Winter Strikes

January 20, 2013 at 11:44 am

How ironic that after featuring a Woodcock in the garden on my blog of two weeks ago one should fly up from under our hedge on 18th January. This bird was of course a truly wild bird sheltering from the freezing South East wind and was a first for the garden. It was a perfect start to a day that produced a record twenty four species in the garden including the male Blackcap featured on the blog today. There was also a record five Jays feeding together that day and the appearance of thirteen Starlings and our regular ten Long Tailed Tits.

Hopwood has been exceptional this last week and on the fourteenth, as the snow fell, thirty Reed Buntings were roosting in the long grasses together with twenty two Snipe that were also sheltering from the blizzard. Two days later two Jack Snipe were feeding plus a scattering of Woodcock. Even two Goldcrest were present one day in a Scots pine at dusk.

The sixteenth of January produced the only sunshine of the week so I ventured on to the high moorlands looking for Mountain Hares. At 10am when I parked the car it was -3°C and with a brisk wind the chill factor would have made it closer to -15°C. I walked for two hours in the frost and powder snow and saw four Mountain Hares from a distance but never took the camera out of its case. There was much evidence of where the hares had dug down through the snow to reach the heather and grasses on which they feed nocturnally. I hope to go again on a better day!