All’s white with the world

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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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!

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  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"(!)

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  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!

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  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

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  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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