Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow weather and wildlife

Over the last week, I've been carefully monitoring the weather forecast and waiting for the predicted snow. Meanwhile it seems that the wildlife has been making its own predictions.There has been a flurry of activity round the bird table.  Birds of all sorts were gobbling down as much food as possible. We even had a song thrush teetering, in a rather undignified fashion, on the edge to grab a particularly tasty morsel. 

For some years I've noticed that sea gull behaviour is a good predictor of the weather. A big flock in the valley means a storm is brewing. At 8:30 on Friday morning about two dozen were swooping round The Dene. At 9:00. the snow started.

Pied wagtail, photographed on January the 19th, 2013
One bird I always notice in the snow is the pied wagtail. They seem to become bolder in this weather, even fluttering around the Dene while the children tobogganed on the slopes. 
 The RSPB recommend that we give the birds high energy foods and water. In fact, I think the most important thing you can do for the wildlife is keeping a water supply free of ice.  We find that apples and grapes are popular too. In previous years a fieldfare has visited our garden and munched its way through about half an apple a day.

It is always worth checking the tracks in the garden to see who has been visiting.  So far, it is all birds and cats. No foxes yet. You can tell the difference between a cat and a fox trail. Cats don't like getting wet and almost jump from one place to another leaving clean holes in the snow. Foxes slink close to the ground and tend to leave lines where they have dragged their feet through the snow.

No comments:

Post a Comment