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Better Late than Never!

Friday, December 29th 2017

To some, it's the stuff of Christmas, creating beauty in the landscape, ticking off one of the essentials that really make up that feeling of being 'Christmassy'. To others it is the stuff of nightmares, causing difficulties in getting about whether by car or walking, further complicated by either freezing and becoming icy or thawing and turning to slush. Whatever your preference, what had become clear today was that the snow had already arrived by the time the sun rose. For those dreaming of a white Christmas it was a case of better late than never.

Snowy Wetlands

So today was one of those days where the weather dictated the pattern of work, which centred mainly on making sure that all the bird feeders and hoppers were filled and ready for avian visitors and residents. The obligatory breaking of the ice in the ponies' bucket was also high on the list, together with even more admiration for just how insulated their coats are judging by the depth of snow lying on their backs.


While doing this, on a day when only three human visitors braved the elements, there was time to look at the range of prints left by birds and mammals, watch the behaviour of different species, and admire the beauty of the snow while it is still with us as the temperature rose slightly and trees increasingly dripped melting water. The forecast is for a thaw tomorrow and the snow will be gone.

Risedale Beck
So, enjoy it while it lasts. If the old saying is true that 'a picture paints a thousand words' then these tell much of the story of today. There are several different footprints including Moorhen, Pheasant and Roe Deer.  

Moorhen tracks

Pheasant Tracks

There is the unwelcome guest appearing at the meal causing everyone to scatter.

Female Sparrowhawk

And there is the patient diner wishing for the waiter to serve the meal but too polite to make a fuss (until other Robins appeared).

Robin by feeder

Away from the feeding areas, there were signs but very few opportunities to see wildlife, with one exception. Sadly, the first telltale sign when approaching the Voley Ponds was seeing head movement and being fixed by the yellow and black eye of a Grey Heron who had found one of the few unfrozen pieces of water in the Reserve. Having got to within 10 metres of the bird by chance, there was only going to be one result and it took off towards the area of the Lake to try fishing without being disturbed. Despite that, it was a quiet but very enjoyable day.

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