And it’s going to get even colder…..

Sunday, December 10th 2017

Today has been mostly cold and grey, with a few spells of weak sunshine, but the predicted snow failed to materialise.  There were one or two flurries but nothing to settle on what still remains from previous days. The ice has started to take a grip and one of the first jobs of the day was to break the ice in the ponies' water container.  Judging by how quickly they moved in for a drink, they were only too pleased with this little bit of help.  

It may seem strange to provide water in the wetlands when there are  a range of ponds, especially as Exmoors can break the ice to get to the water, as Lark did on Friday morning.  However, with predicted temperatures set to plunge even lower, the ice will only get thicker and so it is better to be safe and have water available for them which is relatively easy to get to and keep open for them.

With low temperatures, there will always be a struggle to find food.  One of the first discoveries this morning was the wing of a male Kestrel, so the predator had become the prey.  Further into the Reserve, the apples put out on the rafts for Water Voles had been raided with very little left.  There were no signs of voles to be seen, but incriminating evidence was found on the trail next to the water.

Moorhen tracks were clearly visible, and it is highly likely that these were the culprits responsible for making a quick meal of the apples.  Out on the moorland, a Green Woodpecker was using a Birch tree as a vantage point before flying across Risedale Beck to the conifer woodland.  Although out of sight, its location was given away by frequent calls.

Despite, the cold making the haymeadow surface icy, there were plenty of signs of Mole activity.  Given that they can tunnel up to 20 metres in a day, they are producing a large number of molehills, some of which are following either side of the hard surface of the path, so much so that it is as easy to pick out the line of the path by the small parallel heaps of earth as it is to see the surface.

There was clear evidence of fresh activity this morning with new earth being added to existing heaps.  The forecast for the next few days shows that it will get colder still so it will be interesting to see how this will affect the Moles and their labours.


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