All’s white with the world


I was keen to have a look at my local patch, Stanwick Lakes, in yesterday’s snow. I’m like a big kid really – snow still makes me excited.

Just like removing all the furniture from my living room on Monday made sounds echo in it, a covering of snow lying all over the ground and trees, building and paths, at Stanwick Lakes changed the acoustics too. Everything was muffled and quiet – although there wasn’t much bird song, though a Great Tit surprised me by singing enthusiastically.




I was surprised by how many rabbits had been hopping about in the snow – loads of them. They are not that obvious by day but their tracks were everywhere.  A few foxes had been wandering around too. And either an eight foot high person, or a shorter jogger, had been making prints in the snow more widely spaced than my own.






A molehill had pushed up through the snow and had little snow atop it.  Interestingly, I thought, a Moorhen (by its foot[prints) had walked across the grass to the molehill and stopped beside it and then walked back to the river bank. I wish I had seen the actual event. Was it at night or in daylight? Had the Moorhen found a tasty worm in the fresh pile of soil. Had the nose of a mole received a peck from the bird? I was curious to know what had happened.



About 300 Woodpigeons perchcd in the trees – they had nowhere to feed as the ground was covered so they sat and waited.

A Green Woodpecker called – in frustration perhaps as its feeding was also hampered.

The river was flowing strongly and, as always when there is plenty of snow, there were ducks on the river; Mallard, Teal, Wigeon and a couple of Goldeneye too.  Canada Geese lined the riverbank and watched me go by – my local’s eyes knew they were only ever there in such weather, at other times they would be spread across the fields.

On this white day I was pleased that I saw a Little Egret ,but the Grey Herons were absent.

And on this white day I was looking for another white bird, but I saw the redhead first – a female or immature Smew. And then, a little to her (or maybe his) right, up popped a drake Smew. Very distant but unmistakeable and a most perfect duck. A wintry white bird for a wintry white day.







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8 Replies to “All’s white with the world”

  1. Ah, snow is just magical. Great for tracks too. Reminds me of the first chapter of A Sand County Almanac. There are no secrets from the snow!

  2. Lovely stuff. I'm like a child too with the white stuff and it's always great seeing footprints in the snow. When I came out of my front door into the winter wonderland yesterday morning some quite large birdy footprints had walked right up to the house. I'm guessing a carrion crow, perhaps exploiting the little bit of ground that hadn't been snowed on due to the shelter of the porch. Certainly too big for a blue tit and anyway no milk bottles! I wonder what it found to eat?

    I also got an absolutely brilliant view of a redwing taking the daughter to nursery - it sort of flew right in front of me. Although it was dull and flying fast I could see it's markings quite clearly. I worked out later that the reason I had been able to tell was because of the light from the snow reflecting up from the ground - what would normally have been a little bouncing dark grey blob was in field guide perfect colour, (it also called just as it flew over which was very helpful of it).

    We also saw pigeons - but when I asked my daughter what they were she said "they're not pigeons, they're cucumbers"(!)

  3. A drake smew - now that really was icing on the cake! Lucky you. Unfortunately, we haven't yet seen either snow or smew this winter, but live in hope!

  4. Mole city looked like a field of drumlins.

    At the practical level I could see where the rats had been. They will be sorry

  5. Wow! Thank you for sharing the surprise and magic of those moments Mark. You took us right there. Before I die, I now want to see a moorhen clock a mole hill with a mole on/in it. I bet the moorhen runs at the hill, and not away from the hill. What do you think? Before the end of this week, I now want to see a redhead and white nun smew 🙂


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