Temperatures plunged to -14 C last night – fine snow fell which was more reminiscent of Arctic Circle snow than the normal wet stuff that we usually receive.
It is still below -10 C as we take the dogs out. During the morning walk we put up many as well Snipe as their larger cousins, Woodcock. The arrival or “fall” of Woodcock in Winter usually coincides with tougher weather conditions – presumably they are driven across the North sea from Scandinavia or Holland. A few remain in the UK for the Summer, but three or four flying out of the copse in Brampton is really only a Winter event. Snipe are here in dozens if not more and there peculiar croaky alarm call is the only sound over the Common.
The fox has left his familiar trail and diversions and the sign of a visit to the river for a quick drink are apparent. We look for signs of Otter with no result. A Weasel has left a visible trail in the more rabbit areas of the railway line. Hungry Redwings and Bullfinches have abandoned their shy behaviour and now concentrate on their search for food. The apples which remain on a tree in the cutting are as hard as billiard balls – we pick a few and leave them on the ground in the hope that the Thrushes can get at them when they thaw.