robin near the storage shed was absent; whether she survived the last few days I don't yet know, I gave her a bowl of meal worms to stock up on anyway. It will be interesting to see how many are around tomorrow.