Cold, white flakes fell steadily from a grey sky. Fine crystals of ice, falling silently, being blown around in shivering gusts of an icy cold wind. As the morning progressed small patches of white began to gather on the ravaged grass. In the harsh conditions the birds flocked to the feeders and fallen seed at the farm. Wave after wave of blue, great and in particular coal tits darted from tree to feeder and back again. Large numbers of bramblings assembled in the tops of the trees before swooping down to the fallen seed, frantically feeding amongst the settling snow. The snow continued to fall, the birds continued to feed. It was the traps that were mainly catching today, with bramblings, lesser redpolls and goldfinches all being caught as they searched for the seed within. In one sheltered part of the garden a solitary mist net continually filled with tits, and the odd surprise…the best being a stunning adult song thrush.
|What a beaut! adult Song Thrush|
By morning a thick layer of white covered everything, softening the lines of the trees, cars and houses. The crisp snow crunched underfoot, flurries whipped up by the wind created brief blizzards before fading away. Each branch of the trees was defined in white, each leaf had a snow cap. Tucked in, safely protected by the overhanging ivy, the robin sat low and tight on her nest, protecting her eggs from the chill air.
|The black-bellied dipper. Photo Lee Barber|
And there, among the tangled branches at the river’s edge, dipping in and out of the water, was Thetford’s local celebrity. The otter. Seemingly to ignore the snow, and the small crowd of onlookers, he continued his search. Popping up every so often with a fish, spending a few minutes chomping, before dipping back into the river.
Despite the snow and despite the cold, there’s no holding back for our wildlife…